Best Live Chat Software 2021

Zendesk Chat vs. Freshchat

Is Zendesk Chat or Freshchat the better solution for you? This in-depth, feature-by-feature breakdown will help you select the best live chat tool to support your company’s customer engagement efforts.

Live chat software is used by organizations of all types to connect with website visitors in real time. Many live chat softwares combine chat features with marketing features like email campaigns and website pop-ups to further engage visitors.

Zendesk Chat and Freshchat are two widely-used solutions in a live chat market with many options. Throughout this guide, we’ll describe key differences between Zendesk Chat and Freshchat and help simplify your decision.

Zendesk Chat & Freshchat Comparison Summary

Zendesk Chat and Freshchat are two popular live chat solutions. Both solutions are offered by parent companies—Zendesk and Freshworks—that have broad suites of additional software products. They earned the same rating in our live chat category analysis due to the similar levels of functionality and value. The main difference between the two is that while they are priced equivalently, Freshchat offers more functionality per pricing tier. However, it’s worth looking more deeply into the solutions to determine if Zendesk’s unique features are particularly valuable for you.

Zendesk Chat is a solution that offers a reliable, painless live chat experience. Features like a live visitor monitor and a real-time dashboard enable customer support teams to proactively monitor and engage with website visitors. It’ll be an ideal choice if you already use Zendesk products because syncing and coordinating the various tools will be simple.

Freshchat, on the other hand, has a more robust free plan and objectively offers more features in their basic plan than Zendesk Chat does in theirs. It’s slightly more expensive than Zendesk Chat, and will be a more streamlined choice if you already use other Freshworks products.

Here’s a quick breakdown to determine which solution is best for you:

You'll prefer Zendesk Chat if:

  • You’re interested in a live visitor monitoring tool
  • You don’t require email marketing features
  • Your company already utilizes other Zendesk products

Try Zendesk Chat Today

You'll prefer Freshchat if:

  • You want more advanced chat and email campaigns
  • You’re looking to make use of a free plan with 100 seats
  • You already use other Freshworks products

Try Freshchat Today

Table of Contents

Who Should Purchase Zendesk Chat?

Customers who already use Zendesk products will likely find this tool beneficial in that they already know the Zendesk systems. Small teams will find this helpful because it’s easy to use, while larger teams that want to actively monitor and engage with site visitors will like the features that enable such actions. If you’re searching for an all-in-one messaging and marketing tool, Zendesk Chat will not serve that purpose due to the expensive chatbots and lack of email campaigns.

Our research revealed that some customers feel that more advanced messaging tools, like Drift, work faster than Zendesk Chat does. The biggest drawback we noted is that analytics and reporting truly only start in the Professional plan, meaning that those on the Lite and Team plans will not be able to analyze their performance metrics. In spite of this, the tool is remarkably easy to use and includes most necessary details to deliver an enhanced customer support experience.

Who Should Purchase Freshchat?

As we mentioned above, customers that already use Freshworks products will likely find Freshchat easy to implement and manage. Whether you’re a small, medium, or large team on the hunt for something free, Freshchat’s free plan is a winner because of its 100-agent limit and unlimited contacts. If you’re looking for chatbots, however, this is likely not for you because Freshchat’s chatbot, “Freddy,” is only available in the most expensive plan.

Customers have mentioned that customer support isn’t always able to solve issues in a timely manner. However, we found their agents to be very responsive over live chat.

Zendesk Chat & Freshchat Price Comparison

These two solutions are very comparable in terms of price. Zendesk Chat pricing ranges from $19 per agent per month to $70 per agent per month across three paid plans, while Freshchat pricing ranges from $19 per agent per month to $99 per agent per month across four plans. Both solutions have a free plan. We found that Freshchat’s free plan has much more value due to higher agent limits and more detailed features. A breakdown of each solution’s plans is below.

Zendesk Chat Pricing Details

Zendesk Chat has a free plan and three paid plans. While pricing ranges from $19 per agent to $70 per agent per month, there are discounts if you have an annual subscription.

  • Free and includes one agent
  • One concurrent chat and 30-day chat history
  • $19 per agent per month
  • Includes email support and file sending
  • $35 per agent per month
  • Includes chat routing and analytics
  • $70 per agent per month
  • Includes 24/7 chat support and real-time monitor

Freshchat Pricing Details

Across four paid plans, Freshchat pricing ranges from $19 to $99 per agent per month. Just as with Zendesk Chat, there’s a monthly discount if you sign up for an annual plan.

