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Salesforce Service Cloud vs Zendesk Comparison 2021

by Arthur Zuckerman

In today’s business-standard, all have come to accept the fact that solid customer support is essential to company growth and stability. Top tech giants even consider customer support as an investment and not a cost. With research that revealed that American companies lose $83 billion annually due to bad customer service, the demand for customer service software peaked.

Salesforce Service Cloud and Zendesk are two of the leading players in the customer service software industry. This Salesforce Service Cloud vs Zendesk comparison article will elaborate on the differences between the two platforms. This article is for users who are opting to choose between the two. For further research to help you learn more about the best help desk for you, do check out our curated list of today’s leading support software.

What do users say about Salesforce Service Cloud and Zendesk?

Salesforce Service Cloud and Zendesk are recipients of many of positive reviews from satisfied users. Salesforce Service Cloud users laud at its superb analytics and mobile accessibility. On the other hand, Zendesk users appreciate how user-friendly and productivity-boosting the customer service software is.

About Salesforce Service Cloud

Salesforce Service Cloud has been in the business of providing tools and features from customer service since 2009. It was launched as the customer support aggregate of the Salesforce marketing suite. It provides a holistic approach to customer support as apart from talk, chat, and email tools, it offers tools for the complete profiling of customers.

Pro – Provides total customer profiles for marketing and analytics utilization.

Con – On the pricey side.

About Zendesk

Zendesk was introduced in the market in 2007. It streamlined customer service as it can take on multichannel concerns from users. All inquiries and concerns, may it be a phone call from Facebook, Twitter, or via email, are seen in one centralized hub.  Zendesk is known for its stellar ticketing system.

Pro – User-friendly and not confusing to non-technical users.

Con – Fewer tools for reporting and analytics.

Points of Comparison

A neutral Salesforce Service Cloud vs Zendesk comparison article will only need to consider the following factors: pricing, ease of use, key features, configuration, and customer support. Through these factors, it will be easier for users to determine which customer service software is best for them.

1. Pricing

How much are you willing to spend on customer service software? As both platforms can secure customer loyalty and increase in captured leads, their offered tools come for a fee.

Salesforce Service Cloud offers four paid plans to its users: Essentials, Professional, Enterprise, and Unlimited. Essentials is its lowest-priced plan that goes for $25/per user/month. If you have a business and you have ten business representatives, Salesforce Service Cloud’s lowest plan will cost you $250/month. Omnichannel access is provided for a separate fee.

Zendesk is the more affordable option as its lowest-priced plan can go for $5/per user/per month. It offers three paid plans that vary when it comes to the nature of services offered: Support, Sales, and Platform. If you have ten business representatives and you’d opt for Zendesk, you’d only spend $50/month. All Zendesk plans have access to an omnichannel hub.

Both Salesforce Service Cloud and Zendesk offers a free trial.

2. Ease of Use

Ease of use is essential because customer support requires the meticulous administration, management, and gathering of customer information and data by the minute. Customer service software is a problem-solving tool that needs to be executed and operated in the easiest ways possible.

Salesforce Service Cloud has an outdated user interface that can be confusing and overwhelming to first-time users. Zendesk on the other hand has an intuitive and clean interface design.

Using Salesforce Service Cloud takes a lot of getting used to. Built-in wizards and guides are available in Salesforce Service Cloud but Zendesk’s clean and simple design really takes home the bacon when it comes to ease of use.

3. Key Features

Both platforms are the best of the best when it comes to providing overall toolsets for customer service.  They provide the standard service required of customer support software. This list of customer service software will give you an idea as to how and why the two platforms lead the pack.

Sales and marketing

Salesforce Service Cloud is the creation of a marketing software giant. All tools and features have marketing and sales imprint that helps users capture more leads through advanced analytics. Hence, its key support feature ultimately makes it an outstanding customer support software is its tool for customer profiling.

This tool allows users to gather massive marketing data for every customer interaction. All info is recorded and utilized for future concerns and marketing purposes. The proactive utilization of analytics is how Salesforce became a tech giant. For maximum efficiency, Salesforce Service Cloud also provided tools for collaboration and customer self-service.

Easy-to-use interface

Zendesk tools are remarkable for their simplicity. Its stellar feature is that of its dynamic ticketing function.  Users have numerous options on how to streamline the handling of tickets and customer concerns. Issues and customers can be assigned manually and automatically. Numerous automation tools can be set for the automatic handling of customer concerns. Zendesk perfected the use of triggers.

Through automation and triggers, customers can always expect that they’d be handled by the most efficient, skilled, and experienced agent in the fastest way possible. Although Zendesk does not offer as many AI tools if be compare to Salesforce Service Cloud, total workflow manipulation can be had. Zendesk also offers real-time notification tools making it ideal for SMBs with limited manpower.


When it comes to integration, Zendesk can integrate with a lesser number of apps. Zendesk can only integrate with 677 third-party apps while Salesforce Service Cloud can integrate with 5,000 third-party apps. For further research on key trending features when it comes to customer service software, please check this article.

4. Configuration

The configuration will be a concern if a business does not have a dedicated department. As we want to be fair in this Salesforce Service Cloud vs Zendesk comparison article, we’re going to consider a business with no dedicated IT department.

If you run a business and you have no dedicated IT department, Zendesk will be ideal for you as it is very easy to set-up. Upon log, agents and team leaders can directly work with no initial setup required.

On the other hand, using Salesforce Service Cloud cannot be used upon a log. Parameters and protocols must be set before use. Individuals with no technical experience will be easily scared and intimidated. Of course, the configuration will not be a problem if you run a business with separate IT support. Salesforce Service Cloud also offers support but the fact that users need particular skills to have it run makes Zendesk the better option when it comes to ease in the configuration.

5. Support

Yes, customer support is definitely important to customer service software users. Customer service software handles heavy traffic on a daily basis and users need to be secured that support will be provided in an instant should delay, lags and data discrepancies take place.

Both platforms have structured support protocols for users. However, Zendesk is significantly better as it offers 24/7 support. Salesforce Service Cloud has a two-day response time as standard to non-urgent concerns.

What is the best customer service software for you?

To help you to fully intelligently choose between Salesforce Service Cloud and Zendesk, please take note of the following:

  • Zendesk is best for you if you run a business with a limited budget.
  • Zendesk is best for you if you prioritize omnichannel access when it comes to providing support.
  • Zendesk is best for you if you have no prior technical experience as its interface is intuitive and user-friendly.
  • Zendesk is best for you if you have no dedicated IT department to configure the initial software setup for all users.
  • Salesforce Service Cloud is best for you if you want to incorporate lead capturing into your customer support system.
  • Salesforce Service Cloud is best for you if your workflow incorporates numerous integrations with third-party apps.
  • Salesforce Service Cloud is best for you if you’re after the utilization of advanced analytics when it comes to customer support.
  • Salesforce Service Cloud is best for you if you have a dedicated IT department that can take on initial configuration tasks for optimum work ease and customization.

It is apparent that Zendesk should be your customer service software of choice if you run a small business on a limited budget. It fully zones in on support tools that small businesses will reap benefits from on the financial and efficient side of things.

On the other hand, Salesforce Service Cloud should be your choice if you run an enterprise and can spend good money on combined tools for customer support, marketing, and lead capture. Know your budget, your needs, and your priorities. If you’re after customer support alone, go for Zendesk. But if you want to go beyond customer support, Salesforce Service Cloud should definitely be your choice.

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