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Zendesk vs. Salesforce (2024) In-depth Comparison

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Choosing ideal customer relationship management software (CRM) is tough when it comes to making informed business decisions. You need CRM software to manage sales records, integrate workflows, streamline customer journeys, or collaborate better across teams.

While making such an important decision, almost every business faces the dilemma of Zendesk vs. Salesforce. Although both platforms offer very similar services, the differences are obvious regarding user-friendly interfaces and efficiency.

Zendesk vs Salesforce: Which is the Better Customer Service Solution?

If you are a business on the verge of making this important decision, you will come across Zendesk, promising cost efficiency and comprehensive strategies to streamline the customer experience and offer flexibility. On the other hand, Salesforce is famous for its reputation as the top CRM excellence software solution.

Zendesk vs. Salesforce

After experiencing both the software, it can be said that various nuances set them apart. Let us delve deeper into the features and uniqueness that Zendesk and Salesforce offer to equip you with insights that can help you make an informed decision.

Zendesk Salesforce Comparison at a Glance

Before we dive deeper into the complexities of Salesforce vs Zendesk offers, we will have a quick glance at what both these software offers and how they differ on basic metrics. The following pointers illustrate this comparison to facilitate your decision.

Utility

When we talk about utility, Zendesk is a relatively easier software to use, which requires little to no code, making it user-friendly.

On the other hand, the Salesforce service cloud asks for more IT involvement if you want to experience advanced automation. It also requires specific knowledge to navigate through various features.

UX

Comparing the user experience of both software, Zendesk has a clear win on this, as it has a simple dashboard and allows users to navigate through the features easily.

Zendesk UX

However, dealing with Salesforce can be tricky, and finding specific features may not be as handy as in Zendesk. This complexity leads to a compromised user experience.

Scalability

In the context of scalability, Zendesk offers its users a system of tools and advanced features in a cost-effective way, meaning businesses can opt for a comprehensive toolkit without the need to dedicate a lot of budget to it.

On the other hand, Salesforce enables businesses to scale seamlessly by offering cloud solutions that make them reach new heights.

Advanced AI

The recent collaboration between Zendesk and OpenAI has significantly enhanced Zendesk's offerings in terms of customer service and generative AI. Zendesk has been able to incorporate various AI-based features to deliver customized experiences to users.

Integration of AI

On the other hand, Salesforce has taken the lead in leveraging AI tools more sophisticatedly, enabling businesses to have advanced data analysis and predictive insights.

Automation

When it comes to automation tools in both software, Zendesk offers a range of functions, but they usually have a limited scope and are complicated to implement.

The automation tools in the Salesforce service cloud belong to higher pricing tiers and may require businesses to have a budget consideration, especially the ones with budget constraints. These automation tools in Salesforce also require specialized knowledge to leverage their functionality fully.

CRM Automation

Agent Experience

Zendesk offers a seamless experience for agents; it facilitates easy viewing of conversations, centralizes ticket workflows, and allows accessibility to customer interactions and collaboration across teams. All of this takes place in an integrated environment, and this integration fosters better business communication.

Salesforce agents work in separate systems, leading to fragmentation and an inefficient experience as collaboration becomes difficult. A hindrance exists in maintaining a cohesive workflow, which leads to a slow response time compared to Zendesk.

Omnichannel Conversation Support

Zendesk excels in providing its users with a seamless omnichannel conversation experience, including chat, voice, and social media integration within its platforms. This integration allows businesses to have a smooth flow of information without relying on third parties.

On the other hand, Salesforce requires third-party vendors to integrate voice channels. Although chat and social media have been well integrated within the software, the reliance on third parties for voice options may impact the overall user experience and disrupt the smoother experience.

Third-Party Integration

Strategic Partnership

Zendesk offers users built-in resources that assist businesses in using a CRM platform. It provides ultimate guidance to help businesses optimize their strategies efficiently and effectively.

However, similar resources in Salesforce require an additional cost and have a broad focus. Although the resources are valuable for the businesses in the long run, the cost might be a consideration factor for them when choosing software.

