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A multi-channel helpdesk that works inside Gmail

Zendesk vs. Hubspot Service Hub – A Detailed Comparison

Jan 23, 2024
    |    
15 min read
    |    
Hiver HQ
Shobhana

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Selecting the right customer service platform is crucial for enhancing business-client interactions. This is particularly relevant when comparing Zendesk and HubSpot Service Hub, as each offers unique features suitable for varied customer support needs.

Zendesk is renowned for its comprehensive set of functionalities, including a sophisticated email ticketing system, live chat, phone support, and an extensive knowledge base. The platform’s strength lies in its adaptability, supported by numerous integrations with different applications. This versatility makes Zendesk a top choice for businesses seeking a wide-ranging, all-in-one customer support platform.

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In contrast, HubSpot Service Hub, though not as extensive in some features as Zendesk, shines with its specialized customer service capabilities. It offers tools like ticketing, automation, customer feedback surveys, and a customer portal, all aimed at improving the efficiency and effectiveness of customer service operations​. It offers a more focused set of features, emphasizing personalization in customer service and robust self-service options. HubSpot Service Hub is particularly noteworthy for its free plan option, comprehensive customer support features, and ease of use.

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Our analysis provides a detailed comparison to help businesses make an informed choice that aligns with their specific customer service goals. Each platform presents robust solutions, but the final decision depends on the unique requirements and priorities of your business.

Zendesk Overview

Zendesk, a customer support software, is known for its ability to provide seamless and personalized omnichannel functionalities, enhancing customer relationships and loyalty. It boasts a wide range of integrations with popular business tools and platforms, including CRM software, project management tools, and e-commerce platforms. 

Zendesk UI

Zendesk’s app marketplace offers various extensions and add-ons for specific business needs, such as real-time language translation and sentiment analysis. The platform’s robust reporting and analytics tools aid in making data-driven decisions by analyzing support metrics like ticket volume and customer satisfaction scores.

Explore the best Zendesk Alternatives

Hubspot Service Hub Overview

HubSpot’s Service Hub is a customer service software designed to help businesses establish long-lasting relationships with customers through easy-to-use features. It provides conversational tools, a shared inbox, help desk automation, knowledge base functionality, customer feedback surveys, and more. 

Hubspot Service Hub UI

Service Hub is powered by HubSpot’s AI-powered Smart CRM, offering a unified view of customer interactions. The software is available in free and premium plans, catering to a range of business sizes and needs. Its key strengths include a customer portal, omnichannel messaging, inbound calling, live chat, and VoIP calling, aiming to enhance customer service management and build stronger customer relationships.

Zendesk vs Hubspot Service Hub – which should you choose?

Diving into the comparison of Zendesk and HubSpot, let’s examine the strengths and considerations of each to help you make an informed choice for your business’s customer service strategy.

1. Ease of Use

When comparing the ease of use between Zendesk and HubSpot Service Hub for the year 2024, there are several key aspects to consider:

Zendesk

Zendesk Agent Workspace
  • Agent Experience: Zendesk, as a customer service platform, receives a range of feedback regarding its ease of use and setup process. Some users commend it for its robust features and efficiency, particularly noting its strong administrative capabilities and the smooth handling of customer interactions via features like real-time chats. This positive feedback highlights Zendesk’s strength in managing customer support operations effectively.

    On the other hand, there are users who find challenges with Zendesk, especially when it comes to integrating it with other systems and tools. Issues such as complexity in setup and difficulties in ticket management across multiple teams are mentioned. These challenges indicate that while Zendesk is a powerful tool with extensive functionalities, its effectiveness can vary based on the specific implementation and integration within an organization’s existing infrastructure.

How itGenius saved 40 hours a month by moving from Zendesk to Hiver

HubSpot Service Hub

Hubspot Service Hub UI
  • Agent Workspace: It’s praised for its ability to streamline customer support through features like a multi-channel ticketing system, live chat, and a comprehensive knowledge base. Users find these features helpful in organizing and prioritizing customer queries and issues. The platform is noted for its ease of use, although it can initially feel overwhelming due to the multitude of options available. HubSpot ties its various systems together effectively, reducing the need for users to switch between different software. This integration is particularly valued by businesses that use HubSpot’s full suite of products, including the Service Hub​.

