If you're looking for the best way to facilitate customer engagement and build your community, you're probably familiar with platforms like Zendesk Gather.
Zendesk Gather is acommunity platform specifically designed to enable brands to easily create and manage online communities. And for members to connect with others, ask questions, share content, and even share product feedback directly to brands.
But, if you’ve landed on this page, it's likely you’re weighing up your community platform options before diving in. Smart move.
So, let’s do a deep-dive into the most popular Zendesk Gather alternatives to make it easier for you to select the right platform for your community.
Key features to look for in Zendesk alternatives
Before looking at alternatives, it’s important to know what to look out for in a customer engagement platform.
There are several key features to look out for:
⬜ User-friendly interface: Look for a platform that’s visually appealing and easy to use – you can pick this up from demos or trials – because if it isn’t, you’ll quickly lose member engagement and potentially gain a bad reputation.
⬜ Build and management tools: Ultimately you need basic features like user profiles, discussion forums, and moderation tools, as well as specific features to help you meet your needs. And you want to find tools with automation to make things slicker and easier to manage.
⬜ Engagement features: To keep members engaged, this is crucial. Popular engagement features include private messaging, chatbots, chat rooms, and video conferencing options, so you’ll want to put these on your shortlist.
⬜ Analytics and reporting: To understand how your community is performing,you’ll be able to assess how effective your community platform is with the right analytics and reporting. You need to track metrics like user engagement and customer satisfaction as a minimum, to help you to make data-driven decisions to improve your community.
⬜ Integrations: Look forZendesk Gather alternatives that offer integrations with your existing tools and software, like HubSpot and Mailchimp, and Salesforce. Your community needs to be easy for you to manage, which is why people often look for solutions that integrate with CRM systems and marketing tools, for example.
And ultimately, the best Zendesk alternative is one that suits your brand’s goals and needs.
So, let’s now look at what there is on offer.
Zendesk Gather alternatives: comparison overview
Zendesk Gather is a great tool for building a powerful online community. But it may not be the tool best suited to your needs.
The good news? There are plenty of Zendesk Gather alternatives out there.
Let’s look at the top eight:
Higher Logic Vanilla
Here’s why they make it into our list…
Platform 1: Bettermode
Bettermode is an all-in-one community platform with an abundance of easy-to-use features, and plenty of customization to make sure your community has the look and feel of your brand. It includes professional-looking templates to get started easily for all the common use cases; forums, ideation, events, Q&A, etc.
Customization is a doddle using its Design Studio, which includes different blocks that admins can select and arrange to create custom layouts.
Integrations are a breeze through an App Store which allows complete integration with your tech stack (HubSpot, Salesforce, Zendesk etc.), plus the ability to build custom apps on top of the Bettermode platform.
Best of all, the platform offers embedding options – integrating the complete community, individual spaces, and individual posts into websites and apps using different layout options.
Plus, there are additional features like:
Strong analytics capabilities: Easily track engagements in real-time and see exactly, and instantly, where you need to tweak your platform to increase engagement.
Segmentation: Segment members based on things like interests so you can personalize the platform and the content they see to boost satisfaction and engagement.
Gamification: Boost customer experience further with gaming elements that reward actions.
Pricing starts at $599 per month. The best bit is that you can take out a free trial to see if this is the best option for you.
Pros and cons
✅ Easy to manage and use, thanks to templates, automation, and simple workflows
✅️ SEO content enabled to help members and prospective members find your community
❌ If you’re new to community platforms, the abundance of customization may be overwhelming
❌ Lack of white-label mobile app
You can discover more about the Bettermode platform by watching this 60-second explainer video 👇
If you’re ready to put it to the test, you can get started with Bettermode now, or keep reading for an overview of other Zendesk alternatives.
Platform 2: Hivebrite
Hivebrite is another Zendesk Gather alternative that provides an all-in-one community platform that facilitates both online and offline engagement
One of the standout features of Hivebrite is the first top feature:
Offline event and meetup facilitation: This allows members to build deeper connections with other members as it's a valuable networking opportunity.
Customization: There’s plenty of this which allows you to create the look and feel that emulates your brand.
Given the additional features for customization, this one is a little more expensive than other alternatives, with prices starting at $5,000 per year.
Pros and cons
✅ Quick feedback opportunities
✅ Plugs in with other tech like social media and marketing tools
✅ Easy search member directory to find like-minded people
❌ Can be difficult to get used to and up-and-running so there may be delays to launching
❌ Doesn’t offer a comprehensive list of tech integrations
Platform 3: Circle
Circle is another online customer portal that has a variety of community building tools.
In addition, there's:
Multi-device compatibility: Designed specifically to easily work across multiple devices for ease of use.
Integrations and widgets: Easily plug in popular tools like Zapier, Hubspot, and Slack.
Group privacy options: Allows you to create both private and public spaces for different audiences.
There are multiple pricing packages which start at $39 per month.
Pros and cons
✅ Easy-to-use and simple interface
✅️ Subscriptions and monetization
✅️ Offers platform to build courses
✅️ Integrates with tools like Zapier and Stripe
❌ Lacks customization capabilities
❌ Limited direct integration with popular business tools
Platform 4: inSided
inSided is a popular community platform because of the following feature focus…
User-generated content: Members can generate content.
Online and self-service: The platform is intuitive making it easy to manage and access a knowledge base.
According to Feverbee, minimum pricing starts at $100. You can contact inSided for a bespoke quote.
Pros and cons
✅ Robust user engagement analytics
✅️ Easy to use
✅️ Content is easy to find
❌ Less scalable solution, particularly compared to the alternatives
❌️ Doesn't integrate with some of your other tech so social media needs manually managing
Platform 5: Higher Logic Vanilla
Higher Logic Vanilla provides a range of tools that encourage members to keep coming back.
