Help Desk Platforms Comparison – HubSpot Service Hub vs. Zendesk

Written By Sean McGauley
January 30, 2024

To truly deliver top-notch customer service – the kind that inspires your customers to become your biggest fans and spread your message to others – you need a system that seamlessly integrates with your business operations.

Enter Zendesk and HubSpot Service Hub, two top options for help desk solutions, each offering a unique array of features and functionalities.

But how do these platforms stack up against each other? Which one offers what you need? 

That’s exactly what this article is about! So get comfortable and let’s dive into the comparison.

Here's what's covered in this article - just click to jump to the section you're most interested in:

Zendesk vs. HubSpot on Features

When it comes to features – both have you covered on all the basics you’ll need for your customer service, including conversational tools (chatbots, ticketing, inbox, etc), automation (like simple ticket automation), AI, knowledge base management, and more.

However, there are some differentiated features from both that show up as you go further up the subscription tiers. Let's take a look.

HubSpot’s Differentiated Features

  • Playbooks: Enable you to build a library of resources and guides for your customer service team to use. 
  • Meeting Scheduling: Rid yourself of the back-and-forth of emails to schedule meetings. This feature enables you to give prospects the power to book meetings with you.
  • Shared Inbox: Connect everything you need to one inbox, including your team email, live chat, Facebook Messenger, and more.
  • Custom Surveys: An important part of service is gathering critical customer feedback and this feature helps you create templated surveys like NPS, CSAT, and CES; as well as custom surveys. 

Comparing HubSpot and Zendesk on Features

Zendesk Differentiated Features

  • Knowledge base for multiple brand/use-cases: HubSpot has just two levels of categorization—compared to six levels in Zendesk—which enable you to use a knowledge base for more than one use-case.
  • Zendesk Macros: A macro is a prepared response or action that an agent can manually apply when they are creating or updating tickets. Macros contain actions that can update ticket properties. Zendesk has two types of macros: personal macros (created by an agent or administrator for their own use) and shared macros (created by an administrator for multiple users). What sets this feature apart from HubSpot’s snippets tool is that macros can be automatically suggested to agents based on the context and content of the ticket.
  • Content Cues: This AI-powered tool identifies opportunities to make content improvements by reviewing support tickets and existing articles. Use it to flag content gaps, underperforming content, and outdated content in your knowledge base.
  • SLAs/OLAs: Another major differentiator between HubSpot and Zendesk lies within service level agreements (SLAs). Both Zendesk and HubSpot enable the creation of SLAs, but HubSpot has limited rules and reporting compared to Zendesk.

Additionally, Zendesk provides operational level agreements (OLAs). OLAs allow businesses to set targets and expectations for groups working on tickets.

Zendesk vs. HubSpot on Pricing 

HubSpot Service Hub has a free plan that allows you to use some of its basic features for unlimited users and contacts. However, if you want to access more advanced features, such as workflows, sequences, and custom reports, you will need to upgrade to one of its paid plans, which starts from $20 per month per seat. 

  • Free: $0/month
  • Starter: $20/month per seat
  • Professional: $100/month per seat
  • Enterprise: $130/month per seat

See HubSpot for the most up-to-date and accurate pricing information. 

Comparing Zendesk and HubSpot on Pricing

Zendesk for Service does not have a free plan but does offer free trials of its paid plans, which start from $19 per month. 

  • Support Team: $19/month
  • Support Professional: $55/month
  • Support Enterprise: $115/month

See Zendesk for the most up-to-date and accurate pricing information.

Zendesk vs. HubSpot on Scalability 

Both of these companies approach scalability in similar ways.

First on pricing – HubSpot Service Hub is designed to scale with your business, as it offers different plans for different stages of growth, including a free option. 

Zendesk is also scalable on pricing. Although it doesn’t offer a free plan like HubSpot, it does have free trials for all of its subscription levels.

Comparing Zendesk and HubSpot on Scalability

The second area of scalability is connecting the rest of the business through additional apps. With a Zendesk suite, you can add on additional products like Zendesk for Sales and Zendesk Sunshine, Zendesk’s open and flexible CRM platform.

With HubSpot, you can layer Service Hub with other Hubs, including Sales Hub, Marketing Hub, Operations Hub, and Commerce Hub. 

Having all of your customer data in a single place will transform your business into a customer-centric machine, built to delight your customers with every interaction.

Where Zendesk Stands Out

Freshdesk Help Desk Platform

CX Expertise

With over 17 years on the market, Zendesk is regarded as a proven leader among help desk platforms. Many users choose the Zendesk Service platform, its tools, and guidance to attain their business objectives—and as Zendesk puts it, “evolve into CX-perts in their own right.”

Artificial Intelligence

Zendesk uses AI in its Agent Workspace, where AI provides context about tickets and suggested replies to help customer service agents. While HubSpot is also investing heavily in AI with its tools Content Assistant and ChatSpot, these are not purpose-built for customer service.


Zendesk demonstrates its ability to efficiently address any business challenge with a consistently low cost of ownership (TCO). According to their website, “Self-service and automation features deflect up to 15 percent of agent contacts, which saves time and money.”

Where HubSpot Service Hub Stands Out

HubSpot Service Hub Logo

Free Smart CRM Included

HubSpot Service Hub runs on HubSpot’s Smart CRM, enabling users to access a comprehensive overview of customer interactions within a single platform. This functionality empowers businesses to identify key opportunities for enhancing customer connections across marketing, sales, and service channels – all on one platform. 

Pro Tip: Here's How to Set Up the HubSpot Free CRM the Right Way

Increased Productivity with Automation

HubSpot Service Hub drives team efficiency by automating processes, eliminating manual tasks, streamlining ticketing procedures, offering self-service options for customers, and establishing avenues for personalized communication.

Engaged Customers

In Zendesk, users are somewhat limited in their ability to create feedback surveys. To craft custom surveys or enhance existing survey options, users will typically have to rely on integrations and API implementations.

In Hubspot, users can create NPS, CSAT, CES, and custom surveys to gather feedback and use this intelligence to create better customer experiences and build loyalty.

Our Recommendation

Our recommendation? It all comes down to your business and goals. 

Zendesk is an excellent choice for businesses seeking a service desk platform solution. Purpose-built and continuously evolving, Zendesk has solidified its position over time as a leader.

On the other hand, HubSpot Service Hub represents a younger contender in the market. For businesses already invested in the HubSpot platform, it offers unique advantages you won’t find with Zendesk. The synergy achieved by leveraging multiple HubSpot Hubs for Marketing, Sales, Operations, and more creates efficiency and propels business growth.

That’s why we choose HubSpot Service Hub

Sean McGauley

About the Author

Marketing is more challenging than it’s ever been - but, I’m committed to finding new and creative ways to succeed. By day, I’m a digital marketing enthusiast with a passion for connecting brands with their target audience. I have over a decade of experience in creating and executing successful campaigns with a proven track record. I specialize in Strategy, Copywriting, SEO, and social media marketing - always staying up-to-date with the latest industry trends and technologies. By night, you'll likely find me adventuring with family and friends. I enjoy nature, photography, mountain biking, fly fishing, and trying new foods. I want to connect with other like-minded professionals to learn from and work with.