Key Takeaway

Zendesk, known for its scalability and advanced features, offers a versatile platform suitable for complex customer support needs. However, it can be more complicated to set up and use. In contrast, HubSpot Service Hub provides a simpler interface, but may lack some of Zendesk’s advanced collaboration and customization capabilities. This distinction is important for businesses considering the right balance between functionality and ease of use.

2. Automation

When comparing the automation features of Zendesk and HubSpot, both platforms offer distinctive strengths and weaknesses.

Zendesk:

Zendesk’s automation capabilities are integral to its reputation as a powerful customer support and engagement platform. Here’s a breakdown of Zendesk’s automation features:

Zendesk Automation
  • Automated Ticket Routing and Handling: Zendesk uses AI and machine learning to automatically route tickets to the appropriate agent or department based on their expertise and workload. This feature ensures that customer inquiries are addressed by the most qualified person, improving resolution times and customer satisfaction.
  • AI-Powered Chatbots: Zendesk helps businesses use AI-driven chatbots to handle routine inquiries and provide instant responses to frequently asked questions. This not only improves speed of customer support by providing quicker answers to customers but also reduces the workload on human agents.

Download the ‘AI vs Human | The Future of Customer Service in 2024’ Report

  • Trigger-Based Actions: Zendesk allows for the creation of triggers that automate specific actions based on certain conditions. For example, a trigger can be set to send an automated response when a new ticket is created or to escalate a ticket if it hasn’t been resolved within a specific timeframe.

HubSpot Service Hub:

HubSpot Service Hub offers a suite of automation features designed to streamline customer service processes and enhance efficiency. Here’s an overview of the key automation capabilities of HubSpot Service Hub:

Hubspot Service Hub Automation
  • Workflow Automation: HubSpot Service Hub provides powerful workflow automation capabilities, enabling businesses to automate repetitive tasks and processes. These workflows can be triggered based on specific actions or events, such as ticket creation, customer responses, or status changes. This automation helps in reducing manual workload and improving response times.
  • Ticketing System Automation: The platform allows for the automation of ticket management, which includes assigning tickets to the right team or agent, changing status of tickets, and escalating issues based on predefined criteria. This ensures that customer inquiries are handled promptly and by the most appropriate personnel.
  • Live Chat and Conversational Bots: HubSpot includes live chat capabilities and conversational bots that can engage customers in real-time on the website. These bots can be programmed to provide instant responses to common queries, gather customer information, and route conversations to human agents when necessary.
  • Email Templates and Sequences: HubSpot’s automation extends to email management, where businesses can use pre-built email templates and create automated email sequences. This feature is particularly useful for follow-up communications and standardizing responses to common customer inquiries.
  • Task and Lead Management: Service Hub automates various aspects of task and lead management, including assigning tasks to team members based on workload or expertise, setting reminders, and tracking the progress of sales leads.
  • Customizable Pipelines: HubSpot allows the creation of service pipelines to track and manage customer issues efficiently. These pipelines can be tailored to fit the specific stages of a company’s service process, enabling a clear overview of customer inquiries and their statuses.

9 Automations to Implement in Ticketing Systems

Key Takeaway

Zendesk shines with AI-driven chatbots and automated ticket routing, ideal for businesses focusing on advanced customer support automation. 

HubSpot, with its integrated CRM, excels in workflow automation and email management, suitable for companies wanting a unified customer service and CRM platform. 

Your choice depends on whether you prioritize AI capabilities (Zendesk) or a combined CRM-customer service system (HubSpot).

3. Omnichannel Functionalities

Let’s explore how these platforms cater to diverse customer engagement needs with their distinct omnichannel features.

