12 minute read · Published May 18, 2024

Top Ada alternatives and how to choose from among them

Latest Update May 22, 2024

Customer service folks are like superheroes, ready to swoop in and save the day for your customers. But there comes a day and time when it all gets a bit too much. Perhaps your business has started expanding. Perhaps your customer base is growing like crazy. 

Suddenly, your superhero squad finds themselves stretched too thin. They are unable to handle all the customer queries and support tickets, constantly rescheduling 1:1 meetings to free up time for customer support until a day comes when you find the online reviews of your business are peppered with negative sentiment.  

That’s where customer service platforms like Ada come in. Ada can complement the efforts of your teams, acting as an AI agent that handles routine queries and frees up your human staff to deal with more complex issues. 

However, not everyone is a fan of Ada. 

Ada’s plans start at $1,000 a year, which can be quite steep for some businesses.

Some businesses might find Ada’s features limiting for more complex workflows. Ada's reports might not provide the level of detail needed. Also, Ada's data API can be expensive to access, and pre-built integrations might be limited, making it difficult to connect it with existing tools.

Setting up Ada and getting the most out of it can be time-consuming. If you're looking for a more plug-and-play solution, there might be better alternatives out there.

Key features to look for in an Ada alternative

If you’re considering shopping for an Ada alternative, do keep an eye out for these essential features –  

  • Multichannel support: Customers expect support whenever they want, using whatever channel they want. Look for a platform offering a multichannel experience that can seamlessly bring together all the conversations happening on email, chat, social media, and phone. 
  • Automation and AI capabilities: Evaluate platforms that can automate customer service workflows, power chatbots, and even answer basic questions or direct customers to the relevant resources in your knowledge base, without the need for human intervention.  
  • Integration with other tools: Choose a platform that offers integration with your existing CRM, and marketing automation tools. This way all the tools used for customer service can talk to each other and there will be no silos in communication. 
  • Reporting and analytics features: Look for a platform with the kind and level of reporting and analytics features that your business needs. It should be able to help you decode customer behavior, identify pain points, and track the overall effectiveness of your support efforts.
  • Customizability and scalability: Look for a solution that is both customizable to your specific needs and scalable to grow alongside your business, no matter how big you become.
  • Pricing considerations: This goes without saying – choose a platform with a pricing structure that not only fits your budget today but has the potential to scale alongside your business. Some platforms offer tiered plans with increasing functionality as the price goes up. Others might charge based on usage. Consider the model that best suits your projected growth.

Top alternatives to Ada

CommandBar Copilot

Image showing the home page of CommandBar's Copilot

CommandBar Copilot isn't your average chatbot. This embedded AI assistant uses its smarts to empower your customer service team. It helps them work faster, smarter, and stay happier. Here's what sets Copilot apart:

  • Unlike many "custom AI chatbot" solutions that simply mimic basic interactions, Copilot is built for more. It can be fully equipped to resolve user questions, offering a deeper level of support and reducing reliance on live agents for common issues.
  • Copilot can be used to train users with interactive walkthroughs, guiding them through product features and functionalities. This self-service approach empowers users to find answers independently, reducing support ticket volume.
  • Leveraging chat interactions, Copilot can segment users and proactively target them with relevant information. This ensures users see what's important to them, eliminating generic and potentially annoying messages.
  • CommandBar prioritizes security and compliance. For businesses handling sensitive data, Copilot adheres to strict GDPR and HIPAA regulations. CommandBar's SOC 2 Type II certification demonstrates its commitment to robust security practices.

This AI-powered sidekick helps your agents remain the superheroes they are. It delivers proactive support, trains users on the fly, and keeps them engaged – all in a secure way.  

Freshdesk

Freshdesk (by Freshworks) brings together many channels like email, chat, WhatsApp Business, and social media into a central hub for managing support tickets. Combined with AI capabilities this makes it easy to handle routine tasks automatically. Plus, it integrates with different tools so businesses can access tons of data to see what's working and what's not.  

Image showing Freshdesk website

Key features and benefits: 

  • Freshdesk focuses on improving operational efficiency by cutting down on manual and repetitive tasks using advanced automation rules, sending out pre-written answers for common questions, and solving customer queries quickly without increasing agent headcount or support budgets.
  • It’s easier for teams to collaborate as all the necessary information is made available within Freshdesk. The platform also integrates with several third-party tools, so that there’s a unified and centralized environment for all customer interactions. 
  • Freshdesk offers predictive analytics capabilities which means the platform can anticipate customer needs and proactively offer support. Teams can make use of customizable analytics and reports so that everything from team performance to bottlenecks in the process to CSAT score can be tracked. 

Pricing plans: 

Freshdesk offers a variety of plans, starting at just $0 (yes, you read that right!) and reaching up to $69 per user per month. The free forever plan is perfect for small teams or businesses just starting out – they can access all the essential features needed to deliver exceptional customer service. Each paid plan unlocks additional features and functionalities. 

