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Zendesk vs. Pega

Delivering great customer service experiences requires agile software that specializes in CX. When considering Zendesk vs. Pega, pick the trusted leader in CX.

Zendesk vs. Pega: A comprehensive guide

Last updated April 22, 2024

Customers hold the entire internet in the palms of their hands, which means they're always one swipe or tap away from your competitors—and one poor interaction could give them just the motivation to do so. According to the Zendesk Customer Experience Trends Report 2023, 50 percent of customers will switch brands after one negative experience.

That’s why businesses need to invest in customer service software that specializes in the customer experience (CX). When it comes to Zendesk vs. Pega, only one solution was built specifically for CX.

Spoiler alert: It’s Zendesk.

An image depicts Zendesk vs. Pega and displays three key reasons to choose Zendesk.

These three reasons make it easy to choose Zendesk over Pega:

1. Exclusive CX focus

We built Zendesk to specialize in CX. That means you get customer service software equipped with the tools, best practices, and expertise that empower your business to deliver nothing short of an excellent customer experience.

Also known as Pegasystems, Pega is a web-based SaaS (software as a service) specializing in business process management (BPM). The company also offers products with a wide range of use cases, such as sales, support, and marketing. While this variety may sound appealing, businesses focused on providing their customers with the best customer service may find it easier to do so with a more specialized, CX-focused product.

2. Agility and fast time to value

Zendesk sets up fast and is simple to use, allowing you to start generating your return on investment (ROI) from day one. With an agile system like Zendesk, you can quickly and easily adapt to changing needs while keeping costs low.

Pega’s software is customizable, and you can build a tailored solution, but you’ll need the resources to make it happen. Creating complex workflows with Pega requires technical engineers or an extensive developer community, which draws out the deployment time. It can also be challenging to learn the complicated processes and modules, contributing to a slower time to value than drag-and-drop solutions.

3. Low total cost of ownership

With Zendesk, efficiency and automation are baked in. It comes with out-of-the-box capabilities, so you can easily customize the software without being a coding expert. You don’t need to budget for dev or IT teams to implement the software or make ongoing changes, resulting in a low total cost of ownership. Zendesk also offers quality support and provides professional services to help businesses get the most out of the software, maximizing ROI.

Pega’s user experience can be difficult and can require extra training to learn. Manually customizing the software can also be too complex for some users. That could result in businesses switching software, which leads to additional, unexpected costs.

More in this guide:

At-a-glance comparison: Pega vs. Zendesk

Our table lets you quickly compare the key differentiators between Zendesk and Pegasystems.

Key differentiators
Zendesk
Pega
Agility and fast time to value
Ease of use and simplicity
Low total cost of ownership
Complex software that may result in unexpected or hidden costs
Integrations
1,500+
400+
Live chat and messaging
Limited

Zendesk vs. Pega: A detailed comparison

Let’s take a deep dive into Zendesk vs. Pegasystems for a better understanding of how they compare.

Ease of use and simplicity

Because we built Zendesk specifically for CX, our intuitive design and user-friendly interface enable agents to use it from day one. Shopify, for example, was able to start using Zendesk the same day it was implemented. With Agent Workspace, Zendesk provides reps with a single view of the entire customer journey, including ongoing customer conversations, ticket statuses, preferences, order history, and personal data—all the context needed to provide an exceptional, personalized customer experience.

This contrasts with Pega, a slow, lagging software that may make it difficult for agents to complete tasks. Plus, requiring a team of technical engineers adds another level of complexity that can slow down the process further.

Low total cost of ownership

Zendesk achieves a low total cost of ownership (TCO) by combining a fast time to value, agility, scalability, and a low implementation cost. Zendesk creates partnerships with customers and provides scalable software that grows alongside companies throughout their business journeys. According to Forrester’s Total Economic Impact™ (TEI) study, some customers who implemented Zendesk showed a 286 percent return on investment over three years.

Pega’s complexity can result in businesses switching to software that’s easier to maintain. Not only does this scenario create unexpected rip-and-replace costs, but your team will also need to be trained on and learn another system, taking up their valuable time.

Integrations

Zendesk allows you to seamlessly integrate apps with your current systems, extending its functionality and capabilities. The Zendesk Marketplace has more than 1,500 pre-built apps and integrations to help you achieve a 360-degree view of the customer. By pulling data from integrated systems—such as collaboration tools, customer relationship management (CRM) systems, and help desks—agents get a comprehensive snapshot of the customer's history, preferences, and past interactions. You can easily install the apps with just a few clicks, or you can use the Zendesk API (application programming interface) to create your own.

Pega has a limited marketplace, with just over 400 native and third-party integrations available. In fact, it doesn't offer important integrations, like with Big Query or Snowflake for CDH. Pega’s open-sourced software can be customized to make up for the lack of integrations, but as mentioned above, it requires a heavy lift.

