How to's, Tips & Tricks
April 5, 2019

5 Best Options to Switch from

If you’re currently using for your help desk, you have a decision to make. As of March 13th, 2020, will be retired for existing customers. 😱

I wouldn’t wait until the last moment to start making plans. As gets closer to retirement, their team will be spending less time fixing bugs. Feedback will fall on deaf ears, while other help desks continue to implement new functionality. Plus, migrating a help desk can take a little bit of time and finesse.

Below, we look at the five most popular options for customers migrating from and rank them each on four criteria:

  • Salesforce Integration – important since is often chosen by Salesforce teams
  • Cost Comparison – will it break the back, or save you money?
  • Data Import – how easy will the migration be?
  • Overall Impressions – what is the TL;DR?

Service Cloud

G2 Crowd reviews: 4.1 / 5

“Service Cloud Lightning builds on the strengths of and can be customized to meet your needs today and in the future. Companies using Service Cloud Lightning have increased agent productivity by 40%, contact resolution by 41% and customer retention by 34%.” – retirement announcement

Salesforce Integration: I mean, it’s made by Salesforce. This is a given. If you spend most of your time in Salesforce, Service Cloud is going to be the most closely integrated tool.

Cost Comparison: Current users are automatically transitioned to the Enterprise plan at their current price. It’s an insanely good deal. 💸

Data Import: Yep, of course. If you’re a current customer they really want to keep you on the Salesforce platform. This means that not only do you get a data import tool, you also get live assistance from their team to help get you set up.

Overall: It’s a heavy duty, complex help desk that will do everything you want and more. But it is made by Salesforce after all, so expect to spend tons of time on customizations, creating workflows, and building reporting dashboards. If you know what you’re doing, Service Cloud is a very powerful tool for your team.


Gartner Peer Ratings: 4.2 / 5

“Named a market leader by Gartner, Zendesk gives organizations the flexibility to move quickly, focus on innovation, and scale their growth.” Company Comparison Page

Salesforce Integration: Zendesk’s Salesforce Integration is pretty tight, especially when considering they aren’t made by the same company. Its two-way data sync integration means that your support team can see sales data, and your sales team sees (and can act on) support data. The dream!

⚠️ Cost Comparison: Pricing ranges from totally free (for their basic shared Inbox platform) all the way up to hundreds of dollars per agent per month for their Elite plan, with multiple add-ons (like chat and a knowledge base). It can be a bit confusing to compare plans. The key is knowing which features you actually need. If you’re trying to compare Zendesk to Service Cloud Enterprise, you’ll likely be spending around more than $99/month/agent for Zendesk’s base Enterprise product.

Data Import: They don’t offer a data migration tool, and ticket data migrated through the API doesn’t appear correctly in historical reports. Moving to Zendesk might involve a 🔥 scorched earth policy 🔥, where you leave your old data behind. This doesn’t mean you have to stop making dramatic empty promises to your data saying you’ll come back for it, it’s data, it won’t mind the lie.

Overall: Zendesk is the market leader in help desks, and they keep innovating with new features like Answer Bot. They’re used by startups and scale really well as your business grows. The App Directory connects other tools your company uses seamlessly (like our own Zendesk Slack Integration). The only slight issue with Zendesk is their customer support. If you’re not big enough to warrant an account manager, you can be left waiting days for an actual response to a ticket. However, the forums and self service solutions are pretty good, so it’s not as much of an issue as it could be.

Moving to Zendesk? Make sure you check out the 5 Powerful Zendesk Triggers to Improve Team Communication.


G2 Crowd Reviews: 4.4 / 5

Note: G2 Crowd only has 10 reviews for Kustomer

“Join our customers who have switched from, seeing an increase of over 20% in agent productivity and driving repeat business.” – Company Comparison Page

Salesforce Integration: There is no native integration with Salesforce for Kustomer. However, they do have an app directory that offers third party integrations.

