10 Best Help Desk Software: Buyer's Guide

Communication is at the center of most businesses—or at least it should be. According to Capterra’s Buyer’s Guide, help desk software answers this need with several appealing features, including knowledge base management, ticket management, interaction tracking, alerts/notifications and escalations, and omnichannel communication. Suffice it to say that all the vendors listed here offer these standard features. 

This buyer’s guide breaks down the top choices on the market. We dive into the more specific features that earn each vendor a spot in our top 10 list to help you decipher just how well (or not) these options can serve your organization.

The 10 Best Help Desk Software Tools


Best scalable option for employee and customer satisfaction.

Hosting: Cloud and on-premises 
Pricing: Free trial available. Agent-only Team licenses start at $24/agent/month. Support licenses with unlimited free users start at $69/agent/month. Both Cloud and On-premises available.

Issuetrak is a complete help desk platform that gives you every tool you need to manage internal and external ticket requests, track assets, and deliver exceptional customer support. Issuetrak is one of the only remaining vendors to continue providing on-premises and cloud deployment. The same set of tools and features are available with either option, boosting the efficiency of your help desk operations.

Our homegrown, US-based team is ready to answer your calls and questions. (Yes! Issuetrak has a phone number—with a track record of answering in 30 seconds or less.) We also offer the perks of:

  • Unlimited free users
  • Unlimited technical support
  • Customizable branding and white-labeling
  • Service Level Agreements and ticket escalations 
  • Automatic ticket routing
  • Custom agent permissions

That’s all the kiddy stuff. The following takes a deeper dive into the sought-after features that bring Issuetrak in league with the big names.

Live Reporting in Dashboard and the Issue Hub


Dashboards provide at-a-glance monthly and quarterly performance measurements, like open issues or issues by type. Because of this, dashboards help you quickly assess ticketing performance and make informed actions for your business. 

Dashboards also allow customers to see information. Users often want easy visuals to show customers their average time to answer or close tickets, trends on asset issues, as well as the ability to send this data automatically to their inboxes at any time. In Issuetrak, you can define a specific dashboard for your customers logging in, so they can see visual depictions of their help ticket’s status.

The Issue Hub provides a more dynamic view of important information with live reporting. You can define fields or columns you’d like to see and build reports so that they update as soon as you click on them. The ability to control and define for your teams a variety of views and tabs is what gives the Issue Hub its charm. For instance, if your support team wishes to see all issues assigned, while managers want to see each individual issue unassigned by person, the Issue Hub allows you to present data as you see fit.

On-premises Or Cloud Hosting 

Lots of vendors out there do what Issuetrak does - but not many offer on-premises hosting. For the security-conscious, data-focused and data-centric, hosting on your own servers is the only option. Luckily, there are still software vendors who can readily adapt to your security needs with an on-premises offering.

Issuetrak supports any encryption standard you throw at it, such as TLS 1.3, NIIST compliance, AES 256 encryption. Likewise, Issuetrak can support your SOC compliance, diverse environment, load balancing, or if want to host your own cloud.

Even outside the tools provided in the application, you also get direct database access, meaning you can plug Issuetrak into crystal reports, SQL R services, etc. to quantify Issuetrak data.

Read and learn more:

Task Manager

Issuetrak’s Task Manager is like a flowchart of your existing procedure—but gives you way more granularity with task assignees, task substatus, and if/then determinants. 

While agents get full oversight of an issue from start to finish, unlimited free users can carry out individual tasks. This provides a lot of additional functionality for taskers without having to pay for them as agents.

Get ongoing support. Set up your process flawlessly in Issuetrak with the help of our Professional Services team. 
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Get ongoing support.

Set up your process flawlessly in Issuetrak with the help of our Professional Services team.

Custom Issue Forms, Issue Templates, and Quicknotes


Custom issue forms, issue templates, and coming soon—Quicknotes(!) are all ways to finetune the issue-to-submission process. 

You can design issue forms from scratch and associate them with an issue type. So the next time the printer gets jammed, you can select “printer issue” from a dropdown menu and view a form with only the fields necessary to troubleshoot that issue.