Zendesk

  • Email: Zendesk converts incoming emails into support tickets. This allows support teams to track, prioritize, and respond to customer emails alongside other support channels within the same interface. Each email interaction becomes part of a unified customer support thread, ensuring that the context and history of customer interactions are preserved and easily accessible.
  • Community Forum: Zendesk’s Community Forum feature allows businesses to create a dynamic space where customers can engage with each other. This platform serves as a hub for users to ask questions, share insights, and offer solutions based on their experiences. It’s an effective way for a company to build a community around its brand, fostering peer-to-peer support and customer engagement. The forum also acts as a valuable feedback tool, where businesses can gather insights directly from their customers, helping them understand their needs and preferences better.
Zendesk Knowledge Base
  • Knowledge Base: The Knowledge Base in Zendesk (Zendesk Guide) is a centralized repository of information where customers can find answers to common questions and learn about various aspects of products or services. This self-service feature is designed to empower customers to resolve their issues quickly and independently, reducing the need for direct contact with support agents.
  • Live Chat (Zendesk Chat): Zendesk Chat allows businesses to offer real-time assistance to customers browsing their website. This feature is crucial for engaging customers at critical moments, such as when they are making purchase decisions or need immediate help. Live chat can increase customer satisfaction by providing instant responses and personalized support.
  • Messaging Platforms: Zendesk supports a wide array of messaging platforms, catering to the diverse preferences of a business’s customers. This includes popular messaging apps like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, LINE, SMS, Telegram, WeChat, and others. The integration of these platforms into Zendesk allows businesses to manage conversations across different messaging apps within a single interface.
  • Phone Support (Inbound and Outbound Calls): Zendesk also offers robust phone support capabilities, including both inbound and outbound call functions. The system integrates seamlessly with traditional telephony and VoIP services, allowing businesses to manage phone-based customer interactions effectively. This includes features like call routing, call recording, and the creation of support tickets from phone calls.
  • Web Form and Web Service (API): These features allow businesses to integrate support functionalities directly into their websites or applications, enabling customers to submit queries or requests without leaving the platform.
  • Social Media Integration: Zendesk supports integration with major social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. This allows businesses to manage and respond to customer interactions on these platforms directly from the Zendesk interface.
  • Mobile SDK and Web Widget: Businesses can integrate Zendesk’s support functionalities into their mobile apps and websites using the Mobile SDK and Web Widget, respectively. This offers a more cohesive experience for users accessing support through these channels.

Discover the 7 Best Omnichannel Helpdesk for Customer Support

HubSpot Service Hub:

Hubspot Service Hub Knowledge Base
  • Live Chat: This feature enables your company to have  real-time, personalized conversations with customers on your website. It’s integrated into HubSpot’s CRM, allowing chat conversations to be stored for complete context, and is customizable to align with your brand’s aesthetics. The live chat widget can be targeted to specific web pages or visitor segments and can escalate from chatbot interactions to live human support as needed​​​​.
  • Email: A fundamental channel within HubSpot Service Hub, email facilitates formal and structured communication with customers. Integrated into the CRM, teams can assign emails, track their status, and organize them into different categories, providing a streamlined communication channel within the HubSpot ecosystem​​.
  • Facebook Messenger: This integration allows seamless communication with customers through a popular social media platform. By integrating Facebook Messenger into HubSpot, it provides a smooth transition from social media interaction to direct customer support, enhancing the overall customer experience​​.
  • Team Email: Team Email in HubSpot centralizes email communication by creating shared email addresses that the team can access. This feature automatically converts incoming emails into tickets or routes them to the conversation dashboard, enhancing team collaboration and communication efficiency​​.
  • Conversational Bots: HubSpot’s conversational bots work alongside its live chat feature. They automate routine inquiries and guide customers to relevant documentation or the appropriate chat agents. These bots can be customized for specific pages or visitor segments, providing tailored user experiences​​​​.
  • Phone Support: An essential component of comprehensive customer service, phone support in HubSpot allows direct calling from the account. It integrates phone conversations into the CRM by recording and logging them onto the customer record, ensuring detailed and context-rich customer interaction histories​.

