HubSpot vs. Zendesk

Comparison guide of Service Hub versus Zendesk Help Desk

If you’re like many operations and customer service managers we’ve talked to, your current customer success software may not align with your team’s overarching mission. You may struggle with disjointed tech stacks, difficulty accessing data and insights, poor system tracking, and lost tickets, which lead to dissatisfied customers.

HubSpot Service Hub offers an exciting solution! It gives you the opportunity to move into an all-in-one platform with way more power than the typical service software today. 

But how can you be sure it has all the features and functionalities you need?

Let’s clear away your doubts by debunking top Service Hub misconceptions. We’ll also show you how Service Hub compares to other customer service platforms.


HubSpot vs. Zendesk:
Choosing a Customer Service Platform

Selecting the right customer service software is crucial for scaling businesses seeking to deliver exceptional experiences. Two popular solutions worth comparing are HubSpot Service Hub and Zendesk.

HubSpot gives you superpowers beyond just service — their all-in-one Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platform combines marketing, sales, service, and CMS tools on one connected system.
Service Hub is a core component, providing integrated ticketing, automation, and analytics to resolve issues and understand customers.

With AI-powered features and tight CRM alignment, HubSpot provides complete visibility and seamless handoffs across departments.


Zendesk is a service-focused solution. It’s specifically built for managing customer support through omnichannel request routing, ticketing, and analytics. 

It aims to enhance customer relationships, so it’s optimized for agents and customer communication via email, chat, social media, etc.






Which One’s Right for You?

While Zendesk offers specialized support, HubSpot brings the full package with end-to-end visibility through an integrated customer relationship management system, marketing, and sales. 


HubSpot provides an edge for businesses seeking a unified customer view and seamless cross-functional collaboration.


Torn between HubSpot or Zendesk?


Stop Believing These 8 HubSpot Myths

Despite what you may have heard, many common concerns about HubSpot Service Hub are outdated or simply untrue.


HubSpot has matured into a robust, enterprise-ready customer service platform capable of handling complex needs at scale. But, some stubborn misconceptions create unnecessary fear and doubt.


We’ll debunk the 8 biggest Service Hub myths around capability limitations, integrations, reporting, etc. Time to finally put those myths to rest!


1. Limited Channel Breadth



HubSpot Service Hub can’t scale with my team because it doesn’t have enough channels to support omnichannel messaging.

Our answer: Zendesk may be telling you these things (*cough cough*), and we’ll admit it would’ve been true two years ago. But today, we’re migrating service teams of hundreds to HubSpot without fear of hitting a ceiling. Why?

  • HubSpot supports multiple channels beyond email and forms, including calling, WhatsApp, Facebook, and a native website live chat function with chatbot and knowledge base systems integration.  

It’s also worth noting that HubSpot releases updates at an outstanding speed!


Just in January of this year, they sent out an 80-page recap to partners showcasing all the updates from December.

Service Hub customers see an average of 79%

fewer tickets created with the Knowledge Base activated.


(Hubspot Annual ROI Report)


2. More Expensive than Zendesk



HubSpot Service Hub will be much more expensive than Zendesk.

Our answer: Contrary to this myth, teams have been surprised at how much they can save (and gain!) by moving to HubSpot.

Here's why:

  • Zendesk requires paid licenses for all users. With HubSpot, you can get free access to view information.
  • Zendesk's limited organization for team permissions forces teams to use multiple service portals globally. HubSpot offers robust permissions and hierarchy to consolidate regions into one portal. This saves money and provides unified visibility.


3. No Knowledge Base Systems



HubSpot Service Hub doesn’t support the Knowledge Base functionalities I need to power self-service.

Our answer: This is again false! HubSpot’s knowledge base is intuitive and offers various user-friendly features:

  • Host multiple knowledge bases (enterprise tear)
  • Customize content visibility at an article level: Should it be public to everyone? Available to only a group of customers in your CRM? You can control it using curated HubSpot lists to manage access across multiple segments. 
  • Each article has a simple “helpful/not helpful” rating system to gauge customer satisfaction with your content.
  • Articles are integrated with the HubSpot chat support, which will serve up articles to your customers by matching keywords in their inquiries. Your team curbs the need for live chat by answering FAQs immediately. 
  • HubSpot dashboard provides insights into valuable information like the top pages visited, top keywords/phrases in inquiries, and inquiries without search results. Your team will know where to expand content to support customers better. 
  • An easy-to-use branding tool kit to give your articles a seamless look across your site. Plus, more features on design flexibility are coming in 2024! 


4. Limited Reporting Capabilities



HubSpot Service Hub doesn’t have the reports I need to power my service teams.