Here are just a few examples:
Personalized content: And targeted messaging.
Subgroups: Build subgroups for events.
Customer gatherings: So you can set up discussions and answer specific questions.
Gamification: To boost engagement.
Unfortunately, pricing isn't published on their website so you need to get in touch with sales for quotes.
Pros and cons
✅ Plenty of customization features
✅️ Integrations with lots of other popular apps
✅️ Easy analytics and reporting dashboard
❌ Design is a little clunky
❌️ Developer support is often needed to code branding changes and customizations
Platform 6: Discourse
Discourse is another popular Zendesk Gather alternative if you are building simple forum solutions.
Active discussion: Create, respond, and react to posts quickly with real-time chat.
Gamification: Badges and rewards encourage active participation.
User-generated content: It's easy for members to share useful information with others.
Pricing starts at $50 per month for the basic package, rising to $300 for the more advanced. And if they don't suit your needs, you can get a quote for an 'enterprise' package if you speak to sales.
Pros and cons
✅ Members can moderate discussions
✅ Easily define groups and set up private categories
✅️ Engagement analytics dashboard
❌️ Whilst quick and easy to set up, features and options for integrations are limited
❌ Difficult to migrate to another community platform from this one
Platform 7: Mobilize
Mobilize is a mobile-first community platform, meaning they’ve built their solution with mobile users as a priority.
Here’s why this unique selling point is hot:
Mobile-first: Not many platforms specialize in use on a mobile device, so it's easier for members to participate on-the-go.
Marketing tools: That makes it easier for you to attract more prospective members.
You can access the Mobilize platform for free for up to 5 users and 5 events. If you’re a larger brand, there are three paid plans ranging from $100 a month to $2000 a month.
Pros and cons
✅ Always adding new features
✅ Plenty of customization
✅ Robust analytics
❌ There’s no desktop app option
❌ Navigation isn’t the easiest
❌ Limited features to control member accounts and adjust member notification settings
Platform 8: Khoros
Khoros is a cloud-based community platform that offers a range of features, including forums, blogs, and social media integration.
In addition, here are the most popular features:
Customer support and help desk: Provide exceptional customer support through a Freshdesk help desk tool, with integrated ticketing systems and support forums.
Targeting: Ability to send targeted messages and invites.
Whilst there are options to allow you to scale-up, Khoros is one of the more pricey options with plans starting from $35,000 a year.
Pros and cons
✅ Plenty of customization options
✅ Strong data and reporting
✅ Numerous integrations with your existing tech
❌ Lack of development of new and existing features
❌ Engineering investment is required to make customizations
❌ Price – budget will be an issue for a lot of brands
Choosing the best Zendesk alternative: Key takeaways
When weighing up Zendesk Gather alternatives, keep in mind that not all platforms are created equal – and some just may not be right for you.
Going back to the key features… What’s key for any community platform is:
Accessibility: Is it easy to use and navigate? Will your members feel comfortable using it? Can your team members quickly get set up and manage it? Does it include automation? Are workflows easy to set up? And is there a customer support team on hand if you get stuck?
Driving engagement: Does it have the essential features AND specific features to meet yours and your members’ needs?
Measure and act on engagement: Can it track engagement and satisfaction in an easy-to-interpret reporting dashboard?
We’ve mentioned reviews, demos, and trials are helpful tools to assess Zendesk alternatives. One other thing that’s worth doing is asking other brands for their views – what’s worked well and what hasn’t with their particular community platform.
This can help rule out community platforms or direct you towards looking for specific features.
The bottom line? Weigh up your priorities and needs and shortlist the community platforms that most closely align with this. After all, the right platform will ensure higher engagement and member loyalty. So, it's something you want to get right the first time.
Knowing your options is a good place to get started. But before making a choice it’s also helpful to ask yourself the following questions:
What features are essential? Draw up a list of all your non-negotiable features you need in a potential tool. For example, you might need a customizable interface and personalization options.
What’s my timeline? Some platforms take longer to set-up than others. Take into consideration how long the initial set-up will take and what training is available. Also, look for platforms that offer templates for quick and easy set-up.
What is my budget? Last but not least, you need a platform that is within budget. Creating a shortlist based on a budget is a quick way to whittle down your options.
Finding the right platform is much easier when you have those questions nailed down. After you’ve made your shortlist, request a demo of each tool. From there, it’s a case of simply testing each option and seeing which fits best.
If we’ve convinced you to put Bettermode on your shortlist, you can get started with a demo now, or keep reading for answers to the most commonly asked questions.
Frequently Asked Questions
Still have questions about Zendesk Gather alternatives? Check out these FAQs:
1. What is similar to Zendesk Gather?
Community platforms like Discourse and Higher Logic Vanilla are similar to Zendesk Gather. But similar doesn’t mean it's the right option for your brand. Make sure you check out the features and pros and cons for the Zendesk Gather Alternatives – we’ve covered these above ☝
2. What are the top Zendesk Gather alternatives?
Top choices for an alternative to Zendesk Gather include:
Higher Logic Vanilla
3. How do I choose the right Zendesk Gather alternative?
It all comes down to your brand and your members’ needs. Plus, you’ll want to obviously consider things like budget but also ease-of-use, scalability, and customization. Plus, does it feature things like help desk software (such as Freshdesk) to help troubleshoot and improve customer experience.
4. Can I migrate to a Zendesk Gather alternative?
Yes. If you’re already on a community platform, maybe even Zendesk Gather, most community platforms will allow you to transfer data over. It may be a case of using an API, like you do with integrations. But, the process will differ depending on the platform so make sure you check this before making a switch.
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