Zendesk Guidance To Users

Total Cost of Ownership

Zendesk stands out for its cost, as it offers businesses easy customization options at a low cost. This allows businesses to use Zendesk to cater to their specific needs without requiring technical expertise or incurring high costs. The total overall low TCP makes Zendesk an attractive option for users.

On the other hand, the technical expertise required for the complex nature of the Salesforce platform automatically increases the firm's ownership cost. The deployment, maintenance, and ongoing customization increase the businesses' costs, especially while maintaining strategic partnerships with third-party applications.

Save Business Costs

Zendesk and Salesforce Artificial Intelligence features

AI has played a significant role in the ever-changing world of customer relationship management (CRM) solutions. AI tools have enabled businesses to deliver personalized experiences that eventually help them drive business growth. Two main players, Zendesk and Salesforce have incorporated AI into their platforms to provide customers with a seamless experience. Let us look at the Artificial Intelligence offerings of both Zendesk and Salesforce.

Zendesk AI offerings

Zendesk provides its users with AI Tools that enhance productivity, such as advanced bots and machine learning predictions. All these tools equip firms to deal with customer queries more efficiently.

Smart Ticket Sorting is an AI-driven ticket sorter that categorizes incoming tickets based on their urgency, which makes it possible for agents to deal with critical issues first.

Zendesk AI

Contextual Insights also has AI functionality, which enables agents to analyze customer lifecycle and provide insights that enhance the personalized user experience.

Zendesk AI offerings also include Automating tasks that require suggestions for completion; for example, it auto-generates the potential agent responses, identifies the gaps in knowledge bases, and suggests related articles.

AI offerings of Zendesk are entirely focused on providing agents with an experience that is smooth, efficient, and cost-effective. Zendesk, in fact, provides a comprehensive combination of AI-driven solutions to its customers in all pricing tiers.

Salesforce AI offerings

Einstein GPT's integration into the Salesforce service cloud enables users to gain intelligent insights from user behavior, suggest actions, and give predictive suggestions.

AI integration into the Salesforce platform has also catered to content generation. Einstein GPT can create agent responses, web content, omnichannel messages, and tailored business content.

Salesforce AI also enables Smart Assistants to integrate machine learning in making predictive suggestions, enabling agents to make more knowledgeable and informed decisions.

Although Salesforce offers its agents diverse AI-integrated tools that enhance the user experience, but these functionalities belong to a high pricing tier, making it difficult for small businesses to opt for this.

Salesforce AI

Common AI offerings in Both Zendesk and Salesforce

Knowledge Base Recommendations in both software enable agents to get the information they quickly need to resolve customer queries. These AI-driven recommendations are much faster than a manual information search, contributing positively to the overall customer experience.

Next-Base Action Suggestions in Zendesk and Salesforce service cloud enable agents to make a more informed decision about fostering smooth customer journey.

Predictive AI

Sentiment analysis is also an AI-driven feature common in both software and helps teams understand the sentiment of customer interaction and act accordingly.

Chatbots are an extremely helpful tool that enables agents to access 24/7 customer support and give customers seamless experiences using these CRM platforms. These chatbots also automate repetitive tasks, contributing to overall efficiency.

Chatbots

Case management AI tools are incorporated in Zendesk and Salesforce, enabling teams to improve their case management processes. This AI-driven tool improves the efficiency and effectiveness of case management for businesses.

Ultimately, the choice of platform depends on business needs, budget, and technical capabilities. Whether businesses can prioritize ease of use and cost-effectiveness by choosing Zendesk or have a more advanced AI functionalities-based software solutions such as Salesforce to elevate smooth customer communication.

Salesforce vs Zendesk: Pricing

When it comes to making a decision about selecting the right customer relationship management (CRM) solution, you have to understand the pricing plans and associated features of each platform. Both platforms, Zendesk and Salesforce offer various plans belonging to different pricing tiers, and each plan caters to different business needs. Let's look at the pricing plans these software offer and the value proposition of each plan.