Issue templates allow you to pre-populate fields on an issue form. Selecting a template will automatically fill in the info you need—issue type, notes, descriptions—so you can avoid errors by filling in repetitive fields the same way every time.

Quicknotes is our newest feature-to-come. (We’re excited about this one—keep your eyes peeled for upcoming releases!) Quicknotes will allow any agent to create and save a rich-text formatted note, which you can apply to any issue and even to knowledge base articles. Combined with that, you can use tokens to make notes that populate with specific values after you save the note.

We offer a bunch of other hot features that we won’t cover just now, like Knowledge Base, Scheduled Reporting, IEM, etc., but we’ll let you discover that for yourself when you schedule a demo!

What Customers Are Saying

Our UI/UX continues to be a focus for us. We are consistently polishing it for an improved user experience. Otherwise, if you’re not a fan of impeccable customer support, then Issuetrak isn’t for you! You won’t find a brighter, more genuine team of individuals than these fun-loving folks. For more unannounced goodness to come, you can see our regularly updated Product Roadmap to glimpse what we’re working on.

Learn More About Issuetrak

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Help Scout

Best option for email management on small teams.

Hosting: Cloud
Pricing: Free trial available. Monthly plans start at $25/user per month. Plus plan $50/user per month, charged annually. Pro plan $65/user per month, charged annually. 

HelpScout’s email management software offers the essentials of most help desk software options, including shared inboxes, knowledge base, live chat, reporting, customer profiles, and a mobile app. SMBs and Enterprises might opt for higher-tier plans to take advantage of a greater number of users.


What Customers Are Saying

While great for small teams looking for a simple and inexpensive shared inbox, its lack of feature versatility makes it difficult to spice things up for the customer. Also, the price-to-feature ratio is hard to justify for smaller enterprises.

The caveat in their pricing is the cap they place on the number of users you can have on your license, with max 25 light users on the Plus plan and max 50 on Pro. This could present a problem for businesses that cannot determine the number of users they will have, say, for example, on a complaint management portal.


Best feature access at any tier.

Hosting: Cloud only
Pricing: Free 30-day trial available. For a 2-year commitment paid up front, monthly per agent costs include Mighty $26, Fantastic $39, Enterprise $62, and Enterprise Plus $64.

HappyFox is a cloud-based help desk software with built-in features including automated ticketing, asset, task, and knowledge management. All three tiers of its plans come with unlimited tickets, smart business rules, knowledge base, multilingual support, rich text formatting in tickets, SSL security and iOS & Android apps. While its competitors may require you to pay at a higher tier for access to some of these key components, HappyFox is happy to offer these basics at any tier.

Happy Fox’s most popular features include canned responses, bulk actions, work schedule, ticket templates, smart rules, and real time reporting. Most notably, the platform offers multiple customer support channels like email, voice and live chat.


 What Customers Are Saying

It’s a “simple system to use if you have a simple help desk,” according to one Capterra reviewer who was frustrated by HappyFox’s inability to support “any level of complexity.” 

While it’s “no different than most other products in the same category”, as claimed by another reviewer, HappyFox offers the same basic features as its larger-scale counterparts Zendesk or Jira, making it a competitive yet affordable solution for budget-conscious enterprises looking to scale.

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Jira Service Management

Best option for the code-savvy.

Hosting: Cloud only
Pricing: Free trial available. Free plan of up to 3 agents available. Standard plan $22.05 per agent, or Premium $49.35 per agent, both charged monthly. 

Jira Service Management is an ITSM solution for IT, dev, operations, and business teams. Originally designed for software developers, its platform features streamlined workflows, automation rules, queues, SLAs, and a self-service portal delivering service management at scale with no silos. 


Overall, Jira is a great project management option for distributing work across teams and keeping track of progress. As a plus, users praise Jira’s customizability and wealth of integrations, including connections to social media and other third-party apps. 

Jira is a Cloud-only platform. Alongside other vendors like Spiceworks and Freshdesk, Jira has gotten rid of its on-premises software offering, denying a number of industries the security of self-hosting on their own servers. For government or other industries required to seal off all data, Jira is no longer an option.

What Customers Are Saying

"With so many tickets, we quickly outgrew Jira, which caused it to break often and make its interface cumbersome."