Cost Comparison: According to their website, Kustomer will match your price. And we all know we can believe everything we read on the internet, so go ahead and take our word for it (but seriously, don’t, and maybe double check, ok?)

Data Import: Kustomer offers a “frictionless migration” to current customers.

Overall: Fun fact, Kustomer was built by the same team who built the original (originally called Assistly) way back in the day. Today, Kustomer is an innovative and unique helpdesk that helps you bring all of your customer data into one, helpful timeline. You can build really in-depth workflows that help prioritize and personalize support conversations. It’s still a 👶 pretty new 👶 platform (it launched in November 2016) so expect a few missing features. But if you’re looking for something new and unique – Kustomer is the platform for you!

Help Scout

G2 Crowd Reviews: 4.5 / 5

“Looking for something less complex and expensive than See how Help Scout lets you scale without a complex interface while saving you up to $30k/yr.” – Company Comparison Page Quote

⚠️ Salesforce Integration: Help Scout offers a Salesforce integration on their top two plans, but it’s read only – meaning you can only view information from the other application, not update or edit it. WOMP. WOMP.

Cost Comparison: Very cost effective. Their highest plan comes in at a budget friendly $27/agent/month. Leaving y’all enough money to score that Unicorn statue you’ve all been waiting for.

Data Import: Yes! HelpScout will import your data from, and they even offer a really helpful article on how to do so. Aren’t they sweet? 😍

Overall: As they themselves say, Help Scout is a simple helpdesk that does what it says on the can. They have great customer support and their product is beautifully designed. Customers won’t even know they are talking through a help desk, as everything is designed to look like simple emails. However, it’s not a traditional help desk. If you like ITIL principles and having customers login to a portal to see the status of their unresolved tickets, ✋ Help Scout is not the desk you’re looking for ✋.


G2 Crowd Reviews: 4.4 / 5

“If you’re tired of a helpdesk provider that offers limited support with an inactive product roadmap, you’ve come to the right place.” – Company Comparison Page Quote

Salesforce Integration: The Salesforce Plus app in Freshdesk will cost you $5/agent/month, but includes custom mapping and a 2 way data sync. That’s pretty damn fresh if you ask us!

✅ Cost Comparison: Freshdesk is very reasonably priced for what it offers. To compete with Service Cloud Enterprise, you’ll likely need the Estate plan at $49/agent/month. Unlike Zendesk, this price includes chat and knowledge base products, so there aren’t many additional costs. Unlike Spirit Airlines, you won’t be nickel and dimed, woot!

 ⚠️ Data Import: There’s no native data import tool, but you can purchase professional services, or use a third party tool called Import2.

Overall: Freshdesk is mainly a more reasonable version of Zendesk. They’re cheaper and they won’t have all the latest features, but they will get the job done. It’s like purchasing a Toyota Camry instead of a Tesla Model 3.

Migrating Help Desks

Switching help desks, even to a product by the same company, will need to involved some planning. (Thanks to Help Scout for their great to-do list on migrating help desks.)

  1. Get your team on board
  2. Understand where customers go for help (ie. contact forms, channels, email addresses), and any integrations that you need to bring along.
  3. Plan what data you need to keep
  4. Train your team on new features, workflows, etc
  5. Educate customers if they will see any changes

Once you’ve planned everything up to the big day, you’ll need to make the switch. Hopefully, everything stays running smoothly – kinda like pulling a tablecloth out from your fully set dinner table.

  1. Pick a quiet, low volume day
  2. Make a plan to handle any ongoing conversations. Are they migrated, or do you need to close them off in the old tool?
  3. Update entire company
  4. Test, test, test. Most tools will offer a sandbox that you can try before going live.
  5. Go Live!

As you start settling into the rhythm of a new tool, make sure to check back in the old system for any stray customer communications. Are replies to old emails going to the right place? Are there inboxes that didn’t migrate properly?

Moving from might have been an unexpected bump in the road, but with a little research and planning, you’ll come out stronger than ever.

Note: if you represent one of these products and would like to request an update to the information provided, please email Thank you!

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