Customer Experience News & Trends

Want to improve the customer experience? Act like a startup

Author Karen Lamb wrote, “A year from now, you will wish you had started today.” It’s a mindset the fastest-growing startups have taken toward the customer experience. And any organization that wants to improve the customer experience will want to take it up, too. 

If you’re thinking about revving up the customer experience, stop thinking and start acting today.

Startups that think about, implement and embrace customer service strategies are faster growing and more successful than their peer organizations, according to research from Zendesk.

This research has ramifications for all businesses whether you’re a startup or legend in your industry: Investing in a better customer experience improves business.

“It’s natural to prioritize your product at the beginning of your startup journey, but not to think about how you sell to or support your customers,” said Kristen Durham, vice president of startups at Zendesk. “We know CX directly impacts customer loyalty and retention, and whether you are a first-time founder, serial entrepreneur, or customer support leader looking to improve business performance, our data shows that the sooner you put customers at the center of your plans, the faster you’ll be setting yourself up for long-term success.”

Success stories have one thing in common

Researchers found the majority of startup success stories had one thing in common: The companies took a well-rounded, multi-channel approach to customer service and support from the start.

They didn’t approach it as an afterthought, single department or exclusively reactive function. Instead they baked the customer experience into operations from the get-go, involved many – if not all – people and were proactive in providing a great customer journey.

“Customers have come to expect more out of companies, regardless of their size, age, or industry,” said Jeff Titterton, chief marketing officer at Zendesk. “Having differentiated customer support can be the difference between failing to scale and becoming a successful, fast-growth” organization.

4 ways to improve the experience anywhere

Whether you’re a startup, relatively new company or an organization that wants to improve the customer experience, here are ideas from startups that got it right:

  1. Make real-time, personal help a priority. The most successful startups – the Unicorns in the study – adopted live channels even faster than other newer companies. They invested in people and technology to handle online chat and phone calls to give customers an immediate, personal experience.
  2. Be where customers are in their day-to-day lives. Customers are increasingly on social media and want to do more than socialize with friends and family while they scroll and post. To improve the customer experience, don’t just have a social media presence. Be active and reactive on social media channels. Post daily and – if you can’t be there around the clock – maintain hours when customer service pros are available to respond within minutes of customer posts and/or inquiries.
  3. Beef up the FAQs. Researchers recommended FAQs and online help centers have at least 30 articles and/or answers posted. Most importantly, those 30 (50, 70, etc.) need to be up-to-date. Make it a team’s or individual’s responsibility to scrub the posts at least monthly to be sure only the most current information is posted.
  4. Set and meet strict response and resolution times. Researchers recommended immediate, automated responses, recognizing online or email contacts. From there, the best practices are to reply personally within three hours and resolve within eight hours. At the very least, let customers know you’re working on the resolution within those eight hours and when they can expect to hear from you again.

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