Freshdesk (which begins at $19 per agent monthly, after the Free tier) is a good way to get your group began with operating a helpdesk. Whereas its large brother Freshservice is geared extra towards managed companies, enterprise-grade helpdesks, and asset administration, there may be loads to love right here for those who service exterior customers. Nonetheless, whereas they each serve comparable buyer audiences, and although the hole between the them has closed significantly because the final time we reviewed this product in 2015, Freshdesk remains to be barely behind our present Editors’ Alternative winner HappyFox. Nonetheless, our rating for Freshdesk has gone up; it is now solely barely behind HappyFox after this re-test. This lag is slight and focuses primarily on smaller options, together with in-app texting and barely extra complete customization capabilities. Analyze Freshdesk’s capabilities fastidiously, nevertheless, and if these options do not matter to you, then chances are you’ll nicely determine it is the right resolution.
Getting began is free for a limiteless variety of customers on the Freshworks Sprout plan. To unlock the extra superior options, there are 4 further plans known as Blossom, Backyard, Property, and Forest. The plans progressively add extra options and capabilities, together with time monitoring, customized apps, portal customization, and boards. A free trial is obtainable off the Freshworks web site as nicely.
The Freshdesk consumer interface (UI) is well-designed. It is damaged into Dashboard, Tickets, Options, Clients, Studies, and Administration tabs. Every tab has focused Assist panes on the right-hand facet that specify widespread duties and definitions. This group makes it actually arduous to get misplaced, even for brand new customers, which is sweet. The Dashboard supplies two views: the Commonplace view and the Administrator Snapshot. The Commonplace view is geared towards brokers and exhibits a useful depend of tickets in every of the statuses. There may be additionally a Latest Helpdesk Exercise pane that exhibits the most recent group exercise and a To-Do part that can be utilized privately for reminders.
The Administrator Snapshot exhibits a a lot larger image. It focuses on unresolved tickets by sort, precedence, and standing in addition to a trendline of ticket inflow. Every pane displays industry-standard metrics, and nothing appears misplaced. Sadly, this view is not customizable however, for many eventualities, the reporting options could make up for this.
The Tickets tab can also be simple to navigate. Filters are discovered alongside the left-hand facet of the web page, and tickets are displayed alongside the right-hand facet. It operates like an online e-mail consumer, so the overwhelming majority of latest customers will nonetheless be proper at residence on this view. When a ticket wants a response, it is simply known as out in colour coding. Maybe most helpful is that the Tickets tab is a shared house so unassigned tickets are seen to all brokers. This encourages the group to view open tickets as a gaggle moderately than ready for a supervisor to assign one to them. Mixed with a novel game-centered strategy to ticket fixing, utilizing factors and trophies, and the correct mixture of aggressive staff, getting work executed might nearly be thought of enjoyable.
This gamification functionality units Freshdesk aside because it was the one helpdesk competitor within the roundup to assist it. Gamification makes dealing with hassle tickets a aggressive effort, which may enhance agent efficiency if correctly managed. Whereas HappyFox does not assist this function, it is doubtless that a few of the different rivals that handle a lot of integrations or have entry to an app retailer will have the ability to mirror it that means. This is able to doubtless embody Cayzu and Zendesk Support, although you should investigate if this feature is important to you.
The Solutions tab can be used independently to publish knowledge base (KB) articles by tag and folder, but it can equally be derived from ticket resolutions. The built-in editor supports HTML tags and a variety of rich text format (RTF) shortcuts such as video and image links, so there is plenty of opportunity to clarify any content that’s posted. Solutions can also be marked as permanent or simply as temporary workarounds so users know exactly what they’re getting.
The Customers tab also works exceptionally well. Rather than having to populate this information upfront, new tickets with unrecognized contacts are automatically populated with information provided on the User Ticket Request page. If a company is provided, then it’s also created, but this can be assigned later if additional correspondence is needed. At the end of the day, it’s a contact list, but it doesn’t hold up productivity, which is a positive attribute in my book.
Finally, the Administration tab is pleasant to look at and has meaningful icons for every operation. Again, even new users will often be able to navigate here without too much trouble. Even just bumming around, you’ll usually end up where you intended to be. If you do end up somewhere that you didn’t expect, then the Help section on the right-hand side of the page explains why you might want to go there in the future; it can even hint at where you intended to go.
One of the best features of Freshdesk is its multiple channels with which to collect and display tickets. The User Request page can be customized to fit the style and layout of your organization’s website. And, if you upgrade to any of the paid plans, then customers will never know they have left your website when they seek help. While getting some of the finer design details down requires some knowledge of Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) and web development, most folks can get away with the predefined settings.
The Facebook and Twitter channels also performed quite well. Users that tweet at your organization with a specific keyword can automatically submit tickets to a specific group. Also nice is the ability to merge messages from the same person in a specific time interval into the same ticket. This cuts down on users bombing your helpdesk with a flood of new requests.
Again, as with most cloud-based apps these days, Freshdesk’s application programming interface (API) is Representational State Transfer (REST)-based, which means it supports a standard your other apps likely support and with which your developers will be familiar. Use it to link apps together, and build customized workflows that automatically push data back and forth between systems as well as trigger any number of actions with or without manual user intervention.
For companies that don’t already have an automatic voice response on their helpdesk’s phone system, Freshdesk can help bring that to the table, too. By integrating Freshdesk with Twilio on the back end, local and toll-free numbers can be purchased and used on a per-minute basis. Phone numbers can cost as little as $1 per month but rates vary per country. Solutions such as this tend to work well for a small volume of calls, but scaling can potentially be a problem when there are cheaper, albeit less integrated, solutions offered through your existing business VoIP service.
Service Level Agreements (SLAs) can also be defined from the Administration pane. By upgrading to the Estate plan, you can establish them on a per-client basis. The escalation rules are powerful and easy to customize. It’s as simple as picking a time limit and what you want to happen when that timer expires. By combining this with user groups, you can come up with some powerful workflows.
What Freshdesk lacks, however, is a way to do true change management. While its big brother Freshservice handles the full Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) cycle for executing changes and releases, this style of operation would need to be improvised in Freshdesk. Some may even prefer to plug this into their own asset management app. As such, if you are a managed services organization, then Freshdesk may not be for you.
Integration and Custom Apps
Freshdesk plugs into many of the major Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) players automatically through extensions you will find in the Freshdesk Marketplace. Google Calendar, MailChimp, Slack, and various Salesforce apps are just the tip of the iceberg. While some of these options require an additional cost to use, the majority are free. This is good news since a helpdesk rarely lives on an island; it often has to connect to business analytics engines, cross-departmental tools such as customer relationship management (CRM) systems, and other collaboration tools to achieve maximum return on investment (ROI).
In addition, Freshdesk has a robust REST API for developers feeling the need to extend or integrate the app into a custom project of their own. Since REST is widely embraced across an ocean of integrated apps, this is a solid feature to have, although certainly not unique in this space.
Overall, Freshdesk has a lot going for it. Organizations that don’t need a heavy degree of enterprise helpdesk formality will feel right at home. It’s still a smidge behind HappyFox all around but it’s come a long way since our first review in 2015. The UI is clean and easy to navigate, and the gamification aspect is both novel and fun to use. If your team is starting out, then Freshdesk is a great option to consider. However, for those needing an internal solution aimed at a large user footprint, Freshservice or our other enterprise-oriented Editors’ Choice winner Vivantio Pro might be a better option.