Freshdesk vs. SolarWinds Web Help Desk Comparison

By Staff Contributor on May 25, 2020

Help desk software is essential for companies of all sizes and types who plan to address end-user IT issues. Having an automated solution reduces the manual effort around tracking tickets, keeping an updated inventory, and otherwise handling IT service management (ITSM) functions.

With so many help desk options on the market, it can be challenging to find the right one for your business. This comparison guide will help take a closer look at two popular solutions, Freshworks Freshdesk at the Estate Plan level and SolarWinds® Web Help Desk®.

Freshdesk Overview

Freshdesk is a cloud-based help desk solution from Freshworks, with a focus on managing the communication between IT teams and business end users. This is an omnichannel solution, providing support via phone, email, chat, and social media.

Freshdesk core functionalities include:

  • Ticket management, including email ticketing and trend reports as well as routing and escalation of tickets
  • Team collaboration, so team members in all areas of the company can work together on a resolution
  • Knowledge management, through the self-service knowledge base interface
  • Service level agreement (SLA) management
  • Customer satisfaction surveys
  • Options for customization
  • A multilingual knowledge base, which promotes self-resolution

Freshdesk pricing is by level and by the number of agents. Payment can be either monthly or annual. Freshdesk comes with a 21-day free trial.

SolarWinds Web Help Desk Overview

Web Help Desk (WHD) is a web-based help desk and IT asset management solution provided by SolarWinds. WHD is an on-premises solution with an intuitive design to help businesses streamline their processes and become more efficient through automation. While WHD isn’t typically cloud-based (although an AWS version is available), once the software is installed, end users can access it from a browser.

Unlike some other software solutions, WHD doesn’t require additional buy-in for higher-level features. All features are available, including the following:

  • Ticket management, including simple creation, plus automated routing and escalation
  • IT asset management, with the ability to automatically discover software and hardware assets
  • Knowledge management, which promotes self-resolution through a searchable and user-friendly knowledge base
  • Team collaboration with the ability to integrate team tasks into the workflow
  • ITSM functionality including SLA tracking, change management, and project management
  • Customer surveys
  • Customization

Unlike Freshdesk, WHD has one level of service.  Pricing is based on the number of agents. SolarWinds offers a commitment-free, 14-day free trial.

Freshdesk vs. Web Help Desk Features

For a more in-depth comparison of the features, it helps to examine different critical aspects of functionality:

Help Desk Features

Freshdesk (Estate plan) and WHD provide robust help desk functionality.  When it comes to basic help desk functionality, the two offerings include many of the same features, such as:

  • Converting emails directly into tickets
  • Creating parent-child relationships between tickets to streamline issue resolution
  • Automating ticket assignment
  • Identifying deadlines for ticket resolutions with SLA management, including alerting agents when a ticket is approaching an SLA breach
  • Managing tickets with a mobile app, so agents can monitor and update critical issues from any location
  • Providing access to an AI-based knowledge base
  • Offering customer surveys to get feedback on customer satisfaction

Beyond those key features, there are a number of features that serve to differentiate Freshdesk and WHD.

When it comes to Freshdesk, one of the highlights of the tool is that is offers  multi-channel support. In addition to turning emails into tickets like WHD, Freshdesk can also:

  • Record phone calls and turn them into tickets
  • Raise tickets from the website
  • Integrate with social media to create tickets
  • Engage with customers via chat
  • Support multiple geographies through a multilingual knowledge base and the ability to accommodate multiple time zones with different SLAs

WHD really distinguishes itself when it comes to its ability to give agents a more comprehensive view into their organization’s assets and their history. Additional functionalities in WHD are designed to help ensure tickets are resolved on time. These features include:

  • Alerts through email and SMS for tickets needing attention
  • Workflows for escalation and de-escalation, which can be customized to meet business needs
  • Automated rules for managing tasks between departments
  • The ability to associate tickets with specific IT assets, which allows teams to view the history of issues and requests for particular assets

Customer Service Features

Both solutions also offer features to assist with customer service. For instance, Freshdesk and WHD provide an AI-based knowledge base where customers can search for a solution on their own before raising a ticket. As issues come up, customers and technicians alike can consult the knowledge base for a solution, or technicians can add successful use cases to the knowledge base for future use.

Customer surveys also provide the IT teams with insight into how the end user perceives the service. These surveys can be configured to go out when an issue is resolved, to get feedback while the incident is still top of mind for the customer.

ITSM Features

Both Freshdesk and WHD support ITSM processes, although the SolarWinds product takes this a few steps further. As mentioned above, both tools support SLA management, knowledge management, and ticket management. In addition, both offer project management, which can help simplify reoccurring tasks, such as onboarding new employees or launching new IT projects.

SolarWinds offers further ITSM functionality. Businesses can use WHD’s automated asset discovery feature to build their inventory. IT teams can then manage their inventory more easily, while agents have the ability to link assets to tickets. Additionally, agents have the ability to link assets to tickets so that they can see the complete ticket history for a particular asset.

Unlike Freshdesk, WHD also supports change management with automated workflows to approve change requests. These workflows can be customized to have a single approval level or multiple approval levels.

Analytics Features

Finally, both solutions have dashboards and reports to assist with analysis. Dashboards give visibility into the real-time status of tickets and highlight any trends.

Both Freshdesk and WHD offer reporting capabilities including:

  • Out-of-the-box reports for basic ticket information
  • Trend reports
  • Performance reports to monitor the IT team and identify areas of improvement
  • Customer satisfaction reports giving insight into how happy the customers are
  • Customized reports to meet specific business needs

Reports can also be scheduled, so they automatically arrive in your inbox.

Choosing Between Web Help Desk and Freshdesk

When choosing the right help desk software, you need to consider all your business needs and the pricing.

Freshdesk is a good solution, especially if you’re looking for basic help desk functionality and if you want a cloud-based solution.

If you need a solution with both help desk and IT asset management functionality, SolarWinds Web Help Desk is an excellent option. As on-premises software, it also offers the benefit of a single, comprehensive level of service that can support you even as your business grows. With WHD, there’s no need to figure out which added features you need for higher-level functionality—it’s all included in the unified dashboard.

Whatever software you choose, your IT team will be more efficient and provide better service with the help of an automated solution.

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