Zendesk vs. Zoho
Choosing customer service software that isn't focused on CX comes with tradeoffs. Compare Zendesk and Zoho to see which solution comes out on top.
Zendesk vs. Zoho: A comprehensive guide
Businesses often have one chance to meet customer service expectations. Our Zendesk Customer Experience Trends Report 2023 states that over 50 percent of customers will switch to a competitor after a single unsatisfactory interaction. With so much on the line, it’s crucial to have a customer service solution built exclusively for the customer experience.
Our guide takes a deep dive into Zendesk vs. Zoho, examining key features, pricing, customer stories, and frequently asked questions, so you can pick the software that empowers your support teams to deliver an exceptional customer experience. Will the results be a Zendesk winfest or a no-go on Zoho?
Here are three reasons to choose Zendesk over Zoho:
Exclusively focused on CX
Customer service is our bread and butter. As a trusted market leader, we empower over 160,000+ businesses to deliver great CX. Zoho, on the other hand, supports a wide variety of use cases. While this “casting a wide net” approach can be appealing, it may not allow businesses looking to excel in providing a dynamic CX the opportunity to do so.
Zendesk is the complete service solution you can count on both now and in the future. With Zendesk, you can meet the growing needs of your customers and your business. However, Zoho is missing critical capabilities to support more complex customer issues at scale.
Zendesk creates partnerships with customers, empowering you with our thought leadership and a team of experts ready to help you improve your customer experience. Users report receiving poor support from Zoho, citing difficulty reaching agents and not receiving much guidance.
More in this guide:
- At-a-glance comparison: Zendesk vs. Zoho
- Zendesk vs. Zoho: Features comparison
- Pricing plans: Zoho Desk vs. Zendesk
- Customer stories on using Zendesk vs. Zoho
- Frequently asked questions
- Ready to try Zendesk?
At-a-glance comparison: Zendesk vs. Zoho
We created a table that makes it easy to compare the features and capabilities of Zoho and Zendesk.
|Vendor performance||Analyst rating||Leader||Visionary|
|Focus||Best of breed for customer experience||Sales, marketing, service, finance, IT, HR|
|High customer satisfaction at scale||
|Time to value and cost of ownership||Easy setup||
|Low implementation cost||
|Low short-term TCO||
|Low long-term TCO||
|Unified omnichannel experience||Unified omnichannel status + workflows||
|Unified omnichannel customer experience||
|Unified omnichannel agent interface||
|Unified omnichannel analytics||
|Frictionless agent experience||Real-time agent workspace||
|Customizable agent workspace||
|Single browser tab agent experience||
|Actionable insights||Custom metrics||
|Robust integrations||Highly rated integrations||
|Customer proof points||
|Broad set of API endpoints||
|Only server side CTI app necessary||
|Self-service and knowledge base||Content blocks, Content Cues, Team Publishing to streamline content updates||
|Ability to schedule article publications||
|Intelligent self-service content gap identification||
|Sophisticated self-service content management + workflows||
|Seamless integration with Slack||
|Live chat and messaging||Real-time chat||
|Powerful workflow / automation tools||Sophisticated automation + workflows (SLAs, OLAs)||
|Flexible assignment options (round robin vs. pull)||
Zendesk vs. Zoho: Features comparison
Let’s take a deep dive into the key features needed to deliver an outstanding customer experience.
- Omnichannel ticketing system
- Self-service and knowledge base
- Live chat and messaging
- Workflows and automations
Omnichannel ticketing system
Zendesk features a unified omnichannel workspace that enables support teams to provide a consistent customer experience across web, social, email, voice, live chat, and messaging. The interface, called the Agent Workspace, consolidates past support interactions and customer data, so agents can deliver fast and personalized support no matter how a customer reaches out.
However, Zoho’s ticketing system has limitations when it comes to omnichannel capabilities.
- Zoho has different agent interfaces for chat, phone, and ticketing. That means agents have to toggle between the channels instead of an ongoing conversation in a single view.
- You must buy an add-on subscription to Zoho Voice or integrate with a third-party app to get a voice channel. If you choose a third-party voice partner, the selection is limited.
- Zoho has limited social messaging integrations. For social messaging apps, you need to get an add-on for Zoho Social.
Zendesk offers customer service reporting and analytics software for businesses of any size or industry. With our metrics tools, you get:
- Pre-built, omnichannel dashboards that work right out of the box so you can run reports from day one.
- Highly-customizable dashboards and metrics (with point-and-click configuration), allowing businesses to tailor their reports in minutes.
- Real-time dashboards so you can react and adapt in the moment.
Zoho’s canned reporting and dashboards only provide basic customer service metrics. There’s no real-time reporting and their siloed omnichannel analytics force you to run separate reports per channel.
