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A multi-channel helpdesk that works inside Gmail

Zendesk vs LiveChat – A Detailed Comparison

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

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Selecting the ideal customer service platform is crucial for businesses focused on enhancing client interactions and ensuring efficient issue resolution. This brings into focus the comparison between Zendesk and LiveChat, two prominent platforms in the world of customer support.

Zendesk stands out for its extensive range of customer support tools. It includes a sophisticated email ticketing system, live chat, phone support, and a rich knowledge base, underpinned by its capability to integrate with a variety of applications. This makes Zendesk a popular choice for businesses seeking an all-encompassing solution to handle diverse customer service needs.

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LiveChat, on the other hand, specializes in providing a streamlined live chat experience. It is particularly noted for its ease of use and effective real-time customer engagement capabilities. While it may not offer as broad a range of functionalities as Zendesk, LiveChat excels in delivering focused and immediate customer support through chat.

The Better Customer Support STry Hiver Free

Both Zendesk and LiveChat have their unique strengths and occupy significant positions in the customer service software market. Zendesk is ideal for businesses requiring a comprehensive suite of customer support tools, whereas LiveChat is more suited for those prioritizing immediate, chat-based customer interactions.

This comparison is designed to guide businesses in choosing a platform that aligns with their specific customer service objectives, considering the distinct features and strengths of Zendesk and LiveChat.

Zendesk Overview

Zendesk, a customer support software, excels in delivering personalized and streamlined omnichannel experiences, crucial for building customer loyalty. It seamlessly integrates with a variety of business platforms, including CRM, project management, and e-commerce tools. 

Zendesk UI

The software’s app marketplace features a range of specialized extensions and add-ons, catering to unique business needs like real-time language translation and sentiment analysis. Zendesk’s robust analytics tools are instrumental in analyzing key support metrics, such as ticket volume and customer satisfaction, facilitating informed, data-driven decisions.

Explore the best Zendesk Alternatives

LiveChat Overview

LiveChat is a customer support software that offers a range of features to improve customer service across various business types, from B2B SaaS to travel agencies. It focuses on enhancing customer experience by balancing human interactions with automation and technology. LiveChat provides functionalities such as automated greetings, chat routing, real-time customer information, message templates, and chatbots. 

LiveChat UI

The software supports multichannel communication, allowing conversations through Messenger, SMS, Apple Messages, and more. It also integrates with over 200 tools to create a customer-centric experience and provides robust reporting features for performance monitoring.

13 Best LiveChat Alternatives for Your Business

Zendesk vs LiveChat – which should you choose?

In this section, we explore Zendesk versus LiveChat, highlighting their distinct features to assist you in determining the best fit for your customer engagement strategy.

1. Ease of Use

When comparing Zendesk and LiveChat in terms of ease of use for the year 2024, here’s a detailed look:

Zendesk

Zendesk Agent Interface
  • Customization & Complexity: Offers a highly customizable agent experience, which can be both a strength and a challenge, as it may require more time to understand and utilize all its features fully.
  • Comprehensive Functionality: Known for extensive functionalities that cater to various aspects of customer support. However, this can overwhelm the platform for new users or smaller teams.
  • Technical Support: Some users have expressed concerns about the quality of technical support offered by Zendesk.

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

LiveChat

LiveChat Interface
  • Focused on Chat Support: As the name suggests, LiveChat specializes in live chat support, providing a streamlined experience but may lack the broader omnichannel capabilities of Zendesk.
  • User-Friendly Interface: Praised for its easy-to-use interface, making it ideal for businesses that prioritize direct and immediate customer interactions.
  • Connectivity Issues: Some users report occasional connectivity or looping issues in the chat function, which could impact the customer service experience.

Key Takeaway

Zendesk’s highly customizable platform suits businesses needing a comprehensive range of customer support functionalities, though its complexity may be challenging for new users. At the same time, concerns exist regarding its technical support quality. 

LiveChat, focusing primarily on live chat support, offers a user-friendly interface, perfect for businesses emphasizing real-time customer interactions. That said, it might fall short in omnichannel capabilities and faces occasional connectivity issues. 