Pros:

  • Freshdesk is all about making things easy. Forget lengthy training sessions –  their interface is so intuitive, that even new team members can easily get the hang of things, which means adoption is not going to be a challenge. 
  • Several users praise Freshdesk's value for money compared to other options in the market. The free plan makes it an attractive option for smaller businesses. 
  • Positive user experiences highlight the quality of Freshdesk's customer support and account management team.

Cons:

  • While Freshdesk offers automation features, some users find them lacking in effectiveness. They express concerns that these tools might not be designed with a deep understanding of customer service complexities and can necessitate workarounds and customization to achieve desired results.
  • Concerns have been raised about tickets getting lost in the system, especially when transferred between teams. This can hinder workflow and negatively impact customer service efforts.  

Help Scout

Help Scout prioritizes both customer experience and agent efficiency (perhaps which is why they have 12,000+ businesses in 140 countries trusting them). They've got personalized email and live chat features, a self-service knowledge base to help customers get answers independently, and a shared inbox that keeps your team on the same page.

Image showing Help Scout’s website

Key features and benefits:

  • Help Desk handles all customer interactions in a single inbox-style interface – something that almost every person on this planet is familiar with. This makes a unified view and streamlined workflow possible. 
  • It leverages AI-powered features like suggested replies, conversation summaries, and automated tasks. This frees up the customer service rep to focus on complex issues while still providing fast and accurate responses to customers in the support queue.
  • Help Scout plays well with others. It connects with a business’s existing CRMs, and marketing automation tools, and has over 50 integrations. This means you can keep using the tools you have already invested in, and Help Scout becomes the missing piece of your customer service puzzle, fitting right in your tech ecosystem. 

Pricing plans: 

Help Scout keeps things simple with clear pricing points. There’s a Standard, Plus, and Pro plan, ranging from $20 to $65 per user, per month. These plans are like climbing a ladder with each level unlocking more advanced features. No free plan forever here, but Help Scout does offer a free trial so you can test the waters, and they offer a discount if you pay for a whole year upfront. 

Pros:

  • Whether you're a small startup or a large team managing millions of customers, the platform can scale alongside you. Their shared inbox and collaboration feature keeps everyone in the loop, even as your team expands.
  • Help Scout allows agents to access all the customer info they need – past conversations, app activity, and even reporting tools – so they can get the context right every time and personalize every interaction with their customers. 
  • Help Scout integrates with all your favorite CRM and marketing automation tools so that your customer experience is a unified, frictionless, and positive journey. They'll feel valued and supported at every touchpoint.

Cons:

  • While Help Scout boasts a quick learning curve, some users might find the onboarding resources lacking compared to competitors that offer dedicated customer success managers for complex setups.

Zoho Desk

Zoho Desk puts you in the customer service fast lane.  Ditch the juggling act – emails, chats, texts, social media, even carrier pigeons (okay, maybe not those) – Zoho Desk can handle it all in one place. They help you manage every customer interaction seamlessly, no matter how your customers decide to contact you.

Image showing Zoho Desk's website

Key features and benefits:

  • Zoho Desk lets you manage everything from one central platform without the need to switch between tons of apps. This means smoother workflows for your agents and happier customers who can reach you on their preferred channel.
  • Zoho Desk routes inquiries based on agent expertise or automatically connects customers with familiar faces. Plus, you can make and receive calls directly within the platform.  

Pricing plans: 

Zoho Desk offers a free plan to dip your toes in, plus paid plans ranging from completely free to $40 per user per month. There's also a free trial so you can test drive before you commit. This flexible structure allows you to find the perfect fit for your needs and budget, no matter the size of your business.

Pros:

  • Zoho Desk is perfect for businesses of all sizes with its flexible pricing plans and feature sets. This aligns with Zoho's broader mission of making quality technology accessible and affordable.
  • Zoho Desk boasts a quicker implementation process compared to some competitors. This can minimize operational disruptions and get your customer service team up and running faster.
  • Zoho has a vast online community and support resources so you can get the most out of the platform. 

Cons:

  • While Zoho Desk offers a wide range of features, some users might find it less customizable than other platforms. This could limit its suitability for businesses with highly specific needs or complex workflows.
  • While Zoho Desk provides reporting features, some users report them as being overly complex or lacking in granularity.  
  • Despite its intuitive interface, Zoho Desk might have a steeper learning curve compared to very user-friendly competitors. This could require additional training time for your customer service team.

HubSpot Service Hub

HubSpot Service Hub centralizes all customer interactions from across channels – email, chat, social media, and phone. Customers find answers with self-service, while agents get automation tools and detailed ticketing. It scales with your business, integrates seamlessly with other HubSpot products, and keeps customers happy with features like conversational ticketing. 