You’re also unable to drill into the numbers to better understand the metrics, and there are no attribution or correlation capabilities. It has a few customization options but nothing dynamic. It’s mostly just manipulating columns.
For access to advanced reporting, you’ll need to buy an add-on.
Self-service and knowledge base
With Zendesk, you can provide 24/7 support to your customers via self-service options like:
You also have access to knowledge management software that makes it easy to keep help center articles updated. For example, Content Cues uses AI to identify and flag content gaps and outdated information in articles.
Like Zendesk, Zoho Desk offers a multilingual knowledge base and a customizable help center to match the look and feel of your brand. However, Zoho lacks useful features that streamline updating content, like content blocks and Content Cues. This means you’ll most likely have to invest time and money into manually keeping your content up to date.
Based on trillions of data points from real service interactions, Zendesk AI is fine-tuned and optimized for customer service excellence. It learns from every interaction, continuously improving over time. It’s accessible to anyone, working from day one, and is ready to go in minutes. No need for developers, heavy IT spend, or months of lead time.
Here are a few features of Zendesk AI:
- Advanced bots: Enhanced bots for messaging and email that leverage customer intents to deliver personalized and accurate responses.
- Intelligence in the context panel: Agent-facing panel in the Agent Workspace that displays AI-powered insights and suggests the right prewritten responses to apply to solve the customer’s issue.
- Intelligent triage: Detects customer intent, language, and sentiment to classify incoming requests and allow teams to power workflows based on these insights.
- Macro suggestions for admins: AI-suggested macros that can make agents more effective.
Zoho offers an AI-powered personal assistant called Zia. Zia performs routing and automation tasks and can interpret human language to respond appropriately. However, many customer reviews on G2 cite Zia has difficulty with complex or ambiguous queries, limitations with integrations, and lack of customization options.
Zendesk offers more than 1,300 pre-built apps and integrations in the Zendesk Marketplace that enable you to customize our software and streamline data. Third-party integrations with Zendesk help you align your support team with the rest of your business, providing a 360-degree view of the customer.
For example, you can integrate our support software with your sales CRM, marketing automation tool, and more, so you can view key customer information across sales, service, and marketing all in one solution.
Zoho hosts a limited marketplace for third-party apps. A common issue that customers describe is learning that Zoho offers useful integrations with its own suite of products, but finds challenges and limitations integrating with third-party tools.
Zendesk features robust collaboration tools, such as side conversations, a tool that helps agents collaborate directly with other agents, management, or departments on tickets directly within their workspace. Side conversations are exactly that—a conversation on the side without being added to the main ticket conversation. The conversations are kept separate, allowing employees to brainstorm solutions without cluttering the ticket or keeping discussions about specific parts of the ticket organized.
Zendesk also seamlessly integrates with tools like Slack and Zoom, allowing agents to quickly connect with managers or teammates to collaborate on a solution.
Zoho’s native collaboration tools work with their own suite of tools, but they have difficulty with common collaboration apps, like Slack. The Slack integration does not allow live conversations, only automated notifications. Additionally, external contributors must be contacted through email.
Live chat and messaging
Zendesk features live chat software that enables agents to engage with customers in real time and provide immediate support to customers. Customizable templates allow you to create responses to common phrases for faster replies and a consistent brand voice and tone. You can also customize pre-chat web forms that collect data, enabling agents to personalize the interaction and boost sales.
Zendesk also offers a complete messaging solution that enables proactive and personalized support. You can add messaging to your website or mobile app, popular social channels like WhatsApp or Facebook, and business productivity tools like Slack to deliver instant support for customers, business partners and employees. Get ahead of your customers with outbound notifications and connect all parties with group messaging.
Workflows and automations
With Zendesk, you can automate macros, or prewritten responses, from customizable templates to keep customers in the loop, boosting agent efficiency and saving time. Support teams can also set up conversation routing to streamline workflows by automatically directing tickets to the right agent or department quickly and efficiently. You can configure scalable routing models based on:
- Agent availability, workload, and skill
- Conversation priority, request type, or channel
- Intent (what a customer is about) and sentiment (if a conversation is positive, negative, or neutral)
Additionally, Zendesk allows you to set alerts and notifications that prompt agents to address ticket escalations or tickets at risk of not meeting service level agreements (SLAs) and operational level agreements (OLAs).
On the other hand, Zoho workflows and automations have certain restrictions. For example, Zoho has limited SLAs and no OLAs (unlike Zendesk), making it difficult to see if you’re meeting internal and external support standards.
Pricing plans: Zoho Desk vs. Zendesk
Let’s take a look at the pricing tiers between Zendesk and Zoho Desk.
