Salesforce Service Cloud vs Zendesk

Salesforce Service Cloud
With the Service Cloud you can meet customers wherever they are—including social networks such as Facebook and Twitter. Your agents also benefit from employee social networks that help them work together like never before. And because you get all the features a social contact center needs, your customers experience amazing service on any channel.
Zendesk is web-based help desk software with an elegant support ticket system & a self-service customer support platform. Agile, smart and convenient. Zendesk free open-source alternatives are osTicket, OTRS, Mantis
Comparing Salesforce Service Cloud vs Zendesk is like comparing apples to oranges. Because your business is unique and nobody except you can decide, which is better for your company. But we can add some fun to your research and suggest some new comparison parameters.

Let's start with videos. We think that Zendesk has better video than Salesforce Service Cloud

Ok, now let's compare the UI. Looks like Zendesk has more user-friendly interface than Salesforce Service Cloud because it's bigger. At least on our screenshots

To compare the popularity of the solutions we counted how many alternatives people search for each of them on the Internet. And it turns out that Zendesk is more popular than Salesforce Service Cloud

Now let's look at the recent activities of our competitors:

- Salesforce adds messaging to Service Cloud (in 2016)
- Zendesk expands beyond the help desk (in 2016)
- Zendesk introduced Zendesk Message (in 2016)
- Salesforce Service Cloud adds new field service product (in 2016)
- Zendesk acquired Business Intelligence service BIME Analytics (in 2015)
- Salesforce released its next generation Service Cloud (in 2015)
- New Zendesk Voice raises the bar for phone support (in 2014)
- Salesforce to add video support and new interface (in 2014)
- Zendesk adds business intelligence tool (in 2014)
- Zendesk and HootSuite will help to survive in case of Zombie apocalypse (in 2013)

Looks like Zendesk was recently more active than Salesforce Service Cloud (at least in our news). We also found some news, in which Salesforce Service Cloud and Zendesk meet head to head:

2015 - Zendesk acquired Business Intelligence service BIME Analytics. Salesforce Service Cloud is in panic

Customer support giant Zendesk has acquired BIME Analytics for $45 million. BIME Analytics is a business intelligence startup with a software-as-a-service approach. It turns data from many different sources into trends and insights. The startup provides dozens of data connectors in order to aggregate data from multiple sources — Bigquery, CSV, Excel, Intercom, Google Analytics, Salesforce and more. You can name a data point for business intelligence purposes, and chances are BIME already supports it. Then you can create interactive dashboards, advanced visualizations or exploit the results using SQL queries. Everything is fast and distributed, you won’t have to manage servers to do these data manipulations.

2015 - Salesforce released its next generation Service Cloud to stand out over Zendesk

Salesforce is updating its Service Cloud, which caters to customer service agents and their managers. The company released its new Service Cloud Lightning Console and a new Service Wave Analytics App with the promise it would help customer service agents do their jobs better through improved experiences and analytics. It gives service teams “deeper, more actionable insights” that could help service agents and managers optimize channels, improve agent efficiency and spot or address emerging trends. It includes KPIs like average handling time, customer satisfaction and first call resolution and connects to Service Cloud workflows and records. Analytics dashboards from Service Wave can give service agents a 360 degree view of the customer. 

2011 - Salesforce Service Cloud 3 allows to help customers via live chat, Facebook, Twitter and Facetime . Beware Zendesk

The guys from Salesforce, that are engaged in developing Service Cloud, can't help repeating that traditional customer support systems (Call-centers + CRM / Helpdesk) - are already obsolete. They are built in expectation that a phone call is the primary communication channel that customers use to get support. But the world has changed. Customers want to solve their problems via the Internet - in Facebook, Twitter, forums. They want to talk to tech support via online chat or personal account at the company's website. They want to read what other users say about a product. They want to use video and screen-sharing, to show the problem to support engineer, rather than explain everything by phone. All these requirements are met in the new version of Service Cloud 3.

So, first, Service Cloud 3 now can talk via Facebook. Customer may open company's Facebook page and post a question. The Service Cloud will automatically create a ticket and the customer service agent can process it:  search for the solution in the Knowledge Base and discuss the issue with his colleagues via Chatter. And when he finds the solution - he posts reply in the Service Cloud interface and it appears in Facebook comments. The same integration with Twitter was implemented in Service Cloud 2. Moreover, Salesforce has introduced integration with Radian6 - the service, which enable such customer communicate in over 80 social networks.

Second, Service Cloud 3 has got a live chat tool - Salesforce Live Agent. This is the result of the Activa Live acquisition last fall. You can embed online chat to your website or Service Cloud customer community. Chat operator can quickly find customer profile with the history of orders and requests. In addition, operator can see what the client typing even before he presses Enter, so he can start searching for the solution faster.

Salesforce Service Cloud
And third, Service Cloud 3 has been integrated with Facetime. Now, customers using iPhone or iPad can contact support via video chat, to show what's not working and get an advice. Recall that recently Salesforce acquired the web-conferencing tool DimDim, so, probably soon it will add an inbuilt video chat and screen-sharing tool.

Salesforce Service Cloud
By the way, Salesforce also doesn't forget about the traditional telephone support. Service Cloud 3 adds a nice visual scripts for Call-center operators (script - is a wizard that guides the operator to ask questions and depending on the customer answer ask the following questions in order to find the solution).