Zendesk Pricing Plan

Zendesk offerings are for small startups as well as enterprise-level organizations. The pricing plans start from $19 and go up to $249 per user. Following are the pricing plans of Zendesk.

  1. Basic Plan is $19 per user per month and includes native voice capabilities, chat tools, a help center for customer support, customer business rules (triggers and automation), in-built responses (macros), and an internal knowledge base for a seamless experience.
  2. Team Plan $55 per user per month includes all basic plan features, collaboration tools for teams, pre-built analytics, standard bots, and a ticketing system for streamlined support workflows.
  3. Suite Growth Plan $89 per user per month, has multiple ticket forms, a self-service customer portal, business hours, service level agreements (SLA), and the basic plan.
  4. Suite Professional, which costs $115 per user per month, is the most popular Zendesk plan that businesses go for. It includes side conversations, HIPAA-enabled, Skills-based routing, data location options, live analytics, and access to sunshine conversations.
  5. Suite Enterprise Plus's $249 per user per month plan has Sandbox, AI-powered Content Cues, and Content Blocks, and it is eligible for an advanced AI add-on.

Zendesk has two new add-ons that cost an additional fee. The first is $50 per agent per month for an advanced AI add-on with advanced bots, macro suggestions, and intelligent triage. The second new add-on is for Advanced data privacy and protection for $50 per agent per month, and it includes an access log, advanced data retention policies, data masking, advanced encryption, and advanced redaction.

Zendesk Pricing Plans

Salesforce Pricing Plan

Salesforce plans also accommodate businesses of all sizes, with plans starting from $25 per user per month going up to $300. Salesforce has the following sales plans.

  1. Starter Plan $25 per user per month, includes chat tools, internal knowledge for collaboration, and a help center for customer support.
  2. Professional Plan $75 per user per month has all the features in the basic plan, along with reporting and analytics tools. The professional plan also has customizable sales pipelines for sales teams.
  3. Enterprise Plan $150 per user per month, has all starter and professional plan features, additional salesforce integration with other cloud offerings, and AI usage for predictive insights.
  4. Unlimited Plan $300 per user per month is the most comprehensive plan with all enterprise plan features and unlimited access to salesforce features and capabilities.
  5. Einstein 1 Sales Plan $500 per user per month, is the best one for third-party integrations for unlimited users. This plan has file and data storage of 10GB + Additional storage per license.

For businesses that require advanced automation and marketing capabilities, Salesforce also has add-ons, such as Marketing Cloud Account Management, starting at $1250 per month.

Salesforce Pricing Plans

Salesforce vs Zendesk: Analytics tool

Analytics are an important part of CRM platforms for getting insights into customer interactions, sales performance, and various business metrics. Zendesk and Salesforce offer different analytical tools integrated into the system to help businesses perform smooth analyses.

Zendesk Analytics

Zendesk's strength lies in its user-friendly interface that helps CRM users monitor customer experiences and convert data into actionable reports. The analytics of Zendesk mainly focuses on performance forecasts based on historical data, ticketing assistance, tailored customer care, and sales dashboards.

The sales dashboard offers real-time insights into sales performance and key metrics that motivate the sales teams to make informed decisions and drive revenue growth. It also enables businesses to make sales projections accurately and helps teams set realistic targets.

Customer Care analytics are a significant part of Zendesk's analytics, allowing customers a seamless experience. It provides businesses with insights into customer interaction and helps them identify areas of improvement concerning customer care.

Zendesk Analytics

Salesforce Service Cloud Analytics

Salesforce has a more comprehensive approach when it comes to analytics. Salesforce leverages its AI-based platform to enable businesses to make informed decisions, gain valuable insights, and automate repetitive tasks.

Einstein AI integration in the Salesforce system gathers insights from the consumer lifecycle and uses this accumulated data to make strategic decisions. This integration focuses on customer care and enhances sales and marketing efforts.

