8
 min read

5 Zendesk Competitors for Making a Self-Service Portal

Each of these five Zendesk competitors has its unique advantages. Read to find out what’s the best fit for your company's self-service platform needs.
Written by
Francisco Opazo
Last updated
June 7, 2024

If you're looking for a self-service customer portal solution, you've probably come across Zendesk. It's a good customer relationship management tool, with many customer support features.

However, to get access to all of the help center, knowledge management and community forum features, you have to go for the most expensive plan – which comes with extra tools  like email, chat, voice and social messaging.

Zendesk has some customizable help center themes, and you can edit their color, font and images. The builder isn’t drag-and-drop, but you can modify which elements show up on the page, not their location. This is one of the reasons you might be looking for Zendesk competitors.

Let’s look at the top 5 software for making a self-service portal.

5 Zendesk competitors in 2024

Bettermode

bettermode template

One of the top Zendesk competitors on the market is Bettermode, a no-code app and website builder. You can create stunning dynamic modules or simple static sites, all without writing a single line of code.

If you've ever used Webflow or WordPress, navigating Bettermode will be a piece of cake. Zendesk users will be impressed with how easy it is to use and how many customization options it offers. Let us explain how it works, and you can build your self-service portal for free.

There are currently eight modern web app templates (there will be 25 templates for different use cases available soon) you can base your site on, inspired by top-notch portals. With unlimited, intuitive customizability options, you can tailor them perfectly to your brand image and vision. 

Bonus tip:  Bettermode has a native CMS that eliminates the need for you to store your knowledge content in other apps. You can work on all of your content in the same space where you build your self-service portal and easily set up who has access to these articles ,and who can upload them. 

Let's see how you can make a help desk for free. Choose the Cloud Project, which would be best for self-service portals.

bettermode template 2

All it takes to create a new help article is clicking the + sign in the upper right corner. This native CMS system gives you plenty of options to customize the content, such as adding media, formatting text or including SEO tags.

inside bettermode template

You can also move the individual sections around or add new ones. To access the editor, just press "C" on your keyboard.

The design studio is where you'll end up. As you can see in the top left corner of the website preview, it's adaptable to all devices and screen sizes. Feel free to open the template yourself and play around with the options.

bettermode interface of the template

You can add spaces like a getting started section, feature descriptions, events or product updates. There are also community management options and plenty of appearance customizations.

bettermode template managing

  Need more pages? With Bettermode you can create:

Overall, it's ideal for creating beautiful websites from scratch, because of its fun design and a comprehensive set of intuitive features.

Bettermode is the #1 choice for building customer support websites with no code due to its rich customization features, ease of use and an in-built CMS system.

Features

  • Plenty of functional templates that allow effortless layout changing, branding and elements (you can also start from scratch if you prefer)
  • Drag-and-drop builder
  • Native CMS with SEO options, customizable post types and unique fields
  • Access permissions
  • Website structures that adapt to all devices and screen sizes
  • Split view of the blocks list and real-time website visualization
  • Sorting, filtering, layouts and fields for all content sections
  • Appearance editor with logos, themes, typographies and styles
  • Users' and members' management
  • Customizable notification settings
  • Website analytics and moderation
  • Integrations, including robust API, Webhooks and SDK

UI/UX

Bettermode is visually attractive. Its intuitive interface makes it easy to use, even for complete beginners. You can log in and test the different options based on the template that best suits your needs.

When in doubt, you can also browse the Knowledge Base, Academy or Community for self-service help.

bettermode ui/ux

Pros

  • Easy to navigate and use even for non-technical users
  • An attractive design that makes it fun
  • Many use cases you can make with the customizable templates
  • Native CMS – this makes importing content redundant
  • A forever free plan that lets you access all of the tool's possibilities

User ratings

Bettermode users praise the tool for the great relation of price to value and its ease of use.

  • 4.8/5 on Capterra
  • 4.6/5 on G2
  • 8.9/10 on TrustRadius
bettermode user ratings

Source: G2

Pricing

You can start using Bettermode for free, no strings attached. The paid plans apply when you exceed five spaces. Prices start from $19 with annual billing or $24 with monthly payments. You can enrich Bettermode with add-ons like a CMS Upgrade or Translation Locale.

bettermode pricing

Helpjuice

bettermode helpjuice

Source: GetApp

Helpjuice is a knowledge base software solution. It helps customer support teams create self-service portals where clients can find all the necessary information without contacting the support team.

This tool also includes a CMS. You can drag and drop files into this editor, troubleshoot multiple answers and link to your other articles.

helpjuice template interface

Source: Capterra

There is an analytics view for tracking your site's performance. You can see how many people read your articles and who found it helpful.

help juice analytics view

Source: Capterra

This alternative to Zendesk is best for users with coding knowledge who want access to advanced customization or for people looking for article impact insights.