Choose Zendesk for a broad, customizable support system or LiveChat for focused, user-friendly chat support.

2. Automation

Delving into the automation capabilities of Zendesk and LiveChat reveals their unique strategies to streamline customer support, each with its own set of tools and approaches.

Zendesk

Zendesk Automation
  • Automated Ticket Routing: Zendesk’s AI algorithms analyze incoming tickets and assign them to the most appropriate agent. It considers factors like agent expertise, current workload, and ticket content. This ensures efficient distribution of workload and quicker, more accurate responses.
  • AI-Powered Chatbots: Zendesk’s chatbots use AI to handle standard inquiries instantly. They recognize common questions and provide relevant answers, relieving agents from repetitive queries and allowing them to focus on more complex issues.

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

  • Trigger-Based Actions: This feature lets you set automated actions in response to specific ticket events. For instance, you can create a trigger to send an acknowledgement email when a new ticket is received, or escalate a ticket if it remains unresolved for a set period.
  • SLA Management: Zendesk automatically prioritizes tickets based on predefined service level agreements (SLAs). This ensures that tickets with higher urgency or from VIP clients are addressed first, improving compliance with service standards.
  • Automated Workflows: This feature allows the creation of customized workflows for different types of support processes. For example, a workflow can automatically transfer a ticket to a different department if it involves a particular issue, streamlining the support process.
  • Auto-Responses: Zendesk can help businesses send automated responses to common inquiries. This feature is particularly useful for acknowledging receipt of customer queries or providing immediate answers to frequently asked questions, enhancing customer communication efficiency.

9 Automations to Implement in Ticketing Systems

LiveChat

LiveChat, as a standalone product, focuses primarily on providing direct, real-time communication solutions without incorporating automation features. To access automation capabilities, users need to integrate LiveChat with a separate product known as ChatBot. 

It’s important to note that ChatBot is an additional purchase, not included with the basic LiveChat package. This integration bridges the gap, bringing in automation functionalities that are otherwise not available in LiveChat alone.

ChatBot’s annual pricing plans include the Starter plan at $52 per month, the Team plan at $142 per month, and the Business plan at $424 per month. There’s also an Enterprise plan with customized pricing for specific needs.

Key Takeaway

Zendesk excels in complex support scenarios with AI-driven ticket routing and chatbots. Ideal for businesses seeking sophisticated automation in customer support.

LiveChat focuses on streamlining chat interactions, emphasizing real-time engagement and quick responses. Best for companies prioritizing efficient, chat-centric customer service.

3. Omnichannel Functionalities

Let’s analyze the contrast in their methods of incorporating real-time communication channels for customer engagement.

Zendesk

  • Email: Zendesk transforms incoming emails into manageable support tickets, allowing support teams to efficiently track, prioritize, and respond. This integration ensures a cohesive record of customer interactions, with capabilities for branding alignment through customizable email templates and automated responses.
  • Community Forum: The Community Forum offered by Zendesk is a dynamic space for customer interaction and peer-to-peer support. This platform is pivotal for fostering a community around a brand, enabling customers to exchange ideas, solutions, and feedback, thereby enriching the understanding of customer needs.
Zendesk Knowledge Base
  • Knowledge Base: Zendesk’s Knowledge Base acts as a central hub of information, empowering customers to independently find answers to frequent questions. This tool significantly reduces direct support queries and boosts customer satisfaction by offering instant access to key information.
  • Live Chat (Zendesk Chat): Zendesk Chat facilitates real-time support for customers on websites, crucial during critical decision points. This feature not only enhances customer satisfaction with immediate and personalized responses but also yields insights into customer behaviors and preferences. 
  • Messaging Platforms: With support for a wide range of messaging platforms such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, LINE, and more, Zendesk allows businesses to handle conversations across these platforms within a unified interface.
  • Phone Support: Zendesk’s comprehensive phone support includes handling both inbound and outbound calls, fully integrated with traditional and VoIP telephony systems. This includes functionalities for call routing and recording, crucial for addressing complex or urgent customer inquiries.
  • Web Form and Web Service (API): Zendesk enables direct integration of support functions into websites or applications, allowing customers to submit queries seamlessly within these platforms.
  • Social Media Integration: The platform also integrates with major social media channels like Facebook and Twitter, enabling businesses to manage customer interactions on these platforms directly through Zendesk.
  • Mobile SDK and Web Widget: For a more integrated user experience, Zendesk’s Mobile SDK and Web Widget allow businesses to incorporate support features into their mobile apps and websites.

