Despite the growth in popularity of SaaS tools over the past decade, an overwhelming number of small and medium businesses still use email as their primary online helpdesk platform. The reasons are simple – email is ubiquitous, there is very little training required and you do not need to invest more money for just handling customer support. However, this is the wrong way to look at the problem. If you are a business that handles several hundred support enquiries each month, email-based customer support is not only clumsy, but also extremely disorganized.

Online helpdesks are not just for big companies with dozens of customer support staff. It can vastly improve the efficiency of even small organizations with just one or two support executives. In this article, we will discuss five such helpdesk tools that are not only powerful enough to make support more efficient, but is also easy on your wallet.


Are you certain you do not want to spend a dime on helpdesk tools? Then perhaps it is a good idea to explore osTicket. It is a downloadable software that is completely open source and free to use. The native software does not include SSL encryption or email integration and so you may need to work on additional steps here. Alternately, if you do not mind spending $9 per month, you could check out their cloud-based hosted solution. This comes with the ability to handle unlimited tickets and support methods although there are minor limitations on the file size and certain features. Read the complete review here.


Another wonderful tool for small business owners who are not ready to spend money on helpdesk tools yet is Freshdesk. Their free ‘Sprout’ plan supports up to three agents and allows you to handle email and phone support in addition to maintaining a knowledge base. Besides the free plan, Freshdesk is also a good helpdesk to use if your business is seasonal – their ‘day passes’ allow you to hire additional pair of hands to support during business spikes (as during a product launch or holiday sale). They have a pretty good fan following and you can read the reviews here.


In the world of online helpdesks, Zendesk is definitely one of the most popular tools. This is both due to the fact that it has been around for close to eight years and also because it serves more than sixty thousand paying customers today. Unlike osTicket or Freshdesk, Zendesk does not have a free tier. However their ‘Essential’ tier is pretty cheap at just $5 per month for an agent and at this price you get access to unlimited support requests over email or social networks, knowledge base management, web widgets and agent macros. That’s a pretty comprehensive offering at that price. You can read about everything on offer here.


Help Scout is not half as popular as alternatives like Zendesk or Freshdesk, but they do have a product that will perfectly fit your needs. There is a free tier with one mailbox that can be shared among three support agents. This is of course not as comprehensive as their paid plan. But if you don’t need access to the API or reports and do not mind linking out to HelpScout in your outgoing emails, then this is a good product for you. The product enjoys a raving fan base whose reviews you can read here.


Groove belongs to the new age of helpdesk solutions that is not aimed at overwhelming their customers with features but instead provide them with straightforward features that are easy to use. They have a free tier that comes integrated with a basic helpdesk with email ticket management. This means you can reply to tickets from your email inbox itself without having to visit the helpdesk platform each time. Even the paid plan is not too expensive in comparison to the other products in the market and only costs $15 per month for an agent. Read about all the reviews of Groove here.

Regardless of whether you choose a free or a paid plan, all these products come with a free trial period that gives you the ability to test and explore the features before deciding on the right product for your business. What did you choose? Write to us in the comments below.