Zendesk vs. Microsoft
Compare Zendesk vs. Microsoft Dynamics 365 on features, ease of use, value for money, and more.
Zendesk vs. Microsoft Dynamics 365: A comprehensive guide
Businesses should always be on the lookout for tools that can improve their customer service management (CSM) and enhance the overall customer experience (CX). Zendesk is a leader in this space while Microsoft offers a wide range of products, and its support software, Dynamics 365, is just one of them. The reality is that the broad focus of Microsoft products can hinder its effectiveness in the customer service space.
Choosing between Zendesk and Microsoft Dynamics 365 can feel daunting, but evaluating their CX expertise, time to value, and total cost of ownership can simplify your decision. This comparison aims to shed light on the capabilities of each software, helping you make an informed choice that aligns with your goals and operational requirements.
While Microsoft Dynamics 365 offers many business solutions, Zendesk focuses on CX. Businesses can access an internal team of experts and a large customer community that share industry best practices and drive innovation. This dedication to the customer experience niche gives Zendesk an edge over broad-focus platforms like Microsoft Dynamics 365.
Fast time to value and agility
The streamlined design and user-centric approach of Zendesk means businesses can quickly deploy and adapt our solutions in an agile system, which can result in a fast time to value (TTV). Users rate Zendesk higher than Microsoft in key areas, like ease of use, setup, and admin.
Low total cost of ownership
You’ll save time and money with Zendesk. You don’t need a developer army to start using Zendesk, or an influx of agents to keep using it. According to Microsoft Dynamics 365 users, the software has a complex setup and in some instances requires businesses to hire developers to implement the software and make changes.
More in this guide:
- At-a-glance comparison: Zendesk vs. Microsoft
- Zendesk vs. Microsoft Dynamics 365: Features comparison
- Pricing plans: Microsoft vs. Zendesk
- Customer stories on using Zendesk vs. Microsoft
- Frequently asked questions
- Ready to try Zendesk?
At-a-glance comparison: Zendesk vs. Microsoft
|Integration and deployment||
|Service and support||
|Ticketing and case management||Skills-based routing||
|Reporting and analytics||Analytics||
|Scalability||Fast time to value||
|Low total cost of ownership||
|Integrations||Highly rated integrations||
Zendesk vs. Microsoft Dynamics 365: Features comparison
Businesses need customer service software that provides practical tools and resources if they want to deliver great experiences. Here’s a rundown of the features that Zendesk and Microsoft provide and how well they perform.
Ticketing and case management
Zendesk ticketing and case management features are some of the most robust and intuitive in the CSM software industry. At its core, Zendesk is a centralized software that transforms customer interactions from any communication channel into actionable tickets. Users can easily categorize, prioritize, and assign tickets in Zendesk to the appropriate teams or individuals.
Automated workflows, pre-written responses, and a comprehensive tracking system ensure no customer query goes unanswered and service level agreements (SLAs) are honored. Side Conversations allow agents to collaborate with other team members to solve customer issues without leaving the help ticket. The software provides a holistic view of each customer’s history to further empower agents to deliver personalized service, enhancing the overall CX.
Microsoft Dynamics 365 complex ticketing and case management features sometimes fall short of user expectations. Users have reported a steep learning curve, which can lead to longer onboarding times for teams unfamiliar with the platform. Additionally, the system’s interface struggles to share information across portals. For example, one user experienced difficulty in accessing contact details across systems.
Zendesk embraces the power of artificial intelligence (AI) to enhance its customer support capabilities, offering tools that drive efficiency for agents and improve the experience for customers. Zendesk AI can recognize the intent and sentiment behind customer messages, enabling the bots to equip agents with insights and suggestions. Our chatbots come pre-trained based on billions of real service interactions, so they can support customers without a human agent ever getting involved.
Zendesk AI is ready to perform from the moment you sign up, so you don’t have to enlist the help of outside consultants before it will work. These AI products use machine learning to better understand your customers and employees, meaning they will only become more effective with each interaction.
Microsoft is a leader in AI development, but applying AI tools in Dynamics 365 sometimes requires specialized configurations which can lead to a slower time to value. Additionally, the difficulty of integrating Dynamics 365 with third-party software further limits the usefulness of its AI.
Reporting and analytics
Zendesk reporting and analytics capabilities empower businesses with actionable insights into their customer support operations. Users can access a wide range of metrics within the software, from ticket response times to customer satisfaction scores.
Zendesk users can access customizable reports, allowing them to dive deep into data and identify trends, bottlenecks, and areas of improvement. Data can easily break down into charts and graphs for straightforward interpretation.
Microsoft Dynamics 365 users have pointed out that the reporting interface is difficult to understand without a deep technical background. It can sometimes require hiring a professional service to get reports set up correctly, which can be a time-consuming and expensive process.
Zendesk software is renowned for its scalability, catering to businesses of all sizes—from budding startups to global enterprises. Recognizing the dynamic nature of businesses, Zendesk has solutions that grow with an organization’s evolving needs.