Many organizations still choose to fight the long learning curve because Jira is so widely used. Despite praise for Jira’s flexibility and custom configurations, users frequently complain that its reporting tools are limited and unconfigurable. What’s more, because each separate Jira product requires different steps for installation, developers and other teams often say Jira is too complex and difficult to learn—not to mention that bulk updates are on the slower side. 

While you’re shopping, be wary of having to buy more than you want to bargain for. If you’re looking to simplify your tech stack, look elsewhere. The chance you’ll need 6 different Jira products is high, as opposed to a centralized one like HappyFox or Issuetrak. 

SEE: How does Jira stack up against Issuetrak?

Zendesk Suite

Best option for integration versatility. 

Hosting: Cloud and on-premises
Pricing: several tiers ranging from $19-$115+ per agent/month. 30-day free trial available.

Zendesk is one of the largest and most well-known products providing HR and IT help desk ticketing for internal and external support.

Zendesk has grown to include nearly 6,000 employees who serve 100,000 global customers. In addition to common help desk features such as ticket generation and automation tools known as Business Rules, Zendesk supports 30 languages and 1000+ app integrations.


Standard features are available only at mid and high-level pricing tiers. This includes multiple ticket forms, Light Agents (their terms for end users), Service Level Agreements, business hours, custom analytics, skills-based routing, HIPAA compliance, and custom agent roles. If you’re unsure how many users are going to log in, you’ll be better off leaning towards a platform offering unlimited users.

SEE: Empowered Unlimited Free Users For Help Desk Health 

What Customers Are Saying

Despite its claims to improve customer service for businesses, users often complain of Zendesk’s own lackluster customer support. If you need a phone number, good luck finding one! Zendesk funnels customers to the Help Center and the community forum as the first line of support. If you cannot find answers there, then customers are encouraged to contact Zendesk support through the product. 

One customer review mentioned that they wouldn’t recommend Zendesk to small or medium businesses (SMBs). While Zendesk’s solution promises scalability for growing enterprises, it comes with a steep price tag to match, making it difficult for SMBs and many businesses to maximize their customer support system at scale. 


This is further exacerbated by complaints of complex reporting and limitations to its built-in fields that make it difficult for employees, managers, and customers to log cases or get much-needed insights to make business and purchasing decisions. Slow load also poses problems to data migration, and customers have described importing issues from previous systems to Zendesk as painful.

On one of Issuetrak's recent demos, a prospective customer mentioned that they were looking for an alternative because Zendesk is not HIPAA compliant  at its more affordable tiers (a necessary feature only available at Professional and Executive tiers). 

Before being swayed in your shopping journey by big names and large claims, it’s worth investigating whether Zendesk or a smaller, competitive company checks all the boxes you seek.

SEE: Is Zendesk worth the price? Compare Zendesk to Issuetrak to find the most suitable solution for you.

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Best mobile app option.

Hosting: Cloud only
Pricing:  Free trial available with 4 different tiers of plan:

  • Free $0 (unlimited free agents)
  • Growth $18/agent/month billed monthly or $15/agent/month billed yearly
  • Pro $47/agent/month billed monthly or $39/agent/month billed yearly 
  • Enterprise $83/agent/month billed monthly or $69/agent/month billed yearly

Freshdesk is cloud-based and has a wide range of essential services, including live chat, email, phone, and social media support channels. It offers the ability to automate workflows, access convenient self-service options, manage SLAs, and generate reports. Used by over 50,000 customers, including Bridgestone, Harvard University and DHL, we found it necessary to bring them into our top 10 list. 


freshdesk-mobile          freshdesk-ui

Of note is Freshdesk’s easy-to-use Call Centre, with a relatively well-maintained phone app. 

Users are also impressed with Freshdesk’s quick implementation, which they can complete on their own in a matter of hours. With a deployment certification from its own academy, Freshdesk certainly knows how to gamify their process. That said, from logging to searching for cases, it's user-friendly—even for those who aren't computer-savvy.

What Customers Are Saying

Some customers are disappointed by the customer portal's lack of customizability per client. A worthwhile suggestion from another reviewer asked for improvements to contact management and gamification features, which, at present, are merely passable.

