According to one CRM report, fast-growth startups adopt specific CX actions to drive customer loyalty and growth.

CRM company Zendesk, Inc. has released a report documenting how early-stage startups that invest in customer experience (CX) outperform their peers.

The data showed that, while there is no one-size-fits-all approach, startup success stories have one thing in common: the ability to provide more holistic support to customers from the beginning. The findings feature Zendesk Benchmark data from more than 4,400 early-stage startups from around the world, giving founders and CX leaders direct insights into this crucial part of their businesses for the first time.

Notably, more than 70% of startup founders and decision-makers reported they did not have a formal customer support strategy in place. This shines a spotlight on how many companies are missing out on the opportunity to deliver on the customer experiences that will set them apart from their peers and foster long-term business success.

The report further identified six actions companies should focus on to operate like a fast-growing startup within their first two years, in order of priority:

  1. Set up a customer support function that prioritizes speed and convenience for both your customers and service teams
  2. Add live channels such as phone and chat, which are faster alternatives to email and web ticketing
  3. Launch messaging channels, like social media and WhatsApp, to reach customers on the channels they use in their day-to-day lives
  4. Establish an FAQ or help center, and include at least 30 articles that answer frequently asked questions
  5. Introduce at least one new app or integration to your customer support platform every six months to increase support agent productivity and streamline workflows
  6. Keep first reply times and resolution times down to three to eight hours

Said Kristen Durham, Vice President, Startups, Zendesk: “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. 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.”

Wanted: self-service and immediacy

The report also indicated that faster-growth startups directed more resources toward self-service and live channels, like phone and chat, with unicorns—privately held startups valued at over $1 billion—adopting live channels even faster.

Unicorns also prioritized adding self-service features like online help centers 61% faster than other startups in their first year. Commented Jeff Titterton, Chief Marketing Officer, Zendesk: “Startups that want to rise above the noise should invest in building a strong foundation in great customer experience right from the start. Customers have come to expect more out of companies, regardless of their size, age, or industry. Having differentiated customer support can be the difference between failing to scale and becoming a successful, fast-growth startup.”