Zendesk or Assistly?


We are in process of implementing support portal for our startup and looking at zendesk or assistly for this.

These two services seem quite similar and from reading around on the internet I can't find a definitive reason why one is better than the other or a comparison of their strengths/weaknesses.

Has anyone here used either of these services? If so, what made you choose the service you did? If you did choose another service, please chime in as to which one and why?

Please let me know if you have used any of these 2 and your reasons to why you chose it. Reason I asked this question is for users to share why they choose one over another. So please no dubiuos answers or the developers of the zendesk or assistly telling me why to use theirs. I can pretty much get that info on their websites.

Customer Support

asked Dec 15 '11 at 11:10
110 points

13 Answers


I just spent a number of weeks on the ZenDesk vs. Assistly road. At the end of the day, if you want lots of integrations, your best bet is ZenDesk.

However, I'd argue that if you (or your help desk folks) are going to be dedicated help desk ninjas who spend hours a day inside the help desk - Assistly has far better workflows.

IF you're a more casual help desk person and won't have time to really dig in to workflows, macros, etc - go with ZenDesk.

answered Dec 17 '11 at 03:12
Neil Kelty
76 points


I trialled both of these for my startup and ended up going with Zendesk, I couldn't be happier with the choice, it works perfectly for me. The main reason I went with Zendesk is I could get the whole thing up and running just as I wanted in about 1 hour, with Assistly I struggled to achieve my desired outcome.

It's always good to look back though, and after 6 months I would make the same decision again.

answered Dec 15 '11 at 12:01
Joel Friedlaender
5,007 points


Well, my organization just made the switch from NetSuite to ZenDesk. If I believed in God, I would thank him.

If you compare the ZD application with NetSuite here are some key differences:

  • Reporting in ZenDesk kind of stinks. (Integration reporting with GoodData rocks.)
  • ZenDesk is much more simple and easy to use.
  • Easier to track and keep control of records.
  • The Apps list and ease of integration in ZenDesk is outstanding. A+ to ZenDesk
  • NetSuite is more Powerful but useless if you don't know how to leverage it.

ZenDesk rules as far as simplicity goes. I am just wondering though, why my company and any company wouldn't just take the "Open-Source" route!?
Yes, ZenDesk is more simple, easy to integrate with 3rd parties.
But, why not use a free ticket system that gets the job done at the end of the day...
Who knows... I wish I had more control over the business decisions anyway.

answered Nov 3 '12 at 11:55
Justin Koehler
41 points


Another major contender in this space is "Freshdesk" which is probably the most cost effective for startups with plans starting at $9/agent/month. It has all the features that Assistly and Zendesk have they have some good reviews.
Have a look at them as well.

answered Dec 16 '11 at 16:29
Walter Taggett
31 points
  • Please let me know if you have used any of these 2 and your reasons to why you chose it. Reason I asked this question is for users to share why they choose one over another. So please no dubiuos answers. – R D 12 years ago
  • this was very helpful. after doing the research we choose freshdesk, mainly because they seem to offer all the major features the other ones offer, and at a MUCH better price point. the first agent is always free. and then when you grow, they don't gouge you. – User154721 12 years ago


I would start with desk.com (Assistly) because you'll get one free seat to use which will save you money. Once you get to the point of needing more people helping with support move to ZenDesk they have some better features in my opinion like turning incoming calls into support tickets. Save wherever you can, you won't be flooded with support requests in a startup most of the time so why spend on a monthly service when desk.com (Assistly) is free to start with

answered Feb 15 '12 at 17:15
293 points


I work for Assistly, so I am clearly biased toward our product, but I would be happy to provide you with customer references that identify easy setup as a key reason for using Assistly. Our pricing model is also a key differentiator. With Assistly your first agent is actually completely free, and you can sign up any member of your organization as a part-time agent. Part-time agents pay $1 per hour of usage. This means that if you require only one agent, you get Assistly entirely for free (the full product, not just a "lite" version).

The three WOWs we hear most often from customers: 1) our management system is airtight and no customer issues fall through the cracks; 2) agents love using Assistly because we have designed it with their workflow in mind; and 3) Assistly makes teams much more productive.

Of course, if there is anything our Customer Wow Team can provide to help you with your decision, we are happy to help.

answered Dec 16 '11 at 09:44
Alyson Button Stone
21 points


Answering my own question, Thanks for all your suggestions.

We ended up choosing Zendesk, Here is the brief rundown:

  1. Assistly is much easier to setup for same look and feel, You can just import HTML templates and it looks exactly like your website. Zendesk can be customized too, but is not simple template based and need lot of Javascript and CSS work. Assistly: 15 minutes, Zendesk: 8 hours. (This is only if you want it to look like your website).
  2. Zendesk has option for users to like feature requests added by other users, so kind of works as voting on features.
  3. Assistly has free chat, zendesk chat is for higher plan($29/month), but zopim integrates with zendesk.
  4. Zendesk was $9/month/per agent when we signed up, but now it is $20/year for 3 agents. Hard to beat that price.
answered Feb 29 '12 at 12:33
110 points


We looked at both and chose Zendesk - quicker to get started and better integrations.

answered Jan 3 '12 at 19:04
11 points


FWIW, I was looking at going with Assistly. I liked the "First Full-Time Agent FREE (always)" but then got to the "A La Carte Upgrades" which add $100/mo. just to tweak the formatting of the knowledge base pages and serve everything over SSL on my domain. The high recurring price and the feeling of bait-and-switch (free ... except) left a bad taste in my mouth.

answered Feb 15 '12 at 12:19
Steven Parkes
111 points


Another one that is similar to Zendesk and Assistly (now called Desk.com after being purchased by Salesforce) is Tender and is probably worth checking out too. I think they all do basically similar things but they have different ways of doing them, as well as different cost structures, different strengths and weaknesses, etc. I suggest you make a list of exactly what functionality you need and then check whether they support all of those needs.

answered Feb 15 '12 at 16:48
91 points


Another one I've come across that looks worth checking out is HappyFox. Free for first several users.

answered Feb 16 '12 at 05:24
91 points


Neither, we ended up on FreshDesk. We were with Zendesk for several months, and the support was well intended, just awful.

First they started charging us the monthly fee every day, then refunded it all in slightly different amounts.

The other issue was a feature request for pre-formatted text. When supporting developers you need pre formatted text as an option, the code can't be read otherwise. The mistake here is repeated promises to deliver never appeared over many many years, then when an announcement finally came they didn't deliver the one thing that was being asked for, pre-formatted text.

Read the support thread for yourself, just beggars belief.

answered Feb 28 '13 at 21:33
David Benson
2,166 points


As a user of companies that use ZenDesk, I find it a Hideous Spammy Abomination. Yes, email support itself is a Hideous Spammy Abomination but a solution that pushes the burden in part to users is a nonstarter.

In other words, from your users' perspective they should just email support@yourcompany and get replies from humans and be blissfully unaware of what support desk machinery you're using behind the scenes. ZenDesk fails hard at that. I've been hearing good things about HelpScout and it seems they share this philosophy of shielding your users from your support software. I'd love to hear from anyone here who's actually tried them, or can list others with the same philosophy.

answered May 17 '13 at 09:13
153 points

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