Despite some decent feedback, we couldn’t ignore complaints of Freshdesk's app crashing with neither cause nor error codes to indicate the source of the problem. Maintenance is apparently an issue spreading across the product beyond the mobile app, with frequent inexplicable crashes and slow, uninformative responses from support. 

At any rate, the free trial gives you a good taste of what Freshdesk’s services offer and if it’s the right option for you.


Best option for simplicity at smaller businesses.

Hosting: Cloud and on-premises
Pricing: 3-agent minimum at a yearly rate of $699 at the Professional tier, or 10-agent minimum  for $2,999 annually at the Enterprise tier. 


HelpSpot’s email management, self-service portal, knowledge base, and reporting features are designed with simplicity in mind—meaning they’re not big on extras that incur costs and clutter. As a result, HelpSpot is one of the easiest help desk systems on this list to learn and use. As equal fans of having a US-based email and phone support team, we felt impelled to add HelpSpot to our top 10 list.

HelpSpot offers a few perks its larger competitors don’t. It can be hosted in the US, EU, or on-premises. HelpSpot’s application also offers unlimited end customers, very similar to Issuetrak’s unlimited free users. Otherwise, HelpSpot offers businesses of any kind all the basics  like a self-service portal, custom web forms, knowledge base, trends tracking, reporting, ticket management and more. SQL Database Access is available for both cloud and on-prem only at the highest tier—otherwise, it is available for on-premises customers only.

Professional Services are available as an add-on. Typically, the best way to set up help desk software for your specific process is with the help of a ProServices team. Not doing so could set you up for failure if you’re unwilling to spend the extra money. It’s worth considering where your dollars are going, especially as there are other vendors who include ProServices in your sign up fee or offer it free of charge.

Overall, HelpSpot has no costly bloated features and is a no-nonsense program with basic functions you can get away with.

SEE: How much should you pay your software vendor for support?

What Customers Are Saying

Although a great annual cost-effective solution, you get what you pay for, and HelpSpot won’t give you fancy bells and whistles, even as a scalable option. Some major features you’d miss out on with this basic option? A popup chat widget, integrated help submission for authenticated users, and an attractive UI, to name a few. 

If you are looking for smooth integration, custom reporting, and advanced features—look elsewhere. On the IT side, reviewers comment that hosting on-premises is painful and an additional IT nightmare to keep updated. The backend also hears complaints of needing a major overhaul: it lacks customization, and every few months falls prey to internal errors.

Bottom line? There are more robust, fully featured alternatives out there, though HelpSpot could be a great induction for start ups at the beginning of their help desk journey. Larger enterprises, however, will likely benefit from integrations with their existing systems rather than the basic suite HelpSpot provides. 


Best free IT asset management option.

Hosting: Cloud only
Pricing: Free

Free, easy to set up, and customizable, Spiceworks is great for IT professionals working for start-ups or SMBs on a tight budget. (You’ll have to excuse the ads—it is a free platform, after all.) Nonetheless, Spiceworks could prove invaluable when integrated with another platform. In other words, Spiceworks is a very good ticketing system if you need a basic product with basic features—but it must lean on a more sophisticated system like ManageEngine or Jira to give you the full scalability you might need at your IT help desk. 


With simple-to-use features like knowledge base, team and help management dashboards, a mobile app, and included support, Spiceworks is an ideal choice for a company with a small support staff. It recently removed its on-premises version, now offering only Cloud hosting.

What Customers Are Saying

Advanced features and reporting capability are limited. The reports could be streamlined to remove redundancy and focus on key areas to make reporting functions less fractured. Viewing and routing tickets could also use a facelift, especially for larger IT departments who wish to route tickets to specific teams, or admins who wish to view all tickets in one place, regardless of their status.


Also, Spiceworks could improve their ratings if they work on making their support team more readily available.

Overall, if you're taking the plunge into entry-level help desk software, this is a great step up from using Microsoft Excel to manage IT assets.

Business booming? Ready to scale up?

Outgrown your current help desk system? Get a scalable option that grows with you. Join 6K+ industries using Issuetrak at their help desks.  Take advantage of every tool you'd need, whether out of the box or custom-made.

