Zendesk — Strategies for Retention and Referral


Zendesk, founded in 2007, is a cloud-based software service that allows companies to better manage their customer service experience. It provides customer service agents an easy-to-manage ticketing system, a centralized view of customer info, and mobile apps so that an agent can solve a customer issue from any portable device. It also allows customers to reach service agents through any media channel (i.e. telephone, e-mail, social media, etc.), as well as the ability to self-service using online knowledge bases.

For subscription-based software companies, customer retention is of the utmost importance. The cost to acquire new customers is much higher than that of retaining customers. Unlike traditional on-premise software companies, the initial investment in cloud-based software is nowhere near as costly. Therefore Zendesk must continue to deliver a great customer experience in order to retain its customers.

First, they provide an online support portal where customers can log in and submit or track service requests. There is also online documentation, but the online community probably provides a better source for information. Zendesk’s online community allows Zendesk customers to talk and help one another with support issues. Finally, Zendesk has created user groups across the US, in order to keep users engaged and excited, and to develop a community of users who can support one another.

As for referrals, Zendesk has a major section on its website titled “Customers”. This portion of the website is a depository for Zendesk’s customer stories. The stories span across industries, across businesses small and large, and essentially encompass any type of business that is out there. This is a great way for prospects to learn about how other companies in their respective industries are using Zendesk successfully to support their businesses. And for Zendesk, it’s a stamp of approval.

For cloud-based software companies that charge on a subscription basis, it is extremely important that they do what they can to retain good customers. Most companies nowadays have “Customer Success” teams that help customers implement the service, and ensure a smooth ramp up and good user adoption. With the success of each customer, the company can then leverage those stories to attract and acquire new customers.


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