  • Free for 100 seats
  • Includes Freshdesk integration
  • $19 per agent per month
  • Includes file sharing and canned responses
  • $29 per agent per month
  • Includes team performance reports
  • $59 per agent per month
  • Includes co-browsing and live translate
  • $99 per agent per month
  • Includes chatbots and chatbot analytics

Feature Comparison

To determine the right choice for you, we recommend evaluating the specific features included in the plans of both solutions. Here’s an overview of the features included in comparable plans for both companies:

PlanZendesk FeaturesFreshchat Features
Free Plan
  • One agent
  • One concurrent chat
  • Chat ratings
  • Pre-chat forms
  • 30-day chat history
  • Visitor list
  • Widget customization
  • 100 agents
  • Freshdesk integration
  • Conversation labels
  • User properties
  • Desktop notifications
  • Wordpress integration
  • Topics (connects conversations to correct teams)
Second Tier
  • Email support
  • File sending
  • Chat transferring
  • Two triggered messages
  • High load dashboard
  • Canned responses
  • User segmentation
  • Freshsales and Freshmarketer integrations
  • FAQs
  • Basic dashboard
  • Private notes
Third Tier
  • Operating hours
  • Chat routing
  • Chat and agent reports
  • Conversion tracking
  • Unlimited triggered messages and departments
  • Team performance reports
  • Co-browsing
  • Live translate
  • Advanced dashboard
  • Roles and permissions
  • Business hours by group
  • Advanced dashboard and automations
Enterprise Plan
  • 24/7 live chat support
  • Roles and permissions
  • Remove Zendesk Chat widget branding
  • Real-time monitor
  • Chatbots
  • Chatbots
  • Chatbot analytics
  • User authentication
  • 400k Monthly Unique Visitors per agent

Zendesk Chat's Top Features

Zendesk Chat offers features like automatic translations, widget customization, and a live visitor monitor. Below are the key features, along with images of the interface, so you can see what the tool looks like.

Live Chat

The Zendesk Chat live chat inbox and widget are shown below. The inbox is not as intuitive as the Freshchat inbox because, as seen in the screenshot, each chat comes up as a tab rather than being housed in a list-like inbox. However, it still works well and has all necessary features.

Zendesk Chat Inbox
Zendesk Chat Widget

Chat Transcripts

Zendesk Chat has detailed chat transcripts that can be drilled down into for all details of past chats. While the free plan only offers 60-day history, it’s still a helpful feature across all of Zendesk Chat’s plans.

Zendesk Chat Transcripts

Live Visitor Monitor

This is one of Zendesk Chat’s best features. The live visitor monitor will let you know the number of visitors on your site and give helpful details about each. In addition, you can proactively chat visitors from this section. It’s only available in the most expensive plan, but is still worth mentioning as a top feature.

Zendesk Chat Live Visitor Monitor

Freshchat's Top Features

Freshchat includes live chat, chat and email campaigns, and reporting. Just as with Zendesk Chat, we’ll briefly discuss these key features and provide images.

Live Chat

Freshchat’s message inbox is easier to work with than Zendesk Chat’s inbox. It also has a more modern appearance, which may appeal to certain businesses. The widget is also modern and visually appealing as well. During testing, we found the messages sent quickly and reliably.

Freshchat Inbox
Freshchat Widget

Chat and Email Campaigns

Freshchat has both chat and email campaigns, which can be sent with the advanced segmentation capabilities. Zendesk Chat doesn’t have email campaigns, so this tool would be more ideal for you if that’s a requirement. Freshchat allows you to send bulk emails (e.g. newsletters, general promotions), as well as triggered emails (e.g. abandoned cart emails, appointment reminders). Below are the four email options you can choose from:

  • Announcement
  • Company
  • Personal
  • Plain


Freshchat’s reporting section breaks metrics down into graphs and lists. There are five broad categories that are reported on, which are Agent Availability, Conversation Labels, Conversation Overview, Customer Satisfaction, and Team Performance.

Freshchat Productivity Report

Bottom Line

Both Zendesk Chat and Freshchat are live chat tools offered by large companies with a suite of software products. The main difference between them is that Freshchat offers richer features at each pricing tier. For example, Freshchat includes an email campaign tool, where Zendesk Chat does not.

  • Smaller teams that already use Zendesk products will benefit from the ease of use that Zendesk Chat provides.
  • Freshchat offers a much more robust free plan and we found that the plans overall offer more value for the money.

If you’re interested, visit Zendesk Chat or Freshchat today to get started.

Katelyn Anderson

Katelyn is a Junior Research Analyst at SoftwarePundit, where she conducts in-depth analyses of technology markets & products and writes software-related content. She graduated summa cum laude with degrees in English and Psychology. Her main areas of interest are content creation, user experience, and search engine optimization. You can connect with Katelyn on LinkedIn.

Katelyn is an expert in several software categories including:

  • Accounting software
  • Integration software
  • Live chat software
  • Vacation rental software
  • Video conferencing software

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