Why Cloud 100 startups are investing in CX

The Forbes Cloud 100 List recognizes top cloud and software startups. Find out why so many of these companies are prioritizing customer experience.

By Sarah Olson, Senior Associate, Content Marketing, @seolson5

Published August 10, 2021
Last updated September 28, 2021

With so much still uncertain and a new variant delaying some companies return-to-work plans, we are more reliant than ever on cloud solutions that allow us to connect and collaborate remotely.

SaaS startups have a real opportunity to capitalize on the shift to a truly digital-first world, and among the top cloud companies named in the Forbes Cloud 100 this year, the vast majority are using Zendesk to give their customers a great experience.

Image of a customer service agent sitting at their desk with confetti falling around them, with text saying that over 75% of the Forbes Cloud 100 use Zendesk.

The Forbes Cloud 100 is a list of the top cloud and software as a service (SaaS) companies based on factors including growth, sales, valuation and culture, as well as a reputation score determined with help from their public cloud company peers.

More than 75 percent of the Forbes Cloud 100 use Zendesk for customer service and sales, suggesting that customer experience (CX) plays an important role in their rise to the top.

Read on to see why so many of these startups are investing in CX—and why you should be too.

  1. Cloud companies know their software needs to be seamless, and they want their customer service to be seamless too.

    Less than a third of startups we surveyed for our Startups CX Benchmark Report 2020 had a CX solution in place, but the majority of Cloud 100 winners do.

    These cloud and SaaS companies know, perhaps better than most, the value of a good experience–because the success of their software depends on it.

    Companies like Mailchimp and Airtable need to provide an intuitive user interface that customers love to use. It makes sense that they’d want their customer service to be just as seamless. They invest in solutions that make life easier for the customer, and based on their success, it seems the investment is paying off.

  2. In an ever-changing world, it’s more important than ever to be able to meet your customers where they are.

    Jeff Titterton, Chief Operating Officer at Zendesk, points out that customer expectations have only increased since the pandemic, which means it’s even more important for companies to get their customer service right.

    "Customer expectations have skyrocketed since 2020, and there is no going ‘back to normal,’" Titterton says. "Companies must meet an even higher standard to earn their customers’ trust, and maintaining it requires fast, effective service in every interaction they have with your company."

    "Customer expectations have skyrocketed since 2020, and there is no going ‘back to normal.’"
    Jeff Titterton, Chief Operating Officer at Zendesk

    This is consistent with the data, which shows that top-performing startups implement support sooner and expand it faster. After two years, these startups were responding to customers twice as fast as their competitors. That’s a difference that customers are sure to notice.

    With an omnichannel solution in place, you can adapt quickly to meet your customers’ preferences—even if they suddenly shift, like we saw last year with the rapid emergence of messaging in response to the pandemic.

  3. There’s no shortage of competition among cloud software companies, and CX can be a differentiating factor.

    More companies are likely to enter the cloud software market in the years ahead. As competition intensifies, SaaS companies will need to rely on more than just their product to set themselves apart.

    Good CX is one way you can win customers over. More than half of customers said they would switch to a competitor after just one bad customer service experience, according to recent trends data.

    This suggests that for companies facing stiff competition, CX is a good investment. It may also explain why so many Cloud 100 companies are prioritizing it.

Looking ahead

The reality is, we are still experiencing a lot of uncertainty and disruption as consequences of the pandemic are still unfolding. Every company, from the smallest startup to the largest enterprise, will need to be agile and customer-focused if they want to remain competitive in the current landscape.

According to Titterton, startups have an advantage in their ability to be more agile than most.

"SaaS companies are built on the principles of being fast and flexible, which has helped many continue to grow even through the uncertainties of the past year," Titterton says. "The most successful teams understand their customers deeply, and make swift, informed decisions to serve them better."

Listen to the Sit Down Startup podcast for more insights from startup founders and CX leaders.

Zendesk for startups

Are you a startup looking to level up your CX? Qualified startups can get Zendesk customer support, engagement, and sales CRM tools free for 6 months.

Zendesk for startups

Are you a startup looking to level up your CX? Qualified startups can get Zendesk customer support, engagement, and sales CRM tools free for 6 months.

Learn more