Discover the 7 Best Omnichannel Helpdesk for Customer Support

LiveChat

While LiveChat is primarily known for its live chat functionality, it’s not limited to just chat. The platform integrates with various communication channels as part of its omnichannel approach.

  • Apple Messages for Business: Connects with customers through the Messages app.
  • WhatsApp Business: Enables connection with over 2 billion users.
  • Facebook Messenger: Facilitates direct interaction with customers on Facebook.

Key Takeaway

Zendesk is better for businesses seeking a comprehensive solution integrating various channels like emails, forums, and social media into their customer support strategy. It’s ideal for those needing a diverse range of support options and extensive customization. 

LiveChat suits businesses focusing on direct and real-time customer engagement, particularly through popular messaging platforms like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. It’s well-suited for companies prioritizing immediate, chat-based customer interactions.

4. Reporting and Analytics

The comparison of reporting and analytics features between Zendesk and LiveChat reveals that while both offer comprehensive tools, they cater to different user preferences and requirements in data handling and analysis.

Zendesk

  • Tailored Reporting: Zendesk allows you to create customized reports that cater to your specific business requirements. These reports can be finely tuned using a variety of metrics and attributes that are pertinent to your business, including ticket volume, response times, and customer feedback.
Zendesk Explore for Reporting and Analytics
  • Snapshot Overview: It provides a swift glimpse into essential metrics and trends, enabling businesses to efficiently monitor performance indicators.
  • Ticket Management: This functionality permits the organization and filtration of tickets, offering deeper insights into customer needs and patterns in their requests.
  • Performance Assessment: These reports are designed to assess the effectiveness of customer service teams and identify areas that may need improvement.
  • Customer Satisfaction: Zendesk simplifies the tracking of customer satisfaction scores, ensuring that businesses consistently deliver an outstanding customer experience (CX).
  • Data Exporting: Businesses can seamlessly export data in multiple formats such as CSV, PDF, and XLS for further analysis or reporting purposes.
  • Seamless Integrations: Zendesk effortlessly integrates with popular API providers like Twilio, Slack, and Salesforce, enhancing its reporting capabilities.
  • Zendesk Explore: A pivotal part of Zendesk’s reporting toolkit is Zendesk Explore. It serves as an analytical service that empowers businesses to gather, analyze, and act upon customer service data. Explore offers ready-made dashboards and the flexibility to create custom ones, allowing you to tailor your reporting to your specific needs. These dashboards can showcase information across various Zendesk products, including Zendesk Support, Zendesk Chat, and Zendesk Sell, all customizable to highlight the operational indicators most relevant to your business.

18 Key Customer Service Metrics and How to Use Them

LiveChat

LiveChat Reporting and Analytics
  • Chat Reports: These reports give an in-depth view of the total number of chats, missed chats, greetings conversion, chat satisfaction, chat engagement, and chat surveys. The total chats metric highlights the volume of conversations handled by the team, providing insights into customer engagement levels. Missed chats reports help in identifying potential customer service gaps and determining the need for additional resources or changes in the chat limit. The greetings conversion report allows you to see which greetings are most effective in engaging customers​​.
  • Agent Reports: This section includes metrics such as chat duration, response time, agent activity, and staffing prediction. These reports are crucial for monitoring the performance of customer support agents and optimizing staffing schedules to ensure efficient customer service.
  • E-commerce Reports: For businesses engaged in e-commerce, LiveChat offers reports that track sales and achieved goals. These reports help in understanding the impact of chat interactions on sales and identifying which products are popular among customers and which agents excel in sales.
  • Customer Reports: Customer-centric reports are also available such as queue abandonment reports. These reports provide insights into customer behavior in the chat queue, such as average waiting times and patterns of abandonment, which can help in optimizing the chat service experience.
  • Data Export: LiveChat enables the creation of custom reports which can be saved to a CSV file. Reports can also be scheduled to be sent via email on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. This functionality allows for detailed analysis and record-keeping of customer service data​​.