Image of HubSpot Service Hub's website

Key features and benefits:

  • Manage all customer interactions (email, chat, social media) using a single platform. Also, you can empower customers with a knowledge base and automation features, reducing support volume.
  • Focus on building rapport with customers via a conversational ticketing system. The platform equips agents with automation tools, detailed customer histories, and performance dashboards so that they can resolve issues faster. 
  • HubSpot Service Hub and their other products like Marketing Hub and Sales Hub are like best buds – when integrated, they can “talk” to each other. This lets your agents see the whole picture, from past purchases to support interactions.  

Pricing plans: 

HubSpot Service Hub scales with your business, offering a free tier to dip your toes in, then paid plans that unlock more features as you grow. You can start with the Starter plan ($20/month per seat) for the basics, then upgrade to Professional ($100/month per seat) for automation. For big businesses with more granular reporting needs, the Enterprise plan ($130/month per seat) is the most preferred option. 

Pros:

  • HubSpot Service Hub eliminates the need for multiple tools since it manages all customer interactions from different channels in one place.
  • It focuses on empowering customers to find answers independently through a knowledge base and automation features, reducing support pressure on the customer experience teams. 
  • It provides tools like automation, detailed ticketing with customer history, and performance dashboards so it’s easier for agents to see what’s been going on and make decisions accordingly. 
  • You can count on seamless integration with HubSpot CRM (if you use it), unlocking a complete customer view for personalized interactions and stronger relationships.

Cons:

  • While there's a free tier, some advanced features like automation and conversational ticketing require paid plans, which can be expensive for smaller businesses.
  • Some users might find HubSpot Service Hub less customizable than other platforms, which could limit its suitability for businesses with highly specific needs or complex workflows.
  • Getting the most out of HubSpot Service Hub's deep CRM integration requires using HubSpot's CRM platform, which might not be ideal for businesses already invested in a different CRM system.

Zendesk

Zendesk cuts through customer service complexity. Their AI-powered platform handles conversations – across all channels – emails, chats, calls, and even mobile support. It's easy to set up, grows with you, and plays well with your existing tools. Zendesk also empowers agents to deliver personalized experiences, no matter how customers reach out. They offer self-service options and automated workflows to streamline operations, making Zendesk a great fit for businesses of all sizes.

Image showing Zendesk's website

Key features and benefits

  • Zendesk handles all interactions from one central platform. Plus, it connects seamlessly with existing tools and over 1200+ apps in their marketplace.
  • Zendesk's reporting and customizable dashboards are designed to help your agents and customer experience managers see exactly what's working and where to improve. 
  • Zendesk streamlines everything from automating repetitive tasks to setting up auto-responses to allowing teams to collaborate using internal notes, attachments, and screencasts. They even maintain a complete customer history for easy reference. 

Pricing plans:

Businesses can start their journey with a free trial of Zendesk Support Suite to test-drive the platform. Once you're ready, you can choose from seven paid pricing editions, ranging from $19 to $169 per user per month. These plans offer a tiered structure, so you can scale your features and functionality as your customer service needs evolve.

Pros:

  • Zendesk offers a comprehensive suite of tools for managing customer service interactions, including ticketing, reporting, self-service options, and integrations. This can be a major advantage for businesses seeking a centralized solution.
  • Many users find Zendesk's interface intuitive and easy to navigate, which means it’s easy for agents to pick up and get used to. 
  • Zendesk's reporting goes beyond basic metrics. You can gain valuable insights into customer behavior and agent performance. 
  • Zendesk lets you segment users based on needs, so you can offer targeted support. This means happier customers and a winning customer service experience for everyone.

Cons:

  • While generally considered user-friendly, Zendesk may require some training for agents so they can fully leverage all its functionalities.
  • Zendesk's pricing can be a barrier for some businesses, especially with higher-tier plans.

Choosing the right alternative

Finding the right fit customer service platform depends on your business's unique personality and of course the needs of your customers. Here are some questions to ask yourself when choosing an alternative to Ada:

  • Business size and needs: Running a lean startup? Freshdesk might be your new best friend with its user-friendly interface and budget-friendly plans. But if you're a customer service powerhouse, Zendesk offers the muscle you need to handle complex needs with tons of customization options.
  • Chatting with customers: How do your customers like to connect? If email is king, prioritize a platform with strong email management features. If your customers prefer real-time chat support, look for a platform that shines in that area.
  • Product or service complexity: If your products have a steeper learning curve, consider a platform with self-service onboarding options like ones that can knowledge base creation tools (think CommandBar’s Copilot).
  • Budgeting Blues: Freemium models can be a great starting point for startups, while established companies might require paid plans with advanced features. Don't forget to consider scalability – will the platform grow with you?

By answering these questions, you'll be well on your way to finding the perfect customer service partner that complements your business and has no problems in keeping your customers happy.

So, long story short...

We covered a bunch of great alternatives to Ada, each with its own strengths. There's also this cool AI customer service platform called CommandBar Copilot that can be a game-changer, especially for in-app support.

The key takeaway? The best platform depends on YOUR business. Think about your customer base, budget, and what kind of support you want to offer. Then pick the tool that helps you deliver amazing customer service. 

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