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3 hidden costs of Freshdesk: Why low license fees can be deceptive

By Omead Kavishi, Product Marketing Manager

Published September 15, 2020
Last updated October 1, 2020

When choosing a customer service solution, there are many factors to consider, and let’s face it — cost is high among them. Freshdesk says you’re saving money on their low license costs, which is a part of the total cost of ownership, but there are big trade offs to know about. Here are the top three things you should consider.

1: Freshdesk’s spotty reliability can tarnish your brand

Your customers and your support teams depend on your software to work for them. So when it’s not reliable, it can cost you time and money. Dropped chats and calls lead to frustrated customers and agents. According to the Zendesk Customer Experience Trends Report, roughly half of customers say they would switch to a competitor after just one bad experience. That number snowballs to 80% after more than one. So, failing to meet your customer’s needs can come at a high cost.

Zendesk is built to be reliable
Our customers, like Airbnb, Slack, Zoom, and Shopify, have a wide variety of sophisticated support needs. Having a reliable solution means you don’t have to spend valuable time worrying about software issues and dropped calls. Instead of investing resources in fixing reliability problems, you can focus on your customers and your business. And that gives you the ability to provide a better customer experience.

Monese had reliability challenges with Freshdesk, a major reason for their switch to Zendesk

The fintech company provides a banking app that makes it easier to get settled in a new country. And banking from anywhere requires customer service everywhere. When the company was just getting started, it used Freshdesk to handle voice and email contacts. But it quickly became clear that the company needed to centralize contacts into a single solution. Freshdesk’s spotty voice service, combined with other integration issues, left Monese unsatisfied.

“We were having some difficulties with the Freshdesk call side,” explained Lauri Haav, Monese’s head of Customer Loyalty. “We had massive problems with call drops, mixed calls — calls would just mysteriously disappear, never actually reaching the agents. The Freshdesk voice product wasn’t good enough for us.” —Lauri Haav, Monese’s head of Customer Loyalty

After switching to Zendesk, Monese saw its CSAT increase by 10 percentage points, and its overall response time decrease by 59 percent.

2. Freshdesk’s agent interface is inefficient and creates poor CX

In Freshdesk, agents have to toggle between multiple browser tabs and applications to access what they need to resolve issues, creating a “swivel-chair” experience.

On top of that, in Freshdesk, agents have to learn three different interfaces for omnichannel service: Freshdesk for email and web submissions, Freshchat for chat and social messaging, and Freshcaller for telephony. All those systems take more time from your team - time that could instead be spent creating great customer experiences.

With different customer profiles across Freshdesk, Freshchat and Freshcaller, agents have to hunt for what they need to help customers, leading to confusion and frustration, and longer reply times and resolutions times for customers and agents alike. And when customers aren’t happy with your service, they aren’t likely to keep doing business with you. That’s a hidden cost that can compound rapidly over time.

Zendesk gives your agents all the tools they need in one seamless interface
With Zendesk, everything is one place. Instead of having to use multiple tabs and apps, we give your agents a unified customer view with ticket fields, macros, sidebar apps, and more. We bring it all together in one customer profile, with a history of communications between your company and the customer for the agent, no matter the channel. This gives agents the context they need to personalize each customer’s experience.

And Zendesk cuts down on training time, too. Instead of learning multiple systems, Zendesk agents only need to train on one omnichannel interface that’s loaded with one set of customer data and tools. Having the same tools and customer profile, regardless of channel, allows your agents to focus on servicing the customer, instead of scrambling for tools and data across various applications. As a result, agents are able to respond faster to customers and resolve issues more quickly, resulting in a better CX.

Showpo switched to Zendesk because Freshdesk’s multiple interfaces were frustrating.

The fashion retailer found that achieving and maintaining fast resolution times was difficult with Freshdesk. Showpo struggled to offer timely and effective service with Freshdesk, due to its heavily fragmented and disjointed agent experience. Agents often wasted time scrambling for tools and data across a multitude of browser tabs, resulting in longer reply and resolution times, and a poor CX.

“When we were on Freshdesk, an agent would have eight, nine, ten different tabs open—DHL, Australia Post, Magento, all these different tabs,” Waddy said. “Our goal is to integrate those into Zendesk.”- Paul Waddy, Head of Operations

After switching to Zendesk, Showpo was able to integrate everything into one unified omnichannel agent experience, resulting in massive efficiency gains. For example, Showpo’s agents now answer chats within 26 seconds, 4 seconds faster than their original KPI.

3: Freshdesk’s one-size-fits-all reporting doesn’t give you the deep insights you need to optimize your business.

More and more, businesses are setting themselves apart with great customer experiences. In order to create a unique and outstanding customer experience, you need to be able to dig deeper into your data to make better decisions and optimize. If you don’t have the necessary insight to differentiate with your customer experience, chances are, customers won’t see the benefit of doing business with you and they’ll likely leave for a competitor.

Zendesk’s advanced reporting capabilities help you harness your customer data

Our customers say they love our superb out-of-the-box analytic capabilities, because better insights helps them make better business decisions. With Zendesk, you'll have the data you need to identify trends quickly and make better decisions to optimize your operations:

  • Unified reporting on all channels across the platform in one consolidated analytics tool
  • Create custom metrics\ unique to your business for better decision-making
  • Visualization capabilities like easy-to-use reports and dashboards help you quickly identify what’s working and what isn’t so you can change course
  • Data discovery means you don’t have to export to excel spreadsheets and manually dig through data, saving you time and effort

A great example of this is Zendesk’s First Reply Time Heatmap. In a matter of minutes, you can build a report that combines 2 datasets (FRT by hour of the day and FRT day of the week) in a compelling visualization that’s easily digestible, allowing you to quickly identify when to staff more or less agents and/or optimize processes to improve reply times.

Try building the same or similar report in Freshdesk. Spoiler alert: you can’t!

Thinkific had to manually track agent productivity in a spreadsheet with Freshdesk - which was counterproductive.

On top of that, the company discovered Freshdesk, had reporting, reliability, and search functionality limitations that were causing widespread agent frustration. Agents had to use an interface so glitchy, they often had to clear the browser cache, leading to lost time and lower productivity.

“Not too long ago, agent productivity tracking at Thinkific involved manually loading response times into a spreadsheet… ‘[Zendesk] Explore has been awesome from a reporting standpoint. We have so much of what we need available for us to be able to build reports.’”
- Project Manager, Katerina Graham

After switching to Zendesk, Thinkific calculated the return on investment (ROI) by determining that agents could resolve 2.5 more tickets per day, which translates to one less headcount.

Look at all the costs associated with Freshdesk

The tradeoffs of choosing a customer service solution that promises “low license costs” can have a huge impact on your business. Although Freshdesk promises low cost, license cost alone doesn’t encompass the total cost of ownership. As you incur costs with Freshdesk because of nascent infrastructure, fragmented interface, and far too basic reporting, the “savings” on licensing begin to evaporate. Make sure you know all of the hidden costs - and learn what you might be missing out on.