Key Takeaway

Zendesk and LiveChat both offer robust reporting and analytics, tailored to different needs. Zendesk excels in customizable reporting, allowing for in-depth analysis on metrics like ticket volume and customer feedback, complemented by features like performance assessment and customer satisfaction tracking. Zendesk Explore further enhances this with advanced analytical services. 

LiveChat focuses on specific chat-based metrics, offering detailed insights on chat volume, agent performance, and e-commerce impact, along with customer-centric reports that help optimize chat services. 

While Zendesk is ideal for comprehensive, customizable analytics, LiveChat is suited for businesses focusing on chat service performance and e-commerce initiatives.

5. Pricing

The pricing comparison between Zendesk and LiveChat highlights different approaches, with each platform structured to accommodate varying business sizes and service scopes.f

Zendesk

Zendesk Pricing

Zendesk presents several options in its Suite package, with their annual pricing for each agent, billed monthly, as follows: The Suite Team plan costs $55, the Suite Growth plan is $89, the Suite Professional plan is set at $115, and the Suite Enterprise plan is $169. Additionally, there are extra fees for advanced AI and data privacy and protection add-ons, each priced at $50 per agent each month​.

Zendesk costs 2x more than Hiver

LiveChat

LiveChat Pricing

LiveChat offers four main pricing plans billed annually. The Starter plan costs $20 per agent per month, suitable for small offices or home offices. The Team plan, priced at $41 per agent per month, offers more features. For larger businesses, the Business plan is available at $59 per agent per month. Lastly, the Enterprise plan is tailored to individual needs, and you need to contact their sales team for specific pricing. 

Key Takeaway

Zendesk’s pricing ranges from $55 to $169 per agent monthly, catering to diverse business needs with escalating features and additional fees for advanced options like AI. LiveChat’s plans, starting at $20 per agent monthly, scale up to custom-priced Enterprise solutions, making it suitable for everything from small offices to large businesses. Zendesk’s structure leans towards comprehensive, feature-rich services for various business scales, while LiveChat offers a more straightforward, scalable pricing model suitable for a wide range of business sizes.

6. Customer Support Quality

Analyzing the customer support efficiency of both Zendesk and LiveChat reveals the following distinctions:

Zendesk

Navigating customer support in Zendesk can be somewhat challenging, especially for users on the more basic subscription plans. The company typically offers premium, customized support services to those on higher-tier plans, which may prove difficult for smaller businesses or those on tight budgets.

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’s been built to allow you to do most things but with non-user-friendly UI.

Source

For users who need more focused and personalized support, Zendesk provides such services, albeit at an extra fee. This premium support is priced in the range of $1,500 to $2,800. This added cost is an important factor for businesses to ponder, especially when trying to align their specific customer support needs with their fiscal constraints.

LiveChat

The support provided by the LiveChat team is designed to be available 24×7 across all plans via email, phone, and chat.

Support takes time to respond and resolve the problem which we notify.

Source

Key Takeaway

Zendesk’s customer support is tiered, with more personalized services available at higher subscription levels or for an additional fee ranging from $1,500 to $2,800, potentially challenging for smaller businesses or those with limited budgets. LiveChat, conversely, offers consistent 24×7 support across all plans, providing a more uniform support experience regardless of the subscription level. This distinction makes Zendesk suitable for businesses able to invest in premium support, while LiveChat caters to those seeking reliable support availability across all pricing tiers.

…Or simply switch to Hiver for a better alternative.

