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The seven-year journey – from startup to PLC

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Frustrated by the chaotic and cluttered industry of customer support, the solution almost seemed too obvious – make software that was not only nice to look at but also easy to use.

Since the company was established in 2007, Zendesk has matured massively and now works with some of Europe’s most well-known companies, all the while keeping the same underlying message and values – be genuine, listen to customers and keep it beautifully simple.

Any business, whether startup or multinational, will have faced issues along the way and no doubt some have fallen at the first hurdle. We see it regularly in the industry, companies are striving for success but don’t take into consideration that no business runs problem free.

Statistically nine out of ten startup businesses will fail, so what can organisations do to make sure they’re giving themselves the best possible chance of succeeding?

Be informed, knowledgeable and, most of all, flexible

Since Zendesk started out, the customer service industry has seen a huge number of developments, some game-changing and others minor, but they have one thing in common – whether being actioned or not, they’re still on the radar.

If you’re choosing to position your company as an expert in a certain field you need to make sure you can fall back on a bank of knowledge, including keeping up to date with all relevant advances and improvements.

It may be that it’s not 100 per cent relevant for each and every one of your customers but it may be for just one, which should be enough. In this sense, it is essential that as a business you remain flexible and open to industry adaptations or updates as and when they surface.

Simply having a one-size-fits-all structure will ultimately end up losing you business and leave you unable to cater to customers on a case-by-case basis. This is also where scale comes into the equation, a factor that is essential for any startup business looking to grow.

Throughout a company’s journey there will be various influxes in the volume and demand for communication and tools so make sure these explosions in service are well prepared for. Remember, the best companies are those that are able to remain savvy, swift and concise all while delivering on their business promise.

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Remember the problem you exist to solve

Along the journey to so called success, it can be easy for businesses to lose their way and forget the reason they exist in the first place, or more importantly, the problem they exist to solve. For example, Zendesk exists to bring companies and their customers closer together.

Once you have a handle on the exact message you want to project, think about where you want this message to go and essentially who you want it to reach.

If your business is strictly targeting millennials, are you engaging with them using the right language and through the right platforms, or are you attracting 70 year-olds who don’t know the difference between Twitter and Facebook?

Treat each customer as an individual and provide an experience based on this

The consumers we were once accustomed to have developed into the “we want it now” consumer. Today we expect a personalised experience, demand it in a shorter timeframe and are knowledgeable enough to recognise poor customer service when we’re faced with it.

Combine this with the fact that thanks to the rise in popularity of social media platforms, customers now also have a much louder voice, and the ability to reach a huge audience of people in an instant – welcome to the promoter economy.

This has forced businesses to reassess the way they interact with customers and means customer service itself has become a vital function for all businesses regardless of their size and scale.

Companies should be tuned in to create an encompassing strategy that combines data points from different aspects of the business in order to give one single customer view. Once this is complete, businesses will find catering to customers an easier and more streamlined activity; ultimately benefitting both business and consumer.

Businesses that keep things simple and don’t overcomplicate what they’re trying to achieve will ultimately be the ones that strive ahead leaving their competitors behind and moving forward with a herd of happy customers.

Zendesk has revealed a seven-year journey, but here are survival secrets from entrepreneurs on making it through year one of business.

Nick Peart is director of marketing EMEA at customer service software provider Zendesk

Image: Shutterstock

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