Live chat and messaging

Zendesk offers live chat and messaging software—key features that optimize communication. Live chat enables agents to provide convenient, real-time customer support. You can create custom templates and prewritten responses to common questions that allow agents to reply faster, boosting efficiency. Additionally, you can configure web forms that collect customer data at the beginning of a chat, which ultimately enables agents to personalize the interaction.

Messaging software helps agents provide proactive and personalized support in a continuous conversation. You can add a messaging widget to your website or mobile app, social channels (like WhatsApp, Facebook, and Apple Messages for Business), and collaboration tools such as Slack and Microsoft Teams.

Pega has digital messaging, but it lacks the customizable and rich content messaging capabilities that Zendesk offers. Pega’s chat features have also been described as “not at par with other products.

Pricing plans: Pega vs. Zendesk

Compare the pricing plans of Pegasystems vs. Zendesk.

Zendesk vs. Pega: Pricing plans
Zendesk
Pega
  • Support Team: $19 per agent/month
  • Support Professional: $55 per agent/month
  • Support Enterprise: $115 per agent/month *All plans are billed annually.
  • Case Management Edition: Starts at $97 per user/month
  • Enterprise Edition: Starts at $165 per user/month
  • Digital Customer Engagement Edition: Starts at $260 per user/month


Zendesk offers a transparent pricing model and services for every company no matter the size, industry, or ambition. Pega's confusing pricing tiers and complicated matrices make it difficult to understand exactly what you’re getting and what price you’ll pay.

A glance at the subscription prices shows Pega is more expensive than Zendesk. Additionally, Pega costs extra for implementation, lowering its users' ROI and TCO.

Customer stories

When it comes to customer service, Zendesk leads the pack. Literally.

Zendesk was voted the #1 software by G2 for:

  • Best Customer Service Product
  • Best Software Product
  • Product for Mid-Market

More than 160,000 businesses—from startups and small businesses to mid-sized companies and enterprises—trust Zendesk to help them deliver the best customer experience. Here are a few real-life customer stories.

Homebridge

Homebridge is a business-to-consumer (B2C) retail lender and business-to-business (B2B) wholesale lender that needed to upgrade its customer service software to one that could support its massive 300 percent growth. The company also wanted better collaboration tools and needed an omnichannel reporting and analytics dashboard to gather better insights.

Simply put, Homebridge wanted to boost its overall customer experience. So it tapped on Zendesk.

Since implementing Zendesk, Homebridge has seen these results:

  • Generated 158% ROI with Zendesk
  • Time to value realized in four months
  • Exceptional CX led Homebridge to implement Zendesk in 15 departments
A stack of file folders represents Pegasystems vs. Zendesk with a quote from Homebridge about how Zendesk helps boost CSAT.

Lush

Lush is a sustainable, fair trade, and cruelty-free cosmetics and personal care company. While considering options for upgrading its customer experience, Lush realized it needed a solution to check specific boxes to eliminate pain points.

First, the company needed a better way to collect and implement customer feedback. Next, it wanted a better ticket tracking system to keep support teams organized, especially during peak hours or seasons. The brand also required software that would help teams analyze customer inquiries and metrics.

Lush chose Zendesk because of its agility, fast setup, and ability to help teams handle heavy spikes of customer inquiries during holiday shopping. Zendesk also helped Lush achieve a laser-focused approach to customer feedback.

With Zendesk, Lush was able to:

  • Increase its customer satisfaction (CSAT) score by identifying and prioritizing customer sentiment
  • Achieve 369% ROI in less than one year
  • Improve CX productivity, accounting for $434,000 in annual cost savings by avoiding extra headcount
A circular shape represents Zendesk vs. Pega next to a quote from Lush about how Zendesk helps improve customer service.

Stanley Black & Decker

Stanley Black & Decker is the world's largest tool manufacturer and storage company that sells 50 tools per second. When the corporation made it a goal to improve CX post-purchase, the team started looking for software that could help them consolidate fragmented data across systems and implement omnichannel support.

Stanley Black & Decker chose Zendesk because of its omnichannel support capabilities, helping to connect the retailer’s 60+ websites, 75+ social media accounts, live chat, phone, email ticketing, self-service portal, and knowledge base all in one place. Zendesk also easily supported its enterprise-level number of customer conversations and was implemented in merely three weeks.

After partnering with Zendesk, Stanley Black & Decker has:

  • Improved agent workflows with automations, macros, and triggers
  • Increased agent efficiency by over 300
  • Experienced 1,000% growth in customer interactions
  • Achieved 100% adherence to a one-hour first-response-time service level agreement
A green cube represents Pega vs. Zendesk with a quote from Stanley Black and Decker about how Zendesk helps boost efficiency.

Frequently asked questions

Ready to try Zendesk?

Zendesk is an elite customer service solution that enables businesses to deliver seamless omnichannel support to customers. Our CX-focused software provides the user-friendly tools you need to deliver an effortless customer experience as well as the flexibility to adapt to any changes.

With our quick setup and low total cost of ownership, you can also start seeing your ROI sooner rather than later. Try Zendesk today to see how our easy-to-use, unified solution can help you upgrade your custom experience.

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