Hiver UI

Hiver is a customer support tool that operates seamlessly within Gmail, streamlining support tasks for businesses. Let’s explore Hiver’s functionalities:

  • Email support: Efficiently manage shared inboxes like support@ and info@, assign ownership to emails, and have complete visibility over who is working on what email. Track the resolution status of every query – ‘open’, ‘pending’, and ‘closed’ – anytime, anywhere.
  • Filter emails by Tags for faster access: Segment customer queries based on type – product bugs, payment issues, refunds, exchanges – or based on urgency – urgent, not-so-urgent, and so on.
Knowledge Base in Hiver
  • Knowledge Base: Empower your customers to self-serve and reduce repetitive queries. Easily build, host, and monitor a centralized library of help articles – answers to frequently asked questions, instructions, and guides – that your customers and agents can refer to anytime.
  • Live Chat: Connect with your customers and provide personalized resolutions in real-time via live chat, all while being inside Gmail.
  • Voice: Offer end-to-end voice support right from the comfort of your Gmail inbox with the Hiver-Aircall integration. Effortlessly initiate outgoing calls, receive incoming calls/voicemails, and log & manage them within Hiver.
Hiver x WhatsApp Integration
  • WhatsApp: Respond to WhatsApp messages from Gmail while ensuring complete visibility and accountability for each conversation.
  • Collaborate Effectively: Loop in team members to with @mentions, avoid duplication of responses with Collision Alerts, and craft helpful responses in real-time together using Shared Drafts.
  • Set up SLAs: Prioritize conversations with Service Level Agreements based on urgency and importance and ensure your team’s accountability with timely resolutions.
Automations in Hiver
  • Automations: Automate routine tasks like assigning emails and tagging conversations. Utilize AI bot Harvey to automatically close non-actionable “Thank you” messages and provide intelligent email template suggestions to queries. You can also automate email management by enabling rule-based assignments.
  • Reporting and Analytics: Measure user and workload performance to gain insights and identify improvement areas.
Testimonial on Hiver’s 24×7 Customer Support
  • 24×7 live support: Get priority assistance from a dedicated, empathetic, and a proactive support team. At Hiver, comprehensive 24×7 proactive support is a standard feature across all plans, reflecting our unwavering commitment to excellence in customer service. This approach ensures that clients have access to expert assistance day and night, providing peace of mind and reliable support that aligns with the dynamic needs of their business.
  1. Lite Plan: At $15 per user per month, this entry-level package includes fundamental customer service tools (like email management and collaboration features) and supports up to 2 shared inboxes, 10 users per inbox, and 10 shared labels. It also offers mobile app access, initial onboarding assistance, and 24/7 chat and email support.
  2. Pro Plan: Costing $39 per user per month, this popular plan includes all Lite Plan features, plus voice call engagement, more advanced automation (including SLA management and CSAT surveys),and extensive analytics (including reports on users, tags, and customers). Additionally, it integrates with various tools such as Asana, JIRA, Salesforce, Slack, Zapier, and QuickBooks, and expands to 5 shared inboxes and 50 shared labels.
  3. Elite Plan: Priced at $59 per user per month, this plan is tailored for large-scale needs, encompassing everything in the Pro plan along with additional advanced automation capabilities (like email body search automation and skill-based auto-assignment),HIPAA compliance, priority support with a dedicated manager, and unlimited management of shared inboxes, labels, and users. It also introduces Harvey, Hiver’s AI Bot, to enhance efficiency with features such as natural language processing, intelligent template suggestions, and automated ‘Thank You’ detection.

All these plans come with a 7-day free trial, no credit card needed for sign-up.

These plans position Hiver as a flexible tool for businesses of all sizes, from startups to large enterprises seeking a comprehensive customer support solution built inside Gmail.

Experience Hiver’s capabilities today with a free trial.

Choosing the Right Customer Support Solution

Selecting an ideal helpdesk software is key to organizing customer requests and boosting your support team’s efficiency. A good customer service platform turns chaos into order.

However, it’s crucial to find a helpdesk solution that fits your team’s unique needs. Watch out for:

  • Confusing pricing structures with hidden costs.
  • Slow customer support responses.
  • Complicated help documentation.
  • Sales reps promising based on future product potential.
  • A lack of credible reviews or reference customers.

To navigate these challenges, refer to the ‘Top 10 Things to Consider Before Buying a Customer Service Software‘ checklist. This guide assists in identifying early warning signs of potential vendor issues.

Remember, your team’s preferences and needs are vital, as they’ll be the primary software users. The selection process might be daunting, but with a clear and responsible approach, you’re more likely to make a well-informed decision.

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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