Key Takeaway

Zendesk is renowned for its sophisticated automated systems, including AI-driven chatbots and advanced ticket routing, making it an excellent choice for businesses seeking intricate support automation. HubSpot Service Hub, while not as automation-centric, offers streamlined support management with effective automation for managing customer interactions. In summary, if advanced automation in customer support is a priority, Zendesk is likely the better fit; opt for HubSpot if streamlined support management aligns with your business needs.

4. Reporting and Analytics

When comparing the reporting and analytics capabilities of Zendesk and HubSpot Service Hub, both platforms offer a range of features that cater to different business needs.

Zendesk:

  • Customizable Reporting: Zendesk allows for the creation of custom reports to meet specific business needs. These reports can be tailored based on different metrics and attributes relevant to your business, like ticket volume, response time, and customer feedback.
Zendesk Explore for Reporting and Analytics
  • Dashboard Overview: A quick glance at key metrics and trends, helping businesses get an overview of performance indicators.
  • Ticket Views: This feature enables sorting and filtering of tickets, which aids in gaining a deeper understanding of customer needs and patterns in customer requests.
  • Performance Reports: These are used to track the performance of customer service teams and to identify areas that require improvement.
  • Satisfaction Ratings: Zendesk helps in monitoring customer satisfaction scores, ensuring businesses are delivering a good support experience.
  • Data Export: Businesses can export data in various formats like CSV, PDF, and XLS for further analysis or reporting purposes.
  • API Integrations: Zendesk offers integration with popular API providers such as Twilio, Slack, and Salesforce, enhancing its reporting capabilities.
  • Zendesk Explore: A significant component of Zendesk’s reporting tool is Zendesk Explore. It serves as an analytical service that helps businesses collect, analyze, and act on customer service data. Explore includes pre-built dashboards and also allows for the creation of custom dashboards, offering flexibility in reporting. These dashboards can display information about various Zendesk products like Zendesk Support, Zendesk Chat, and Zendesk Sell. They can be customized to focus on operational indicators that are most relevant to your business.

18 Key Customer Service Metrics and How to Use Them

HubSpot Service Hub:

Hubspot Service Hub Reporting and Analytics
  • Service Analytics: Provides a clear overview of customer support metrics, such as response time, support volume, and customer satisfaction scores (CSAT). They are designed for easy use and understanding, making complex data easily accessible for users without specialized analytical skills​​.
  • Customizable Reports and Dashboards: Users can create customized reports and dashboards to monitor important service metrics like ticket volume, resolution time, and customer satisfaction. This continuous data analysis assists in identifying improvement areas and making informed decisions to enhance service strategies​​.
  • Types of Service Reports: Access reports that give you insight into customer satisfaction and agent performance. These provide detailed insights into post-support interaction CSAT scores, average ticket closure times, chat wait times, and support volume, among other metrics.

Key Takeaway

Zendesk excels in detailed, customizable reporting and analytics, perfect for businesses needing tailored insights into customer support metrics like ticket volume and response times. 

HubSpot Service Hub, in contrast, offers a more user-friendly approach with easy-to-understand analytics, ideal for companies seeking a straightforward overview of key customer service metrics. 

Your choice hinges on the need for depth and customization (Zendesk) versus simplicity and accessibility (HubSpot).

5. Pricing

When it comes to pricing structures, Zendesk and HubSpot show significant differences, with each platform adopting distinct pricing strategies to cater to a range of business sizes and requirements.

Zendesk

Zendesk Pricing
  • Suite Team: The starting price is $55 per agent per month when billed annually. This plan includes basic features like email support, messaging, live chat, and access to social and business channels.
  • Suite Growth: This plan is priced at $89 per agent per month annually. It builds upon the Suite Team plan by adding more advanced features like social and business channels, and voice support with add-ons.
  • Suite Professional: At $115 per agent per month when billed annually, this plan offers even more advanced features including multilingual content, advanced knowledge management, and bots.
  • Suite Enterprise: For larger businesses, this plan costs $169 per agent per month annually. It includes extensive features like unlimited departments, advanced encryption, and advanced data retention policies.