Whether it’s expanding customer support teams, integrating new communication channels, or accommodating surges in ticket volumes, Zendesk ensures smooth scaling as efficiency and automation are baked into our product. Zendesk works out of the box, ensuring that businesses can expand their operations without the need for hefty investments in hardware or prolonged setup times.
As businesses grow and evolve, the complexity of the Dynamics 365 suite can become a double-edged sword. Customizing new and existing modules can demand significant time and technical expertise, potentially slowing down a company’s adaptability.
Zendesk helps businesses empower their customers by providing comprehensive self-service software. Central to this is the knowledge base software that allows support teams to create and manage a library of articles, FAQs, and tutorials. Content Cues automatically provide support teams with knowledge gap alerts so they can keep articles up to date and ensure customers can find answers to their queries.
Zendesk provides businesses with community forum software so that businesses can offer places for their customers to engage with one another and collaborate to solve problems. These self-service tools foster a sense of autonomy and confidence among customers. This self-service repository enables customers to find solutions to issues without contacting support, reducing ticket volumes and enhancing customer satisfaction.
A common criticism of Microsoft Dynamics 365 is its complex interface, and its self-service features are no exception. Setting up and customizing the Microsoft knowledge base software can be intricate, potentially leading to gaps in information or a less cohesive user journey. Businesses might find themselves investing more time and resources in optimizing the self-service experience for their customers.
Zendesk provides an extensible customer support solution, as evidenced by its large catalog of integrations. Recognizing the diverse tech stacks businesses employ, the Zendesk Marketplace offers apps and integrations that span categories from customer relationship management (CRM) to e-commerce, ensuring seamless connectivity with third-party tools.
Whether it’s syncing with popular software like Slack, Salesforce, or Shopify, Zendesk ensures data flows smoothly across systems. This interconnected ecosystem eliminates data silos and ensures support agents have a comprehensive view of customer interactions.
Many Microsoft Dynamics 365 customers use the platform due to its natural integration with other Microsoft products. But if users require integrations with third-party applications, the software struggles to support non-Microsoft tools. As a result, many businesses need to allocate their staff or hire expensive consultants to fix integrations, requiring additional time and resources.
Pricing plans: Microsoft vs. Zendesk
*Plans are billed annually.
Zendesk offers greater total cost of ownership due to the out-of-the-box readiness of its many features. Businesses don’t need to hire specialists to build solutions because employees without technical knowledge can easily use the tools that each plan provides. This also leads to a fast time-to-value since the software doesn’t require prolonged training or downtime while features are developed.
Microsoft Dynamics 365 offers many different products, so the true cost gets complicated depending on the types of plans you need and the number of licenses. Customer service plans have distinct business applications, like field service and remote assist. If one agent needs access to the core features of these different plans, they’ll need to purchase multiple licenses.
Customer stories on using Zendesk vs. Microsoft
Ave Living by Korman
AVE Living, a pioneer in short-term furnished apartments, faced challenges with its CRM system as the company expanded its real estate portfolio. When the company experienced rapid growth, its existing CRM became a friction point, often malfunctioning or shutting down, leading to significant frustration among the team.
The older system was suitable for the business’s initial six properties but was too limiting as the company grew. The need for a more reliable and scalable CRM led the team to evaluate almost 30 CRM options, including Microsoft Dynamics.
Zendesk emerged as the preferred choice due to the personalized attention our team provided. We took the time to understand AVE Living’s specific needs, ensuring a tailored implementation. The transition to Zendesk brought about enhanced efficiency, with features like integrated email and appointment systems, comprehensive activity reports, and mobile access, which significantly improved the sales process.
“From the IT side, I see that everything is available, visible. We know where things are, at which stages, and do reporting in business intelligence. So that’s amazing to us because now we can see where we are getting most of our business.”
–Reena George, Vice President, Enterprise Applications at AVE Living by Korman
Accent Group, a leading lifestyle footwear company in Australia and New Zealand, faced challenges in modernizing its customer support as it expanded its operations. After the company’s merger with RCG Corporation in 2015 and the subsequent relocation of the executive team to Melbourne, Australia there was a pressing need to transform Accent Group’s customer support from a siloed operation using Microsoft Outlook into a cohesive digital space.
To improve communication practices and manage its growth, the company adopted Zendesk. One significant change was consolidating support teams across Australia and the Philippines into a unified system. This allowed for streamlined workflows using triggers and automations, enabling the entire team to support the business holistically.
The shift to Zendesk also gave Accent Group a clearer understanding of its crucial key performance indicators (KPIs) and better reporting capabilities.
“There’s value in moving to one uniform solution, not only because we believe in the product, but because we can get more product experts within our own business to prime and maximize the tools.”
–Mark Rizza, Head of Supply Chain at Accent Group
Video game company Nexon faced challenges in delivering optimal customer service as it expanded its gaming portfolio. The company tried managing customer service tickets through Microsoft Outlook, but these solutions failed to enhance its customer satisfaction (CSAT) score or streamline internal operations.