Customer engagement is enhanced by creating rich customer profiles, tracking campaign performance, and recording conversion rates. It also has the capability to predict sales trends, allowing the sales team to capture leads and opportunities.

Salesforce Analytics

Businesses need to select a platform based on their business needs, as Zendesk provides user-friendly insights that are easier to understand and focus on customer care, while Salesforce provides an in-depth analysis for monitoring sales and forecasts.

Salesforce vs Zendesk: Third-Party Integrations

Salesforce and Zendesk offer seamless integration with third-party apps and technologies to enhance their functionality. Zendesk has a robust system of 1000 integrations; it makes sure to integrate seamlessly with communication tools, productivity apps, and analytical platforms so that users can customize the CRM solutions according to their business needs.

As a top CRM platform in the market, salesforce provides various integrations across various categories, including automation, communication, and analytics. Salesforce does not have an in-built voice system, so it has to rely on third-party vendors to utilize the voice function. This integration may also hinder a smooth customer's experience or be a concern for customer's safety.

However, integrations are important for both platforms to provide tailored solutions to businesses. Many of these integrations only contribute to flexibility and control over the client data, eventually contributing to business growth.

Salesforce Sales Cloud vs. Zendesk Sell CRM

When it comes to comparing Salesforce and Zendesk Sell, it can clearly be seen that both are robust sales CRM software with aims to enhance productivity, improve pipeline visibility for the sales team, and streamline overall processes for the business.

Salesforce Features

Salesforce Sales Cloud empowers sales teams by guiding them through the selling process using AI-powered insights. It offers advanced sales automation capabilities that enable the team to close deals with clients faster. Salesforce Sales Cloud predicts future sales accurately and seamlessly, making the entire sales process progress.

On the other hand, Zendesk Sell focuses on eliminating friction in the sales process. It provides sales teams with intuitive tools for sales automation that set the foundations for revenue growth. Zendesk also incorporates AI in its sales software, enabling pipeline management and a foundation for faster growth.

Make the Right CRM Platform Choice

We have discussed everything about Zendesk and Salesforce in detail, and now is the time to choose the right platform for your business. There is no doubt that both platforms offer up-to-date Customer Relationship Management solutions for business growth, but each one of them has its own uniqueness, which we have discussed so far.

Salesforce, CRM Platform

The choice of CRM platform solely depends on your business nature and the type of services you want to avail yourself of. You can either weigh the pros and cons depending on your business context using the information provided above and go for the CRM tool selection, or we will also help you make the right choice.

Zendesk is better because of its user-friendly interface, so if your business is a startup without people with expertise in CRM software, you should definitely go for Zendesk. The design is modern, the features are highly responsive, and even users with no CRM experience can navigate its features.

There is predictable logic to operating Zendesk; the tasks and tabs are clearly defined, making it much easier for agents to use this platform. Zendesk is highly recommended for small businesses mainly for two reasons: one, you will not need an expert to operate it, and two, it is a budget-friendly option, which is usually a constraint for small businesses.

On the other hand, when you open Salesforce, you will initially get overwhelmed because the interface is much harder to navigate. Moreover, the Salesforce dashboard has plenty of stuff you will not need frequently or ever in some cases. Having so many features sitting there on your dashboard hinders regular easy access.

There are a lot of happy Salesforce users out there, but you definitely need to have your hands on a CRM platform before you start using Salesforce. Setting up the platform is also a complicated task that requires an expert, as it requires a lot of technical expertise. There is no denying that Salesforce gives access to comprehensive features that Zendesk may lack, so you should opt for Salesforce if you are an enterprise dealing with many customers for an integrated experience.

Zendesk, a user-friendly CRM software

Summing Up

In conclusion, the comparison between Salesforce and Zendesk has highlighted each CRM platform's strengths and differences. Both platforms have unique offerings with the vision of providing businesses a smooth and seamless experience while fostering customer interactions. They have also enabled businesses to automate various processes through the integration of AI. Thus, the right choice of CRM software, in other words, is the choice for the right business growth driver. 

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