Do you think deciphering the difference between the myriad help desk software and customer support apps is a herculean task? Well, I won’t be arguing with you. There are a huge number of service desk tools out there, and many of them are excellent apps, which, although encouraging in terms of your customer experience, doesn’t make choosing any easier. Two apps that cause particular confusion are and Salesforce Service Cloud.

It’s not surprising. They share a short, but action-packed history that’s so closely linked it can be very easy to get mixed up. Salesforce owns both apps, having bought back in 2011. Back then, the app was called Assistly. now forms part of the Salesforce 1 Service Cloud, but can also be used as a standalone app.

So, that explains how they differ, technically, but what does that mean to you as a prospective user? Why might you choose one or the other for your business, and what should you take into account when deciding which customer service app is right for you?

Luckily, choosing between them should be pretty easy. is the user-friendly, small business option. Salesforce Service Cloud is a bigger, more powerful app that’s aimed firmly at large enterprises and corporations.

Generally, people seem to be so impressed by that they don’t have a harsh word to say. It’s considered a very easy tool – easy to set up, easy to use and easy to maintain, even without dedicated IT staff! It covers the basics you would want in a tool dedicated to improving your customer experience, all wrapped up in a nice, easy to access package.

Among’s main features are:

  • Case management
  • Social CRM
  • Multi-channel support
  • Productivity tools
  • Self-service customer portal
  • mobile app
  • Reporting & analytics
  • Knowledge base
  • 3rd-party integration

Salesforce 1 Service Cloud

Salesforce 1 Service Cloud is a powerhouse of a tool. It’s extremely comprehensive and powerful, which makes it great for larger companies that have time, money and expertise to dedicate to setting up and maintaining a complex piece of software. Once you have the capacity to implement Service Cloud in your business, there’s a steep-ish learning curve, and staff will have to make an effort to get to grips with it all.

The upside, however, is that once everything is in place, you’ll have an unbelievably powerful app that the makers claim is the “world’s smartest customer service app.” That’s a pretty big claim, but Salesforce has good reason to be so confident.

Among Salesforce 1 Service Cloud’s (Enterprise version) main features are:

  • Case management
  • Computer Telephony Integration (CTI)
  • Web and email capture
  • Salesforce1 Mobile App
  • Reports & analytics
  • Customizable dashboards
  • Sales features
  • Service Cloud Console
  • Service contracts and entitlements
  • Knowledge base
  • Web chat
  • Social customer service
  • Salesforce Identity
  • Salesforce Private AppExchange

As you can see, it’s a much longer, more complex array of services that strays into sales and has features – like knowledge bases and live web chat – that other customer service tools don’t provide as default. Luckily for you, it should be pretty clear which app suits your customer service needs better – the two options are very different, and clearly aimed at businesses in very different stages of their life cycles.

Here are some Alternatives to

Zoho Support

Zoho is another app that has the help desk licked. It prides itself on its social integration, and is often seen as a greater starter app for people just getting started in online help desks. Reasonably priced and easy to use, there’s good reason why it’s popular all-round.


This tool is another mid-priced all rounder. It scores highly on the basics – it supports multiple request routes, automatically creates tickets, and is simple to incorporate into your business. A standout feature is the ability to support multiple products and brands on the one system, perfect for more complex businesses and different facets of your company’s personality.


Before you make any decisions, it’s a good idea to take a look at the leading software in a category. Zendesk meets all the basic requirements, while also offering some really competitive prices.

If you’re looking to for alternatives to Service Cloud, however, the choice isn’t as clear. There are plenty of apps that equal some or many of its features, but very few offer a close match. Our founder and CEO Christophe took at look at some of the options in his article, CRM: should you stay or should you go?. Alternatively, head on over to GetApp, and have a look through the many options listed in the service desks for large enterprises category.

Read more: Is Salesforce Worth it for Your Small Business?