Zendesk costs 2x more than Hiver

Hubspot Service Hub

Hubsport Service Hub Pricing
  • HubSpot Service Hub offers different pricing tiers suitable for various business needs. The Professional tier, aimed at small teams, starts at $450 per month, which amounts to $5,400 annually with a commitment. This plan includes five paid users, with each additional user costing $90 per month. The Professional tier encompasses comprehensive help desk software, service analytics, customer portals, feedback surveys, and playbooks, among other features.
  • For larger enterprises requiring more advanced features and flexibility, the Enterprise tier is available starting at $1,200 per month or $14,400 annually. This plan includes ten paid users, with each extra user costing $120 per month. The Enterprise tier offers advanced help desk software and additional benefits over the Professional tier.

Key Takeaway

Zendesk is a good choice for smaller teams that need scalability, while HubSpot Service Hub suits larger teams looking for value in a range of features. Importantly, if you’re already using HubSpot CRM, opting for HubSpot Service Hub makes sense to seamlessly integrate customer service with your existing CRM system. This integration can offer streamlined operations and a unified approach to managing customer relationships.

6. Customer Support Quality

Assessing the quality of customer support offered by Zendesk and HubSpot, each platform reveals unique approaches, with both prioritizing different aspects of customer service experience.

Zendesk

Gaining access to customer support at Zendesk can present challenges, particularly for users of its basic plans. The company tends to allocate its more sophisticated, personalized support services to the higher-tier subscription levels. This model can be a hurdle for smaller enterprises or those with limited financial resources.

They have a 2-day SLA, no phone support, and the times I have had to work with them they have been incredibly difficult to work with. Very rarely do they understand the issue (mostly with Explore) that I am trying to communicate to them. The support documentation is incredibly lackluster and it’s often impossible to know which guide to use as they have non-sensical terminology that makes even finding the appropriate guide very difficult.

I would not recommend Zendesk for their lack of support alone. It seems that it’s been built to allow you to do most things but with non-user-friendly UI.

Source

In addition, Zendesk offers customized, in-depth support services at an extra cost for those who need more focused assistance. The pricing for these premium support options typically falls within the range of $1,500 to $2,800. Such an additional expense is an important aspect for businesses to consider, especially when balancing their specific customer support requirements with available financial resources.

Hubspot

HubSpot Service Hub’s vendor customer support is only available 24×5, covering in-app, phone, email, and chat support for both the Professional and Enterprise plans. This schedule, while extensive, may lead to potential delays in issue resolution, particularly during off-hours or weekends. 

This can be a significant concern for businesses that require immediate assistance, especially in emergency situations or for clients operating in different time zones where support needs might arise outside of the standard support hours. 

Key Takeaway

​​Zendesk’s customer support access varies by subscription level, with higher-tier plans receiving more personalized service. This can be a challenge for smaller businesses or those with limited budgets, especially considering the extra cost for in-depth support services, ranging from $1,500 to $2,800. 

HubSpot Service Hub stands out with its 24×5 support for Professional and Enterprise plans, offering a more consistent and accessible support experience compared to Zendesk. 

…Or simply choose Hiver, a better alternative.

Hiver stands out as a customer support tool that integrates seamlessly into Gmail, streamlining support workflows for businesses. Let’s explore Hiver’s offerings:

Hiver UI

1. Gmail Interface

Hiver’s prime feature is its seamless operation inside Gmail, eliminating the need to learn new software. Teams can handle customer queries right from their familiar Gmail interface, leading to better adoption and less learning time.

2. Shared Inboxes

Hiver turns Gmail into a shared inbox, ideal for support teams managing high email volumes. Team members can collectively access and respond to emails from a common address, like [email protected], ensuring every customer query is addressed.

3. Email Management

Customer emails can be allocated to specific team members, clarifying responsibilities and fostering accountability. Hiver also tracks these emails, allowing managers to oversee progress and guarantee timely replies.