Our answer: Reporting is also incredibly powerful in HubSpot. It has a library of dozens of useful reports, which include: 

  • Average time of service tickets to close
  • Ticket volume trends and tickets closed by rep
  • Service-Level Agreement (SLA) adherence stats
  • Tickets by source trends

HubSpot also has an intuitive reports builder with drag-and-drop functionality (No queries! No spreadsheets!), saving your teams tons of time. 


Reporting dashboards are perfect for visualizing your data and can be customized for leadership, managers, and reps. 


If you want to automate reports, you can also send the dashboards via email at regular intervals to prevent leaders from having to log into the system to get results. 

Service Hub customers see an average increase of 324%

in tickets closed after 12 months.


(Hubspot Annual ROI Report)


5. Won't Support Shared Inbox Workflows



HubSpot Service Hub is a ticketing system. It isn’t going to support how your team typically works out of the shared inbox.

Our answer: Not true! HubSpot's Help Desk recreates the shared inbox experience while adding insights from your centralized CRM.

Rather than disrupt your team’s workflow, HubSpot Help Desk can improve it through these additional capabilities: 

  • Help Desk automatically organizes inquiries into separate views or inboxes (configured based on how your team would like to organize categories), creating tickets at the start of each message.
  • You decide how to route help desk tickets — either manually triage or automatically assign them to agents based on your preferences. You make the decisions based on your team’s needs!
  • The HubSpot Inbox also has optional ticket pipelines. These provide a high-level overview of where outstanding tickets are in multi-step processes.
  • Even better, HubSpot doesn’t force you into the typical “New, Open, Pending, On-Hold, Solved, and Closed.” You can define ticket statuses to fit your workflow.

See how HubSpot Service Hub Help Desk stacks up to Zendesk



6. Inadequate Automation Functions



HubSpot Service Hub can’t replace all of the automation I have in triggers and macros.

Our answer: On the contrary, native functionality (like changing ticket status based on rep or customer actions) or workflows can replace most of the task automation in triggers and macros.

  • HubSpot workflows are super powerful. They’re a mechanism in HubSpot built on a trigger and subsequent actions.
  • Unlike triggers, though, you can create complex automation in one workflow using if/then branches, powering multiple functions with one unified trigger 
  • Service Hub also automates email confirmations when tickets open and close, like any other tool.

Since HubSpot is an all-in-one customer service management system, you can also use workflows to carry over all information related to the help tickets (like contact, company, subscription, contract, or warranty). 


You get a true 360-degree view of the customer, driving more contextual conversations and better outcomes for customer service support.


7. No Custom Service-Level Agreement (SLA) Support



HubSpot Service Hub can’t support our SLA customizations.

Our answer: Yes, it can! HubSpot offers various ways to customize SLAs per ticket: 

  • You can apply SLAs during working hours or 24/7 (currently in beta for Help Desk).
  • You can apply the SLA based on priority or across all tickets.
  • You can set up a workflow to assign ticket priority based on various criteria, including the company tier, ticket category, etc.
  • Separate inboxes can have independent SLAs. If you have a specialized channel for your top-tier clients, those can go to an inbox with escalated SLAs.

Download our full Ticketing and
SLA Management Guide with Help Desk:

View Guide


8. Not Scalable for Call Centers



HubSpot Service Hub won’t work for call centers.

Our answer: We absolutely use HubSpot for high-volume call centers! 

While HubSpot doesn't yet have a native Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system (we expect more to come in 2024-2025), there are turnkey solutions:

  • You can natively integrate tools with the HubSpot Ticketing System to support all major call center functionality. We prefer:
    AirCall - It has an easy-to-use interface for IVR and call routing, can automatically create tickets from calls, supports SMS and texting, and has robust analytics
    Kixie - Similar to Aircall, Kixie is natively integrated with HubSpot and has all the same functionality.
    • Others like RingCentral and DialPad offer lighter integration. 
  • Are you already live on a different third-party tool? No problem. HubSpot’s robust API can integrate external tools, and you can easily import data, like messages and calls, into the HubSpot ecosystem.



Still got questions?



HubSpot vs Zendesk Side-by-Side



  • Web and app messaging, social media, telephony, SMS, email, and Apple Business Chat.

  • Can shift conversations between channels

  • Email, forms, calling, WhatsApp, and Facebook inbox

  • Native chat function with live chat, chatbot, and knowledge base integration.

  • Unified "Conversations" inbox consolidates all channels into one shared inbox with CRM context for personalized, omni-channel support.

