How Zoom Built a $20B Brand Off The Back of Customer Experience
By Sam Frampton
If you work in the tech world chances are you’ve heard of Zoom or more likely you’ve used the video conferencing tool. At Chattermill, Zoom has become our go to tool for running customer meetings, webinars, and sales calls. Zoom has changed the way people connect, enabling frictionless face-to-face video experiences for thousands of people across different devices and locations.
Zoom's secret? They value customer happiness above all else.
"We focus across the company on the happiness of customers and building trust with them." - Eric Yuan, Zoom CEO
Zooming in on Zoom
Since their founding in 2011, the platform has been used to conduct tens of billions of meeting minutes. It’s clear a lot of teams are seeing value in the product. They’ve turned that high product usage into some serious revenue growth.
- They now have thousands of customers. Ranging from huge enterprises to small businesses.
- Revenue has grown from $60.8 million in 2017 to $151.5 million in 2018 and $330.5 million in 2019, that’s revenue growth of 149% and 118% in 2018 and 2019!!
By all measures, Zoom has become a hyper-growth company. They’re a unicorn, have thousands of customers and have joined the likes of Slack and Dropbox as success stories in the software productivity space.
Culture & Leadership: Customer experience is ingrained in Zoom’s DNA
Behind any great company that is growing a base of happy customers are an awesome team and great company culture. To Zoom if they cannot make the customer happy, nothing will matter.
Eric Yuan (current CEO of Zoom.us) measures success differently than most. Eric was an early employee at WebEx that was acquired for $3.2 billion. For most people, this would be a dream outcome, a massive exit, and an opportunity to sail off into the sunset.
But for Eric, he was frustrated, whenever he spoke to a WebEx customer they’d have nothing positive to say about the product experience. He knew that the product was outdated and delivered a below-par experience.
“Because even with 14 years of hard work on [the product], I did not see a single happy customer. Every day, I was not happy. My engineers were not happy. Every day, it just felt like, ‘Oh my God, what happened?!?’” - Eric Yuan
Eric soon left WebEx with a point to prove to his customers, he knew he could deliver an experience that would help their lives. Inspired by his goals, 40 engineers followed him on a journey that would change their lives forever.
His experience at WebEx led Eric to build a culture centred on the customer and make them feel like they are important and listened too. Since day one, Zoom has been focused on solving for the customer, and — more specifically — they’ve been focused on building video communication tools that actually work.
“From the moment we founded Zoom, our main focus has been to provide a cloud video communications solution that would make customers happy. That focus has continued to guide all our innovations, partnerships, and other initiatives. The fantastic growth we’re experiencing and the many industry accolades we’ve received can all be attributed to having satisfied customers that enjoy using our platform.”
If you read Zoom’s SEC filings before their IPO, you can see in the document that Zoom believes its competitive strength is customer happiness. The word ‘customer’ and ‘happiness’ is used over 100 times!
“Our culture of delivering happiness drives our mission, vision and values and is fundamental to everything we do at Zoom:
Mission: Our mission is to make video communications frictionless.
Vision: Our vision is to empower people to accomplish more through video communications.
Values: We care for our community, our customers, our company, our teammates and ourselves.”
Video conferencing is a hotly contested space. There’s no margin for error. A competitor is always breathing down your neck, and if you pursue a wrong strategy, someone will step in and take your place as No.1. The fact that Zoom has focused so much on CX is a testament to the competitive advantage it can bring to the table if a brand does it well.
So let’s dig a little deeper and see what Zoom does when it comes to tactics and strategy.
Strategy & Tactics: It’s all in the process
Zoom strives to build a product that is so good that it stands head and shoulders above the established players: Microsoft, Adobe, Citrix, and Polycom, as well as newcomers like High Five, Join.Me, BlueJeans Network, and Vidyo.
Quite simply, Zoom has built a product that sells itself. They started off as the new kid on the block they’re now ubiquitous in offices across the world.
At the very top level, Zoom is maniacally obsessed with customers. To ensure they deliver on customer happiness, they break that goal down into 3 simple steps.
