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Article 5 min read

How to grow your customer support when scaling your business

By Michael Schweidler, Senior Manager, EMEA Content Marketing

Last updated December 1, 2021

According to research by Dealroom and Sifted, Europe has 70 unicorns. And the volume of cash invested by VCs is now growing faster in Europe than in any other part of the world. In 2021 alone, the region’s start-ups attracted €49 billion — more than the US, China and the rest of Asia.

But after such a great start, what comes next for these companies? How can you grow exponentially while only allowing costs to increase incrementally, or not at all? How do you take your great idea, make it available to many more consumers but still maintain a premium customer experience, without inflating costs?

One of the best ways is to invest time, effort and thought into customer service and the customer experience. Ensuring your customer experience is the best it possibly can be helps you maximise the conversion rate for new leads while retaining your existing customer base.

In the second quarter of 2021, Zendesk surveyed over 3,000 European business executives, to find out how investment in customer service helped companies deliver a superior customer experience.

Here are the top 8 insider insights for start-ups from the Zendesk SMB CX Maturity survey 2021:

1. Build a strategy based on reliable data

To ensure you can provide the highest quality customer experience, even as your unicorn scales exponentially, you need to understand exactly which channels and touchpoints are important to your users, so that you can prioritise these during the process of scaling up. The Zendesk SMB CX Maturity survey 2021 found that leading organisations (“Champions”) use 1.6 times as many channels than average and this helps them solve customer queries 45% faster.

2. Take the time to lay the groundwork for excellent customer service

To deliver an outstanding customer experience, customer service needs to make those who use your service feel heard. This support should feel conversational, giving your customers the impression of a meaningful two-way exchange of information. With the right set-up, many customers can resolve their issues themselves (for instance, using chatbots and other AI-assisted technologies). The Champions, those with market-leading implementations across all channels, resolved 86% of issues in a single customer interaction.

3. Give your service teams a 360-degree customer view

Every time a customer interacts with your brand — on the phone, through chatbots, through social media and so on — the facts and outcome of that interaction should be recorded and made available to everyone who needs it in the organisation. Champions in this area, those companies which eliminate data silos and give their authorised service agents, across all functions, instant access to customer data are 4.2 times more likely to enable those agents to deliver outstanding service. And 71% of Champions give their customer-service agents 360-degree customer visibility.

4. Use scalability and automation to drive efficiency and growth

One of the best ways to deliver a greater customer experience that can scale with your business, is to use automation to enable self-service. Using customer data to provide an efficient and automated service, where this is appropriate, simplifies customers’ lives and makes them feel valued while also freeing your staff to concentrate on more complex cases. This cuts costs and delivers a premium customer experience. Champions such as business-banking specialist Mettle automated up to 90% of customer interactions and have seen a 30% increase in customer satisfaction.

5. Give your agents the right tools for every job

Sometimes, this means literally making sure that your agents have the right suite of tools available from their desktop. For instance, it could mean making sure they have fast access to the right data, the right metrics, high-quality reporting and so on, all from the same dashboard. But it can also mean delivering behind-the-scenes tools such as improved query routing. These not only improve customer experience, it means agents can use their time in the most productive way possible.

6. Streamline your tech support stack

Using a suite of tools that work seamlessly together, that are fast to configure and easy to use can hugely improve customer and agent experience. One example of a business that benefited from these advantages is e-commerce platform Dott. It took them just a few days to set up and configure their CRM platform, and they now have a rich variety of features that is scalable and flexible. What’s more, because you can quickly add new capabilities, languages and channels as your customers’ needs evolve, it’s a perfect fit for their business.

7. Don’t settle for analytics that are just “good enough”

7. Don’t settle for analytics that are just “good enough”
Analytics which delivers detailed and actionable data, and which allows for customisation when required by business needs, produces superior results. Companies which are Champions in this field are typically 12% more efficient in bringing phone interactions to a successful outcome and 17% more efficient in closing chat interactions.

8. Prepare for future remote-work scenarios

On average, organisations expect a 21% increase in the number of remote agents after the COVID-19 pandemic is no longer an issue. Organisations will need to maintain tools and technologies needed for remote productivity and performance management in the coming years.

A key finding of the Zendesk SMB CX Maturity survey was that 40% of SMBs in Europe see their service team as a competitive differentiator. These sector Champions recognise an opportunity to create and widen the competitive edge. They understand that their customer-service agents are the key enabler for the exponential growth that is crucial to their long-term success.

With Babylon Health, Brew Dog, Cabify, Wise and other ‘soonicorns’ expected to IPO this year, the need for companies to build on their initial success in a way that allows them to scale rapidly is only going to grow. Those companies that manage this transition will be the ones that understand the crucial role customer service has to play in this process and then act on this understanding.

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