Zendesk vs. Zoho Desk: Pricing plans*
High due to ongoing partnership
and best practices
|Low due lack of support community, partnership, and switching costs|
*All pricing plans billed annually
Beyond licensing costs, there’s so much more to consider when investing in customer service software. Let’s shine the light on hidden costs, ROI, and total ownership cost to see how Zoho and Zendesk really compare.
- Low total cost of ownership (TCO)
- Fast time to value and ease of use
- High return on investment
Zendesk sets up fast and works from day one, so you can start delivering great customer service without costly delays. Many software solutions, like Zoho, may have hidden costs for implementation, agent training, IT and maintenance, add-ons or upgrades, downtime for unreliable systems, or costs associated with switching to a better platform.
Zendesk is intuitive and easy to use, so agents can jump right in with minimal training. It comes with a robust set of out-of-the-box features, so you can flip the switch and go or build the platform of your dreams with our marketplace full of integrations. Plus, our software makes it easy to implement new solutions quickly without involving a dev team.
On the other hand, Zoho customers report issues with implementation and usability. One review said that onboarding Zoho “was lengthy and troublesome,” with unhelpful support. Once implemented, Zoho was difficult to use with several functions not working well with each other. This led to a rip-and-replace scenario after only two months.
Zendesk is a mature software with proven reliability. That means minimized downtime and low implementation costs. Our software makes it easy for agents to do their jobs, reducing agent burnout and employee turnover. Zendesk also offers professional services that help create a seamless onboarding experience and support resources to help you maximize your investment.
Many users, like this customer, aren’t seeing a return on their investment, both in time and money. The user explained that Zoho is too cumbersome and doesn’t deliver on its promises.
Learn how Zendesk can increase your ROI with our ROI calculator.
Customer stories on using Zendesk vs. Zoho
Don’t just take our word for it. Here are a few stories from customers who had a choice and picked Zendesk.
Thinkific + Zendesk
Thinkific is an online education platform that makes it easy for entrepreneurs to build, market, monetize, and sell online courses and memberships. Focusing on CX, the business wanted to upgrade to a system with stronger reporting, reliability, functionality, and a better user interface.
They tried a few options, including Zoho Desk, before picking Zendesk.
Since switching to Zendesk, Thinkific has seen these results:
- 96% ticket deflection
- 91.7% customer satisfaction (CSAT)
- 96% of tickets answered in under 8 hours
CoinJar + Zendesk
CoinJar provides a safe and secure place to buy, sell, and trade cryptocurrency and features an all-in-one crypto wallet app. When it expanded in the UK, Coinjar needed to upgrade its CRM to handle its growth.
CoinJar tried these CRMs before choosing Zendesk Sell:
- Agile CRM
- Zoho CRM
- Dynamics 365
Zendesk Sell helped CoinJar improve its visibility, productivity, and efficiency.
Since switching to Zendesk, CoinJar has seen these results:
- 1.5+ hours of sales rep weekly time savings
- 47 percent cost savings
PayNearby + Zendesk
Fintech startup PayNearby is India’s largest branchless banking network. When the company wanted to upgrade its customer support operations, it looked into the top customer service solutions on the market.
PayNearby tried Freshdesk and Zoho before choosing Zendesk. Because Zendesk has a proven track record of fast, easy, and successful installations around the world in multiple languages, it was an easy choice.
Since switching to Zendesk, PayNearby has seen these results:
- 30% efficiency boost
- Scaled to handle 12,000 tickets per month
- 70% one-touch tickets
Frequently asked questions
Here are a few common FAQs that can help with any lingering questions.
What’s good about Zendesk?
TL;DR: Sources confirm Zendesk is the #1 customer service product.
Zendesk is an award-winning customer service software built specifically for CX. It’s flexible, adaptable, and easy to build on. It’s got the key features to help businesses of all sizes and industries boost efficiency, lower costs, and create exceptional employee and customer experiences.
Which is better: Zendesk or Zoho?
Zendesk is better because it’s the only vendor to check these four boxes:
- Focuses exclusively on CX
- Offers fast time to value and agility at an enterprise scale
- Delivers a consistently high ROI
- Achieves a low total cost of ownership
Is Zendesk better than Zoho?
G2 ranked Zendesk #1 on its 2023 list of Best Software Products. Zoho is *checks list* all the way down at #7. If you need more proof, scroll up.
Ready to try Zendesk?
With Zendesk, you get a flexible platform that consistently delivers a low total cost of ownership and a fast ROI. Try the full version of Zendesk for a fortnight (that’s 14 days) and experience the riches that could be yours.
Zendesk vs. the rest: Compare the software
Check out these additional resources to see how Zendesk stacks up against the competition.