Self-service and knowledge-base management

  • Basic hierarchies in the knowledge base

  • Limited AI guidance for content

  • A few levels to categorize help center articles

  • Customizable article visibility using CRM smart lists to control access

  • Simple article rating system to gauge value

  • Integration with a chatbot to automatically surface articles based on keywords

  • Reporting dashboard providing insights on usage, searches, etc., to optimize content

  • Branding toolkit for consistent styling across your site

Agent experience and service efficiency tools

  • Workspace to view multiple channels

  • Agents can customize views

  • Offers basic SLAs with some tracking

  • Unified inbox experience consolidates all channels into one shared view
  • Organized, threaded conversations enable tracking and reporting

  • Customizable agent workspace tailored to team needs

  • Robust SLA metrics and configurable workflows

    • Apply SLAs during business hours or 24/7 (24/7 in beta)

    • Set SLA by ticket priority or across all tickets

    • Use workflows to assign priority based on company tier, category, etc.

    • Vary SLAs by inbox, so your VIP channel has faster SLAs

AI and Bots

  • Light AI capabilities focused on chatbots

  • Can generate basic content ideas for marketing

  • Basic chatbot with prompts to build reports

  • ChatSpot helps you get actionable insights through conversational AI
  • Marketing Hub provides content generation, campaign personalization, and data analysis
  • HubSpot AI also:
    • Automates repetitive tasks and manual work to increase team productivity
    • Provides intelligent recommendations and insights uncovered from customer data
    • Draft, personalize, and optimize content using machine learning
    • Analyzes interactions and activity to predict customer needs and next best actions


  • Custom reporting, metrics, and views

  • Unified marketing dashboard to track performance and get campaign insights
  • Complete lifecycle reporting to analyze CRM data and uncover trends
  • Website analytics to understand visitor behavior and optimize experiences
  • Detailed asset-level reporting for emails, blogs, social, and more
  • Fully customizable surveys to gather in-depth customer feedback


  • Can integrate with HubSpot and a few other marketing tools

  • Partial CRM capabilities through add-ons

  • All-in-one CRM system encompassing sales, marketing, and service capabilities

  • Seamless two-way sync with leading systems like Salesforce, Jira, and Zendesk

Ready to start with HubSpot?



What Sets HubSpot Apart?

HubSpot offers some unique advantages that set it apart from competitors like Zendesk. Here are some of the features that give it an edge:


Integrated Systems


Service Hub is seamlessly integrated into HubSpot's AI-powered CRM platform. It provides a complete view of every customer interaction across marketing, sales, and service. 


Tools like Playbooks, Email Templates, Sequences, and Meetings increase collaboration between teams.


Companies get full context to deliver personalized experiences that strengthen engagement.


Zendesk focuses solely on service capabilities. Users need add-ons like Zendesk Sell to get visibility into other functions. HubSpot bakes this in through its all-in-one CRM.


Enhanced Productivity


The platform enhances productivity by consolidating tools, automating workflows, streamlining support ticket systems, and enabling self-service. Custom statuses, reporting, and analytics help optimize processes.


While Zendesk organizes teams and routes tickets, efficiency capabilities are more limited without additional apps and integrations. HubSpot provides robust productivity tools natively.


Authentic Engagement


Tools like Knowledge Base Systems, Omnichannel Messaging, Customer Portals, and Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) Surveys help HubSpot users create authentic engagement and loyalty.


Customers can conveniently self-serve answers via knowledge bases or reach support teams across channels like messaging and portals.


Zendesk offers basic engagement functionality like ticketing and surveys. But HubSpot goes further with built-in capabilities purpose-built to strengthen relationships.


The Verdict


When choosing between HubSpot Service Hub and Zendesk, consider your needs for an integrated platform versus specialized software. 


HubSpot brings the power of a unified CRM, seamless productivity, and authentic engagement. Zendesk focuses solely on enhanced service capabilities. 


For most businesses seeking complete customer visibility and cross-functional collaboration, HubSpot Service Hub is likely the better choice. With its robust features and tight integration, HubSpot empowers teams to deliver exceptional experiences.


Zendesk to HubSpot Case Study

Global Expansion, Local Excellence_ Dickeys BBQ Enhances Customer Experience with HubSpot  Service Hub-1


One company found itself at a crossroads, grappling with the limitations of their existing Zendesk platform. Plagued by data silos, a lack of GDPR features, restricted organizational options, inadequate reporting capabilities, and escalating costs, they knew it was time for a change. This case study delves into their remarkable 90-day journey, highlighting the challenges they faced, the strategies they employed, and the remarkable outcomes they achieved.

Read Full Case Study


Decide Confidently: Download Your Free HubSpot vs. Zendesk Guide


Comparing HubSpot and Zendesk? Download our free handbook to see how the platforms stack up.


This handy side-by-side comparison summarizes the differences between HubSpot and Zendesk in one convenient guide. Quickly reference details on features, capabilities, integrations, and more.


Armed with this easy-to-use reference, you'll have all the information you need to make an informed decision on which platform is best suited for your needs.

O63 LP Elements-HSvZendesk


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