Step 1: Make sure the product works
Zoom isn't interested in the user having an 'acceptable' experience they only care about creating great ones. Every customer at Zoom has to like the product. There must be continuity in the customer experience across all platforms, whether it's IOS or desktop, or different support channels and devices.
To measure how they're doing Zoom uses NPS to understand what customers think about their product experience. Zoom then reaps the benefits when customers share great stories about their experiences bringing in more customers through word of mouth.
Zoom now has close to 1 million followers on Twitter and 60,000 on LinkedIn. That’s a huge audience of happy customers spreading the word about Zoom.
"Every day, Zoom speaks to customers and also looks at internal processes to try and understand how they can improve from an end-user perspective." - Eric Yuan
Step 2: Frictionless Experience
Zoom has a maniacal focus on making every experience frictionless for the customer. Everything needs to be very simple and very easy. They make cancellation very easy, they offer support quickly, they make the onboarding process a breeze.
At a user level, it is essential that whether you're on desktop, mobile, web app the experience is very intuitive. From the moment you first install Zoom, it's effortless to set up, and they make sure each product isn't siloed from one another but sync up and interoperate with one another.
No matter how small or large the customer account is, they offer 24/7/365 support through live chat, phone and video. For the 90 days ended January 31, 2019, Zoom's customer support team had a customer satisfaction score (CSAT) of over 90%.
Step 3: Focus on people
They make sure their employees are happy, self-motivated and driven to learn. What does this have to do with CX you might be wondering? The connection may not be so apparent. They care because Zoom wants to make sure every interaction between their employees and the customer — say like support, a customer success manager, engineers, our product managers — every interaction between our company and the customers, they enjoy it.
A motivated and happy workforce can be an unstoppable force when their energy can be channelled in the right direction.
To sum it up, Product, Process and People are the three cornerstones of Zoom’s CX strategy.
Tools & Technology: Invest in tools to help you and your customers succeed
Zoom doesn't rest on its laurels. It's always looking into the future and trying to apply cutting edge technology to customer problems. One day you're on top of the world like IBM in the 80s, next minute, Apple & Google come sweeping in and take the top spot. You can never relax, and you must always be innovating and investing in your future success.
Zoom applies this mentality more than most and is continually trying to reduce friction for the customer.
For example, they're trying to take the webinar experience to the next level. Have you ever had the problem when someone speaks too fast, and you can't quite catch what they're saying? It can ruin the video conferencing experience. Zoom is applying AI technology to solve this problem.
They're using face recognition technology to monitor attendees' face movements, if someone is beginning to look a bit perplexed Zoom can send a message, "Hey, please slow down" to the host.
They also think about their customer's time and make life a little easier for them.
It can be a considerable time-kill to write up a transcription for audio content. Zoom now use AI to make transcription more accurate and 10x faster. They even have a team working on quality improvements for noise reduction and echo cancellation. Using an AI framework to analyze where the noise comes from and how the echo is generated and then leverage that to improve audio quality.
"We look at every interaction on the product, people, process support and the web and we understand that" - Eric Yuan
Most important of all, they make sure they can monitor product performance. Leveraging product data to analyze every meeting to see how many sessions have a great experience. How many meetings might have a problem?
The happiness Zoom bring’s is recognized by customers and industry analysts alike.
- In 2018, the average customer Net Promoter Score (NPS) was over 70.
- Gartner has named Zoom a Leader in its Magic Quadrant for Meeting Solutions based on our “ability to execute” and “completeness of vision.”
- Zoom also has consistently high scores across customer review sites, including Gartner Peer Insights, TrustRadius and G2 Crowd.
- Zoom has been recognized as a 2018 Gartner Peer Insights Customers’ Choice for Meeting Solutions (Web Conferencing).
- G2 Crowd recognized Zoom as the leading pacesetter in the industry in its 2018 Momentum Grid of Video Conferencing.
Want to be more like Zoom and make CX a cornerstone of your strategy? Get in touch and we'll show you how you can better understand your CX with our platform.
P.S - We'll be publishing a bi-weekly column here on Chattermill.com presenting a brief CX analysis of thought-provoking companies and events in tech.
Our hope is that this is something fun and interesting that you can read while on your commute or in between heavy lifting at work.