4. Enhancing Collaboration

Hiver shines in enabling team collaboration:

  • Real-Time Collaborative Email Drafting: Teams can co-write emails in real-time, valuable for crafting detailed responses to complex queries.
Private Notes in Hiver
  • Email Notes: Team members can add private notes to emails, facilitating internal communication without external chats or email forwarding. These notes are not visible to customers.
  • Collision Detection: Hiver alerts when multiple team members reply to the same email, preventing overlap and organizing communication better.

5. Advanced Automation

Hiver boosts workflow efficiency through automation:

Automations in Hiver
  • Automatic Email Routing: Hiver’s automatic email routing allocates emails to team members based on predefined criteria like content, sender, or subject line. This targeted assignment ensures quick, appropriate response and workload balance. If a customer sends an email with the subject “Urgent software issue,” Hiver automatically routes it to the technical support team. Alternatively, an email from a known VIP client could be directed to a senior customer service representative, ensuring high-priority handling.
  • SLA (Service Level Agreement) Management: Hiver enables setting SLA reminders and warnings, ensuring timely response to customer queries within set deadlines. This boosts efficiency and maintains high service standards. For a customer query tagged as ‘high priority,’ Hiver sets a reminder for a response within 2 hours. If the query isn’t addressed within this timeframe, the system triggers a warning to the team manager, ensuring adherence to the agreed SLA.
  • Workflow Automation: Hiver automates routine tasks such as categorizing, tagging, and marking emails. This saves time, reduces manual effort, and minimizes errors, allowing teams to focus more on resolving customer issues. When a customer sends a feedback email, Hiver automatically tags it under ‘Customer Feedback’. Similarly, an email containing the word “invoice” could be tagged and categorized under ‘Billing,’ streamlining the sorting process for finance-related queries.
  • Harvey:Harvey, the AI assistant in Hiver, has a Thank You Detection feature that is programmed to recognize when customers send ‘Thank You’ responses after their issues have been resolved and the conversation has been closed. Typically, such responses don’t require any further action but can inadvertently reopen closed conversations.

6. Analytics and Reporting

Hiver Reporting
  • Response and Resolution Tracking: Hiver monitors how quickly teams respond to and resolve issues – which are key metrics for evaluating customer support effectiveness.
  • Performance Insights: It offers detailed analysis of individual team members’ performance, aiding in identifying training needs or recognizing top performers.
  • Custom Dashboards: Users can create dashboards tailored to their specific metrics, offering customized analysis.
  • Data Export: Hiver enables data export for deeper analysis or integration with other tools.

7. Pricing Structure

As of 2024, Hiver offers three pricing tiers:

  • Lite Plan: At $15 per user/month, this entry-level option includes basic customer service tools (email management, collaboration tools) and supports up to 2 shared inboxes and 10 users per inbox. It also provides mobile app access, onboarding support, and 24×7 chat and email support.
  • Pro Plan: Priced at $39 per user/month, this popular plan builds on the Lite plan with features like voice calls, advanced automation, comprehensive analytics, and integrations with tools like Asana and Salesforce. It allows for 5 shared inboxes and 50 shared labels.
  • Elite Plan: For $59 per user/month, this plan caters to high-volume needs with advanced features like HIPAA compliance and a dedicated success manager. It includes unlimited shared inboxes, labels, and users, and features Harvey, Hiver’s AI Bot.

8. Proactive Customer Support

Testimonial on Hiver’s 24×7 Customer Support

With Hiver, clients receive 24×7 proactive support across all service plans, guaranteeing immediate and expert help whenever needed. This commitment to constant availability reflects Hivers’ dedication to client satisfaction and operational excellence, ensuring that quality support is a continuous, integral part of the user experience.

Each plan comes with a 7-day free trial, with no credit card needed for signing up.

Hiver’s diverse plans suit various business sizes and needs, making it a comprehensive customer support platform within Gmail.

Try Hiver for Free

Shobhana has been recognized as a 'Top Customer Support Voice' by LinkedIn. Her expertise lies in creating well-researched and actionable content for Customer Experience (CX) professionals. As an active member of popular CX communities such as CX Accelerator and Support Driven, she helps professionals evaluate tools for their support team and keeps a keen eye on emerging industry trends.

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