Zendesk: SaaS Help Desk

Danish startup Zendesk is a SaaS delivered help desk solution that provides a backend service for small to medium sized help desks. It’s been designed from the ground up as a pure play help desk solution and so it has features specifically for this use.

Like other SaaS offerings, Zendesk offers significant cost savings when compared to its more traditional installed competitors.

Zendesk is remarkably easy to set up. Being SaaS based there is no installation required, it is available on one easy monthly subscription and all hosting and upgrades are handled for users. I set up a trial help desk in literally a few minutes. In keeping with this week’s theme, Zendesk is iPhone ready.

How it works

Zendesk is aimed to be used by call takers at the same time as they’re talking to their clients – because of this it seems that they’ve taken lots of time to think about simplifying the user-interface. They make good use of a very simple Ajax user interface and have also included tagging on cases to allow for quick and easy problem classification and searching.

Zendesk has also made good use of API’s and can be integrated with other web offerings (campfire, MS Active directory, CRM etc) as well as providing for e-mail integration.

Primarily Zendesk uses tickets as the work stream. A call generates a ticket which can be updated, tagged, searched and resolved all via the web interface. Some features of there offering include;

  • Fully customisable tickets
  • RSS feeds for both tickets and views
  • Tagging of all helpdesk attributes
  • Self-service portal for help desk users
  • Tickets are email integrated
  • Built in SLA tracking
  • Resolved tickets can be automatically converted into solutions and added to the solution database

This last feature creates a great self-learning solution centre that, with time, results in a much quicker and more efficient support experience for users.


The basic offering, for up to 50 end-users and one agent, is free. From there on Zendesk offers tiered solutions with their premium plan offering unlimited end-users and up to 25 agents costing $349 per month. Like other SaaS products Zendesk is a pay-as-you-go service with no contracts, sign-up or termination fees. Below is a feature highlight video from Zendesk

ReadWriteWeb giveaway

Zendesk’s name is a play on the fact that help desk situations can sometimes get a little intense. Zendesk are trying to bring the spirit of serenity to this normally stressful environment. As a bonus for ReadWriteWeb readers, they’re giving away 10 of their Zendesk Buddha machines to the first 10 people who email this address.

A guest post by Ben Kepes of diversity.net.nz, a blog that focuses on SaaS, cloud-computing and Web 2.0 for the real world.

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