Founder Stories: Zendesk’s Mikkel Svane On Applying Customer Service To Business

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Can you measure corporate performance based on customer happiness? According to my Founder Stories guest this week, Zendesk’s Mikkel Svane, happiness is actually an important metric in the business of customer service.

What has happened over the last five or six years is that the notion of customer service has changed from just being this call center to something where you can create real meaningful long-term relationships with your customers and think about it as a revenue center.”

Zendesk produces a customer service platform that is used by more than 30,000 businesses worldwide. Started five years ago in Denmark, the once “virtual bootstrap” startup now has 400 employees and is experiencing at least 100 percent growth year over year. In our conversation, Mikkel and I discuss why he decided to move Zendesk to the U.S., how to create corporate culture when a third of the company works locally, and why Zendesk is opening an office in Madison, Wis.

We try to keep this culture of exchanging a lot and traveling a lot and really getting to know each other as people. I think getting the individual people to meet each other is kind of the platform for building good structures that can scale globally.”

Editor’s Note: Michael Abbott is a general partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, previously Twitter’s VP of Engineering, and a founder himself. Mike also writes a blog called uncapitalized. You can follow him on Twitter @mabb0tt.