Features

  • Customizable templates and themes
  • Editor panel with multiple versions, text formatting and history
  • Collaboration and commenting options
  • Access controls
  • Intelligent analytics of article impact
  • Advanced search, also within images and PDFs
  • Native CMS
  • Integrations with Slack, Chrome, Salesforce, Microsoft Teams and Zapier, among others

UI/UX

Helpjuice users are generally happy with the interface of this customer service platform creator. It has extensive content editing features and a couple of pre-built themes for your personalized customer service solution.

helpjuice ui ux

Source: SourceForge

Pros

  • Ease of use
  • Fast customer support
  • Dynamic search engine
  • A clean design

User ratings

Users praise Helpjuice for its easy setup and navigation and the customer service.

  • 4.8/5 on Capterra
  • 4.5/5 on G2
  • 8.3/10 on Trustpilot
helpjuice user ratings

Source: Capterra

Pricing

No freemium plan is available for Helpjuice, but you can test it out with the 14-day free trial. Pricing starts at $120.

helpjuice pricing

Source: Helpjuice website

Intercom

intercom dashboard

Source: Capterra

Intercom helps you to create a knowledge base for customer self-service quickly. There is a native editor that supports interactive elements and media. It includes no-code customization options and feedback to help you adjust the content to make it practical and helpful for your audience.

This tool also has the functionalities of a customer messaging and Q&A platform. It lets companies handle customer communication across multiple channels via live chat, email, SMS, in-app messaging and push notifications. This tool's main selling point is its AI-powered multi-channel support.

intercom features

Source: Capterra

Intercom is best for users who want to build customer relationships and value automation capabilities for handling customer interactions.

Features

  • Help center with an editor, branding options and insights about articles' performance
  • Reporting about customer conversations and satisfaction and team performance
  • Integrations with HubSpot, Pipedrive, GitHub, Slack, Salesforce, Marketo, Zendesk, Clearbit and social platforms
  • Fin AI in Inbox for composing, summarizing and auto-filling information in messaging
  • AI Chatbot that automatically answers questions based on your help center and public sources, featuring targeting, scheduling, conversation monitoring and reports
  • A ticketing system with a portal for tracking all data and attributing types
  • Workflows for dealing with customer requests and issues

UI/UX

Users are generally happy with the easy-to-use interface of this tool. The setup process is fairly simple and easy to integrate. Companies say they also receive positive feedback from their customers about the intuitive interface of the chat support feature.

intercom ui ux

Pros

  • Easy-to-use interface (for basic features) and setup
  • A customer support software that combines a knowledge base with options to manage customer communication
  • Functional live chat support
  • The knowledge base supports images, videos, CTA buttons and interactive guides
  • Options for targeting content to different audiences
  • Automated feedback loops for articles
  • Content blind spot identification based on what customers were looking for but couldn't find

User ratings

Users enjoy the integration with Help Articles and automation capabilities for handling customer queries. 

  • 4.5/5 on Capterra
  • 4.5/5 on G2
  • 3.1/5 on Trustpilot
intercom user ratings

Source: G2

Pricing

This alternative to Zendesk has a 14-day free trial but no freemium plan. The pricing depends on the number of users and the features you want access to.

intercom pricing

Source: Intercom website

Some features are paid extra:

  • Fin AI Chatbot – $0.99 per resolution
  • Proactive Support Plus – $499/month
  • Email campaigns – from $0.0030/email
  • SMS – from $0.0350/SMS
  • WhatsApp – from $0.0300/conversation
  • Phone calls – from $0.0035/minute

Zoho Desk

zoho desk dashboard

Source: G2

Zoho Desk software is a tool that lets you simplify your customer service processes. In terms of self-service, it has a couple of options you can embed in your website or app.

The first option is Knowledge Base. It includes collaboration and SEO-optimization options. You get access to previous versions, manage user access permissions and automatic article translations. With access to commonly searched keywords, you know what still needs to be addressed.

The next is customizable Guided Conversations that navigate customers through a pre-defined chat with clickable questions and lead them to the best solution.

The last is Community, a portal where your customers can help each other. You can moderate the discussions, restrict access with logins and post announcements.

zohodesk features

Source: G2

Zoho Desk is best for creating a collaborative, multi-channel ticketing system and monitoring your agents' efficiency, as its focus is more on customer conversations than knowledge base content management.

Features

  • Self-service options, including Guided Conversations, Knowledge Base and a Community platform
  • Ticket management system with automation
  • Contextual AI for tagging tickets, analyzing sentiment and assisting customer communication
  • Collaboration options with real-time changes view and agent collision detection
  • Multiple support channels
  • Analytics and reports (customer happiness, knowledge base metrics and agent productivity tracking)
  • Integrations primarily with other Zoho tools, but also G Suite, Google Chat, Bigin, Jira, Slack Salesforce, Office 365, MS Teams, Zapier and Telephony providers

UI/UX

The features are comfortable and intuitive for product managers, agents and customers needing help. Zoho Desk has a clean and reliable interface..

zoho desk ui ux

Source: G2

Pros

  • Intuitive interface and ease of implementation
  • Multiple customer service features
  • Responsive customer support teams
  • Reliable and efficient

User ratings

Users especially enjoy how easy it is to use the Zoho Desk software. Many consider it as the most intuitive of all Zoho tools. Compared to Zendesk, it's similar and available for a lower price.