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Best up-and-coming software option.

Hosting: Cloud and on-premises
Pricing: Freelancer 1-agent plan $29 per month, Startup 4-agent plan $69 per month, Company 7-agent plan $139 per month, Enterprise 9-agent plan $249 per month with $29 per extra agent.

JitBit Helpdesk is an IT help desk management solution designed for companies of any size that offers automated routing, incident management, inbox management, ticket management and self-service portal functionalities within a suite. The product is available both in cloud-based and on-premises deployment options and features a mobile app to help agents track request status.


JitBit comes highly recommended by users for friendly customer service, easy installation and configuration, modern programming, and a great value for the price. A robust IEM rule structure, reliable support, and feature-request responsiveness are added bonuses. Unlimited users means the app can grow as you do.

What Customers Are Saying

Tedious filtering and limited group-level permissions make it challenging to search and share IT tickets with upper management. JitBit’s default behavior is designed so users log their own tickets versus calling into a help desk, creating issues for accurate reporting. Users also complain that JitBit’s app may as well not exist for its poor functionality.

While this application cannot perform everything (a few more automation options or reports would be nice), it is an economical purchase that you can have up and running very quickly, and that will likely scale with you as JitBit (and your organization) continues to grow. 


Best help desk system for Asset Management.

Hosting: Cloud and on-premises
Pricing: Free trial available. Contact SysAid directly for pricing. Approximated at $1,211 for 500 assets and five users per year, going up to $1,611 for 1,000 assets per year.

SysAid’s comprehensive ITSM help desk software solution offers ticketing management, problem and change management, reporting, and built-in asset management. 

Incidents List:


Incident Screen:


Commentary threads often praise SysAid for being easy to set up, configure, manage, and use, making it a good choice across departments or for organizations of all sizes. SysAid offers praiseworthy flexibility in design and function. Users are also pleased with SysAid’s demonstrated stability for fast processing and consistent attention to self-improvement.

"Even in a high-volume environment with over 15,000 tickets processed monthly, the platform has effectively maintained data integrity without experiencing delays or system lag." 

SysAid sticks to its strengths in serving IT departments. Monitoring is simple and generates data analysis for informed decision making. Users love its workflow features, escalation rules, and the ability to incorporate data from an active directory infrastructure to identify end users as well as their departments or managers. 

What Customers Are Saying

A number of important, basic must-haves take a hit in user reviews. The inability to merge tickets, especially in the case of an influx, inflates ticket volume and overloads help desks with unnecessary deletions and closures. The system also lacks foresight and granularity in administrator security and data security—such as siphoning off system configurations to a smaller sysadmin group, or permissions in customizing templates.

Despite its nomination for its ITSM capability, a number of users are left wanting a more robust asset management system. This, coupled with a poor end user portal for Knowledge Base and Service Request follow up, leave a lot to be desired. Furthermore, complaints of slow technical support make SysAid a less-than-optimal choice for help desks wanting to save time. 

Other mainstay features would stand to benefit from being more user-friendly. The most common criticism of SysAid’s product is an outdated user interface with old text editors. Both asset management and the workflow design are less than intuitive, and users find themselves spending more time on a learning curve and less time on resolving issues. Reporting is massively affected by data size, is neither comprehensive nor straightforward, and requires lots of training to understand.

Bottom line? While many are happy with SysAid, its system needs a revamp in several areas to keep up with modern needs, and has limitations that many enterprises will eventually outgrow.


All help desk software solutions give ROI to businesses by enhancing customer support, simplifying ticket management, adhering to SLAs, and offering data analysis with customer insights. What’s important is that you choose the most suitable and scalable solution to serve your business needs now and in the future.

If this is daunting, here’s our advice: weigh the costs and benefits, then go with a team that offers stellar support. The chances of them working with you on a custom product suited to your needs are much higher - and is more likely to scale with and serve you as you grow.


Our US-based team is ready to help you.

Our 99% satisfaction rating ensures optimal support for a product that grows with you. 

Connect with us now at 757-213-1350.


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Topics from this blog: Help Desk