Recognizing the need for an efficient and modern solution, Nexon chose Zendesk for its unified user interface, live chat capabilities, and security features. The transition from Microsoft to Zendesk was smooth and swift, with our team providing hands-on support during the implementation phase.
In roughly eight months, Nexon witnessed a remarkable 114 percent improvement in its CSAT score. This success was due in part to the user-friendly nature of Zendesk, efficient workflows, and the ability to quickly train agents in the new processes. The shift to Zendesk also enabled Nexon to achieve faster response times, with most email tickets getting addressed in 10 hours or less, significantly better than the 18-hour time frame listed in the SLA.
“We could train the agents how to use Zendesk very quickly. It’s been a helpful tool to get the right tickets to the right people and to respond to them in a good amount of time.”
–Barry Schwartz, Associate Director of Customer Support at Nexon
Ingersoll Rand is a global manufacturing conglomerate known for its diverse range of products. The company faced significant customer service challenges due to its vast product portfolio and limited Microsoft Outlook capabilities. The system made it difficult to monitor response times and ensure efficient support.
Ingersoll Rand transitioned to Zendesk, and its customer support operations underwent transformative changes.The integration of email and voice tickets and the software’s API capabilities allowed for more streamlined workflows and better customer interactions. For instance, the company integrated Zendesk with UPS to swiftly generate warranty evaluations, repairs, and return labels.
Ingersoll Rand achieved more than a 35 percent increase in its customer satisfaction score. On top of that, its customer service team has a 95 percent success rate in meeting their four-hour first response time SLA.
“Zendesk has given us greater visibility into our incoming requests and helped us to level load our accounts. It’s also given us the opportunity to see what types of requests our distributors are asking repetitively, so that we can uncover training opportunities.”
–Kelly Dees, Vice President of Global Customer Experience at Ingersoll Rand
Frequently asked questions
Read on for additional information on why businesses choose Zendesk over Microsoft.
What are the disadvantages of Microsoft Dynamics 365?
Microsoft Dynamics 365 has some notable disadvantages when compared to other software. Some commonly cited drawbacks include:
- Integration challenges: While Microsoft Dynamics 365 integrates well with other Microsoft products, users reported challenges when trying to integrate it with non-Microsoft tools. This can lead to potential data silos and workflow disruptions.
- Customization limitations: Though Microsoft Dynamics 365 is customizable, making significant changes or tailoring the platform to specific business needs can be cumbersome and may require hiring specialized experts, adding to its total cost of ownership.
- Complexity: Due to its broad range of functionalities, Microsoft Dynamics 365 can be complex and may have a steeper learning curve, especially for users unfamiliar with Microsoft’s ecosystem. This also increases the total cost of ownership.
- Deployment time: Implementing Microsoft Dynamics 365, especially for larger organizations or those requiring extensive customization, can be time-consuming and expensive. These delays in launching the software will prolong the time it takes for a company to start receiving the full value of the product and negatively impact agility.
Why is Zendesk so popular?
Zendesk is popular in the customer support and service industry for several reasons:
- User-friendly interface: Zendesk offers an intuitive and clean user interface, making it easy for agents and administrators to navigate and manage customer interactions.
- Scalability: Zendesk is suitable for businesses of all sizes, from startups to large enterprises. We’ve helped companies like Uber and Instacart scale their operations seamlessly as they grew.
- Omnichannel support: Zendesk provides support across multiple channels, including email, chat, phone, and social media, and it’s all integrated into a single dashboard.
- Strong community and resources: Zendesk has a robust community of users, developers, and partners. Zendesk also offers extensive resources, including webinars, tutorials, and documentation. This contributes to helping scaling businesses quickly adapt to their changing needs and make the most of the platform.
Why is a unified omnichannel service experience so important?
Customers interact with businesses through many touchpoints, ranging from traditional phone calls to social media, live chat, email, and more. Omnichannel customer service ensures that customers receive consistent, seamless, and high-quality service no matter the channel they choose.
Customers want their interactions with a brand to feel cohesive, whether they’re reaching out via X (formerly Twitter) or through a company’s official website. Moreover, a unified approach means that all customer data gets centralized, allowing support agents to have a holistic view of the customer, eliminating the need for customers to repeat information, and ensuring more efficient and personalized service.
Does Zendesk offer a 360-degree view of the customer?
Yes, Zendesk provides businesses with 360-degree views of their customers. Integrations with CRM software and other tools allow Zendesk to pull and share operational data across systems. Users can collect customer data from these different systems to create comprehensive customer profiles. This data integrates across systems, so customer service, sales, and other teams can access accurate and up-to-date information.
Ready to try Zendesk?
Zendesk provides businesses with the fast time-to-value, agility, CX best practices, and low total cost of ownership they don’t get from Microsoft. Try it today to discover how it can help you achieve your goals and provide better customer service.
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