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Zendesk vs. Jira: A comparison guide for 2024

Modern support teams—from customer service to IT and HR—need help desk software that’s quick, adaptable, and user-friendly. Compare Zendesk vs. Jira to see what sets Zendesk apart, and experience the difference firsthand with a free trial.

Why Zendesk is the best alternative to Jira

Last updated May 17, 2024

Modern support teams need to operate efficiently to meet their business’s demands. However, overly complex systems can hinder this efficiency, necessitating large technical teams and extensive lead times for setup and scalability, ultimately increasing costs.

Zendesk is designed with simplicity and intuition at its core. With AI integrated at every touchpoint, support teams can quickly scale their operations while keeping costs low. Key factors such as ease of use, rapid response capabilities, and cost-effectiveness are among the reasons why businesses choose Zendesk vs. Jira Service Management, the Atlassian ticketing system.

Our guide compares Zendesk and Jira across essential aspects like capabilities, features, costs, and more, giving you the insights needed to make the best choice for your business.

Three icons represent how Zendesk outperforms Jira: design, speed, and total cost.

Intuitive design

Zendesk is intuitively designed and simple to use to maximize productivity. Our flexible software is easy to customize to meet the unique needs of any business, ensuring a seamless integration. In fact, Zendesk is ranked higher than Jira for ease of use, ease of setup, and ease of admin on G2, with significantly more reviews. Jira limitations noted by users include its complex setup, less intuitive user interface, and customization challenges.

Real-time speed

Zendesk enables you to move at the speed of your business. AI is built into every touchpoint so you can manage high demand and operate at scale. In contrast, some Jira users report performance issues when handling high-volume issues or complex queries, potentially slowing agents down.

Low total cost of ownership

Zendesk offers a cost-effective solution without hidden fees or unnecessary add-ons, providing everything you need to deliver quality support from the start. On the other hand, Jira has limited native channels, and its knowledge base software, Confluence, requires a separate subscription. Additionally, Jira's complexity can increase costs, as it may require technical resources for implementation, and extensive agent training can further delay your return on investment.

More in this guide:

At-a-glance comparison: Zendesk vs. Jira

Use this simple chart to quickly compare Jira vs. Zendesk on key service desk features and capabilities.

What you need to deliver the best support
Jira Service Management
Omnichannel ticketing system
Frictionless agent experience
Easy implementation
Reporting and analytics
Low total cost of ownership

Jira vs. Zendesk: Key capabilities

Don't let complex software that lacks essential capabilities slow you down. See how Zendesk offers more value for your organization than Jira Service Management, all at a lower total cost of ownership.

Omnichannel ticketing system

Zendesk empowers you to deliver a frictionless omnichannel experience. Both employees and customers can reach you on their preferred channels—from messaging apps like WhatsApp for Business, Slack, and Microsoft Teams to live chat, email, voice, and more. Conversations stay connected within a central hub, giving agents access to key data and ticket context so they can personalize every interaction.

Unlike Zendesk, Jira is not a complete omnichannel support solution. While it offers mobile app support, chat, SMS, and voice capabilities, social media channels require third-party integrations.

Frictionless agent experience

Our omnichannel Agent Workspace also has AI built in, lending agents a helping hand at every step. Our Agent Copilot assists agents in real time, offering suggestions on how to resolve issues to speed up resolutions. Automated workflows further boost agent productivity while AI-powered bots lighten their load.

Plus, we make it easy for agents to collaborate and perform system searches—generative search even provides AI-generated answers to agent searches within their workspaces.

Unlike Zendesk, Jira’s interface tends to be complex, which can impact agent satisfaction and productivity. Other factors that can negatively affect the agent experience include limited native collaboration features and difficulty searching within the Jira system.

Easy implementation

Zendesk is ready out of the box and offers a fast time to value, allowing you to provide meaningful support from day one. Our easy-to-use interface allows agents to get up and running quickly without requiring extensive training or configuring complex software. Plus, with over 1,500 no-code apps and integrations from the Zendesk Marketplace, our software is simple to integrate with all your business systems.

Jira’s complicated user interface may make it more difficult for agents to get up to speed with the system, decreasing your time to value. Jira also has fewer no-code apps and integrations than Zendesk, which can make it more challenging to connect your business systems during setup.

Reporting and analytics

Zendesk offers robust analytics tools with pre-built dashboards so you can immediately gather insights on your team’s performance and support operations. Managers can also customize their dashboards and use real-time insights and historical reports to track trends and make improvements. Additionally, Zendesk makes it easy to integrate service desk insights, quality assurance (QA) data, and workforce management (WFM) metrics natively. This gives you a more holistic understanding of your operations, driving operational efficiency and an enhanced support experience.

Jira has basic custom reporting options, but it lacks drill-down capabilities. It also lacks native WFM and QA solutions.

Pricing plans: Zendesk vs. Jira

Jira Service Management
  • Support Team: $19 per agent/month
  • Support Professional: $55 per agent/month
  • Support Enterprise: $115 per agent/month
  • Standard: Starting at $650 per year for 1–3 agents
  • Premium: Starting at $1,500 per year for 1–3 agents
  • Enterprise: Contact sales for more than 200 agents
*Plans are billed annually.

Zendesk is fast to set up and easy to implement—it integrates with your existing business ecosystem and requires virtually no training before agents can use it efficiently. Thanks to these low setup and training costs, businesses see a quicker time to value. Zendesk also offers a free plan for startups that gives them unlimited access to Zendesk, our support team, startup leaders, and CX coaches for six months.

Though Jira offers a free subscription for small teams of up to 10 users, it only unlocks limited features. Plus, you may incur steep costs as you scale and more agents join the plan. The total cost of ownership also goes up if you need add-ons as there is a restriction on purchasing add-ons for only a limited number of users. You can’t purchase add-ons for limited sets of users—all agents are on a plan—which rapidly raises the cost. And if you need to customize reports, those expensive add-ons are non-negotiable.

Why businesses choose Zendesk

Icons display the awards Zendesk received for being voted best software in three categories in 2023.

Don’t just take our word for it: Hear from brands that use Zendesk to deliver exceptional support experiences.

Trade Me

An illustration of a person using a headset on a laptop shows how Trade Me benefits from using Zendesk for customer service.

“I was excited because Zendesk was going to be an easy win for the team. I knew that it was going to help our cause, make life easier, and have an instant impact. We went from a basic-looking wiki to a well-presented help center. And we can leverage Zendesk across other teams with a lot less effort than on our previous system.”

—Andrew Jessett, head of internal systems at Trade Me


An illustration of a person looking out a window watching airplanes shows how Xero scales effortlessly with Zendesk.

“It became quite clear as we evaluated each product that Zendesk was the best fit. It met all our technical requirements, was in the cloud, and gave us the flexibility to easily add new teams. Head and shoulders, Zendesk was above the other offerings.”

—Hadleigh Lynn, support team lead of internal IT at Xero


An illustration of a person running shows how Teamworks uses agile customer service software from Zendesk to improve first response time.

"We needed a system that was easy to set up, maintain, and optimize, and allowed us to gain an elevated level of transparency into our customers’ support needs."

—Faryn Roy, VP of customer success at Teamworks

Frequently asked questions

Ready to try the best Jira alternative?

Deciding between Zendesk vs. Jira or making the switch is an important decision—and it’s easier than you think. With Zendesk, you won’t get bogged down by overly complex software. Our intuitive design and real-time speed ensure your support teams can operate efficiently and deliver exceptional service experiences at scale, all while keeping costs low.

Start a free trial now to see for yourself.

Zendesk vs. the rest: Compare the software

See how Zendesk beats Jira