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Thrive scales smartly by leveraging Zendesk chat and self-service

Thrive Market earns a 93% customer satisfaction across a 500,000 member base using Zendesk. The transition to chat and the addition of self-service content also allowed the company to handle more complex requests and work faster, without increasing the size of its teams.

Thrive Market
“With Zendesk, the support team is now recognized across the company as a place with official insights about our customers and the larger business.”

Michelle Rascon

customer support manager hos Thrive Market


Customer since






Decrease in cost/ticket

Whether you’re vegan, gluten-free, keto, paleo, or are just looking to incorporate organic and environmentally sustainable products into your lifestyle, there have never been more options for health-conscious consumers.

But unless you live in certain parts of the country, organic and specialty products can be expensive and hard to find at the local supermarket. Even if you’re lucky enough to have access to natural foods, it can be challenging to know which products satisfy the needs of highly-specialized dietary restrictions or align with various social causes. That’s where Thrive Market comes in.

Based in Marina Del Rey, California, Thrive Market is dedicated to helping people live healthier lives by making the best natural products affordable and accessible to people across the United States. The company is a membership-based marketplace that gives members access to thousands of organic and non-GMO products at up to 50 percent off retail prices, delivered right to their front door.

Thrive Market also helps customers reach their own personal health goals by curating a dizzying array of products across 140 different diets, allergies, and lifestyle factors. Whether a customer is looking for organic baby food; responsibly sourced, Whole30-certified gluten-free snacks; or other wholesome nutrition that’s suitable for people with nut allergies, Thrive Market makes it easy to find products that fit their unique tastes and needs.

The company also involves its members in the company’s mission of making healthy food accessible to everyone. For every customer that signs up for a Thrive Market membership, the company gives a free membership to a family in need that otherwise wouldn’t have ready access to the organic and natural products the company provides.

“Before I joined the company, I was a customer,” said Thrive Market’s Customer Support Manager, Michelle Rascon. “I just became obsessed with the mission to make healthy foods affordable and available to the world. It’s really rewarding to shop and work somewhere that has a mission I believe in.”

Exceptional service for passionate customers

It’s this shared passion for natural foods and social responsibility that has helped Thrive Market create a vibrant community of more than 500,000 members. Beyond its low prices and high-quality products, Thrive Market has built and scaled the business by focusing on providing exceptional customer service. And with the number of highly-specialized products available, the customer support team needs to stay on its toes and expect the unexpected from the company’s passionate customers.

“Our members are incredibly interested in understanding everything about where their food comes from,” said Michael Shaughnessy, Thrive Market’s workforce management analyst. “Once we received a call asking if the Thrive Market ghee [a form of highly-clarified butter that originated in ancient India] was made underneath a full moon. It turns out that it wasn’t. But we were able to find out. It’s a great example of how passionate our customers are and our desire to share and match that passion.”

Thrive Market delivers this level of service by arming its team of 75 support agents with Support, Chat, and Talk, which enables the company to offer omnichannel support for customers in both English and Spanish. Zendesk helps the company’s agents work together and engage with customers wherever they are, whether that’s email, phone, live chat, or text.

“We’ve been using Zendesk since the very beginning,” Shaughnessy said. “It was totally plug and play, and easy to roll out to customers, but also gave us the ability to heavily customize the way we use it. Zendesk also seamlessly works with the other solutions we use.”

Scaling with chat and self-service

When Thrive Market launched in late 2015, it began with email and voice support using Zendesk Support. The company subsequently added chat support and found it was able to help more customers, with more complex issues, faster and more efficiently.

“In 2017 we were getting a ton of contacts in email and it was really driving our first reply time down,” Shaughnessy said. “When we added chat, it had a dramatic impact on our average resolution time, taking it down 12 full minutes, from 48 to 36 minutes.”

Since Thrive Market implemented live chat support, it has quickly become customers’ preferred method for getting in touch with the company. In fact, nearly 70% of the 78,000 contacts the company receives every month comes via chat. This transition has had a dramatic positive impact on many of Thrive Market’s customer service metrics. The company’s cost per ticket has gone down 54 percent, the average handle time per request has dropped 11 percent to only eight minutes, and its CSAT score has improved from 90 to 93 percent

The transition to chat and the addition of self-service content (via Zendesk Guide) have also allowed the company to handle more requests without increasing the size of its teams. “With chat, our agents can handle multiple customer requests at the same time and are much more efficient versus phone or email support. And Guide lets customers skip speaking to an agent all together,” Rascon said. “Without Zendesk, we’d likely need to triple our team from 70 agents to more than 200.”

Thrive embraces the power of analytics

Zendesk also plays a critical role in cross-functional reporting, whether that’s understanding the efficacy of CRM programs, collecting feedback from customers about how to improve the service, or keeping the CEO up to date with multiple reports daily on contact volume and more.

Meanwhile, the team is currently deploying Explore to provide the organization with even more analytics to monitor the health of its customer service programs and gauge their impact on the long-term retention of customers. Thrive Market also focuses intently on training agents to become knowledgeable about natural foods, with internal subject matter experts developing educational materials using Lessonly.

“First and foremost, we want to be easy to reach and efficient,” said Rascon. “We have to also be really knowledgeable when it comes to relaying information to customers.”