E-Commerce · Shopify

Customer Service Tools: Zendesk, Desk.com, Freshdesk, etc.: What's your experience?


December 14th, 2013

Things are going well at Arithmetic, the skincare company I launched to help adults with acne, and it's time for us to upgrade to pro tool to manage customer service. 

But I don't see a clear winner for e-commerce stores (mine is hosted by Shopify). In addition to support requests via e-mail, we're getting a few phone calls.

In a Quora thread, the head of customer service at Asana suggested Desk.com for its ease of use and social media integration. Desk also claims it's used by a lot of other companies I respect. 

The same has been said about Zendesk, though quite a few online users say Zendesk is clunky, un-intuitive, and requires a lot of clicks to accomplish basic tasks.

But I'm drawn to Zendesk's pricing model and Zendesk Voice, their call center tool, which sounds like an inexpensive way for us to get started managing customer calls. 

Desk.com and Freshdesk integrate with a call center tool called TalkDesk, which looks cool but doesn't seem to be gaining much momentum since it came out of 500 Startups in 2011. 

Does anyone have any experience with customer service and call center tools? Any suggestions? 

Ryan Schilling Vice President at Caring.com

December 19th, 2013

Hi Andy, I'm running an 80 seat call center currently and have been in your position several times. I've used desk.com and am currently using zendesk. Honestly, neither are great products. We'll probably end up building something. Another colleague is using an email solution called matrix. I don't know what your call volume will be but that should be the determining factor for your call center software solution. We're using five9 but takes a lot of work. For just getting started I've heard ringcentral is a pretty cool choice and I've wanted to try them. Stay away from contractual and insidesales. Give me a call if I can be of further help. 650-307-9577 Best, Ryan

Karthik Hariharan Engineering Manager at Desk.com

December 22nd, 2013

Desk and Zendesk are really geared for larger support orgs and there's a considerable amount of ramp up time with either one to get started. It may be worth it, depending on many customer support requests you're dealing with. Both are great for multiple channels of requests (Social Media, Email, Phone). 

Both products can scale up with you fairly easily but require you to go "all in" with the products initially to really see the value. Also they aren't cheap for a bootstrapped or pre-funding operation.

For startups and smaller installations, I have heard good things about HelpScout. HelpScout focuses on email only (no phone or social media) but for many startups, that covers it. Even for our customers at Desk, email is still the strongest channel by a longshot. 

D. Scott Mattson CEO and President, Customer Support Networks/Game Center Group

Last updated on June 18th, 2018

We have used and are currently using all the solutions you mention. They all do the job of connecting and answering customer support questions. If cost is the mitigating factor we offer an in house support solution to our clients at no charge. Our Support Cloud includes FAQs - ticketing/email - and live chat. You can see a live implementation here http://support.atari.com/?/Knowledgebase/List

CW92 Developer and entrepreneurship enthusiast

June 13th, 2018

I have worked in support for over 10 years now and used Salesforce, Zendesk, Zoho Support, Vantive as well as an in house solution and I found that these favour the larger enterprises rather than an SME.

This is one of the things that lead me to create CloudSPRT, although I currently haven't created a Voice Center integration I would love to arrange a quick call (either VOIP or Telephone) to understand your needs and also how I can improve CloudSPRT.


December 14th, 2013

I'd recommend User Voice. For the customer service features, User Voice is similar to others. But what I like about them is a feature that allows users to do feature suggestions and feature voting. To me, it helps shorten the user feedback loop and can get user input without conducting user surveys.

Jake Carlson Software Development Manager at Oracle

December 14th, 2013

Zendesk is pretty good but does take some getting used to. I agree it's a little un-intuitive at first

How many support personnel do you have and how many support requests do you get a day? How involved are the requests?


December 14th, 2013

@Andy Bosselman:

For customer service, I recommend Snappy ( http://besnappy.com ), hands-down!
It's a service from Userscape ( http://userscape.com ), which also builds the awesome HelpSpot service ( http://helpspot.com ), and they've been around '04.
I've used Snappy in combination with Trello for freelancing/contracting purposes and it works wonders!
I've also helped a couple clients move to it, and so far, they've only had great things to say.
Last but not least, it's built by folks many of us respect in the development community, such as Taylor Otwell (the lead developer of Snappy), who happens to be the creator of Laravel ( http://laravel.com ), the best (subjective) and most popular (fact) PHP framework out right now.

I'd love to hear what others are using!

Good luck!

- Jonathan

Joseph Galarneau Founder and CEO at Mezzobit, creating transparency and control for Internet data

December 14th, 2013

I've used Zendesk since launching over the summer and like the combination of help desk functions as well as the ability to build a knowledgebase and forum for self-service user support. I do agree that the administrative interface is a bit wonky, but I think it provides good value.


December 14th, 2013

I've had pretty good success using Zendesk at my last two companies, each of which has a team of 3-5 support people dealing with a few hundred tickets per day.  The setup time is minimal and it's quick to get started with the basic features.  If you are dealing with a lot of tickets, the macros and automation are nice power features.

The 'Starter' plan pricing ($2/agent/month, up to 3 people) is great for early stage companies.


December 23rd, 2013

I liked Ryan's assessment of Zendesk vs Desk.com: "Honestly, neither are great products." They're not bad products, either. (As a Shopify user, I've come to expect amazing UX and ease of use - I need to lower my expectations when it comes to other services.) 

Zendesk offers a free year of service to startups (here). That, and the ability to add a toll-free number, sold me. 

I've been trying it out with the guy who is helping me with service requests. It's wonky, especially the phone stuff. But we can pass tickets between the two of us. And unresolved tickets don't get lost in anyone's inbox. Now that we're set up, that's worth a lot.