  • 4.5/5 on Capterra
  • 4.4/5 on G2
  • 4.4/5 on Gartner
zoho desk user ratings

Source: G2

Pricing

This tool offers a 15-day trial you can sign up for to test out the paid plans. After that time, prices start from €14 when billed annually or €20 with monthly billing, which is still considerably cheaper compared to Zendesk.

zohodesk pricing

Source: Zoho Desk website

There is also Zoho Desk Express for small teams for $7-9/user/month and a free plan for up to three agents.

Freshdesk

freshdesk dashboard

Source: Capterra

Our last proposition in this Zendesk competitors list is Freshdesk – another cloud-based customer support platform. It lets you build knowledge bases and customer support forums. The editor includes a scalable, cooperative content management system. You can install an answer bot to guide your customers and customize without code.

Freshdesk aids you in handling customer interactions from email, phone, web, chat and socials. You can also use it for workflow automation, managing SLAs, generating performance reports and creating self-service solutions.

Forums include moderation protocols and upvoting, which lets you see which issues need your attention.

freshdesk features

Source: Capterra

This tool is best for small companies seeking a basic, free ticketing system and an agent productivity tracker. With more templates and customization options in the future it could be a good option for a  self-service portal builder.

Features

  • Collaboration in the knowledge base – approval workflows, versioning and Freshconnect chat
  • Self-service with forum tools, knowledge bases, auto-suggested solutions and Freddy AI chatbot
  • Article metrics monitoring
  • Ticket prioritization, categorization and assignment
  • Multichannel support
  • Repetitive tasks automation (time and event triggered)
  • Custom reports and analytics
  • Integrations with WhatsApp, Slack, Shopify, Salesforce, Mailchimp, MS Teams and more

UI/UX

Freshdesk is easy to set up and enjoyable to work with. It's user-friendly even for non-tech-savvy people. Most users should be able to navigate it easily. 

fresh desk ui ux

Source: Capterra

Pros

  • Well-organized support tickets
  • Time-saving automated workflows for agents
  • Easy work prioritization and delegation
  • Good customer support

User ratings

Most customers enjoy how easy it is to set up and use Freshdesk for ticket management and agent workload organization needs. 

  • 4.5/5 on Capterra
  • 4.4/5 on G2
  • 8.6/5 on TrustRadius
freshdesk user ratings

Source: Capterra

Pricing

Up to ten of your agents can access the basic Freshdesk tools for free. When you exceed that number or need more advanced features, you can decide between the Growth, Pro or Enterprise plans, paid annually or monthly. You can test them out with a 14-day free trial.

freshdesk pricing

Source: Freshdesk website

Comparison table

ZendeskAlternative Templates Customization Own CMS/Integrations User-friendliness Best for Pricing
Bettermode Yes Extensive Own CMS and integrations Yes Building static and dynamic self-service portals easily Freemium
Helpjuce Yes Yes, but advanced requires coding knowledge Own CMS and integrations Yes Access to editing via coding or article impact insights From $120
Intercom No Yes, but focused more on content alone Integrations Yes Automating cross-platform communication From $39
Zoho Desk Yes, but limited Yes, but primarily for the help desk Integrations Yes Organizing a multi-channel ticketing system Free
Freshdesk Only article and ticket templates Limited CMS and integrations Yes Basic ticketing and agent productivity management Free

Conclusion

Choosing the right option from the many Zendesk competitors can be a headache-inducing task. The key factor to keep in mind is what value it will bring to your company. While some organizations need a ticket management solution, others will profit from a highly customizable self-service portal.

That's just what Bettermode was made for. It's an intuitive, super affordable and versatile tool for building functional web apps. You get huge freedom in terms of what you can create.

Sign up here to create a comprehensive self-service portal for free.

FAQs

Who is the competitor of Zendesk?

The main Zendesk competitors include Bettermode, Helpjuce, Intercom, Zoho Desk and Freshdesk. Others that we haven't mentioned are: HubSpot Service Hub, Salesforce Service Cloud, Help Scout and LiveAgent.

Is there anything like Zendesk but free?

A free alternative to Zendesk for easy creation of any kind of knowledge base is Bettermode. You can use it to make an interactive, intuitive, self-service help desk solution.

What is Zendesk competitive advantage?

Zendesk describes its main advantages as:

  • A focus entirely on the customer experience
  • Scalable business agility
  • A low total cost of ownership
Francisco Opazo
Head of Growth & Community, Bettermode

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