How does the CEO of Zoom, Eric S. Yuan, manage the company's massive growth while retaining a focus on customer experience and customer delight? In this episode, one of the most successful entrepreneurs in the world explains his customer experience strategy, the importance of meeting customer expectations, and the impact of organizational culture.
Zoom CEO Eric S. Yuan: How to Manage Customer Experience?
CEO and Founder
How does the CEO of Zoom, Eric S. Yuan, manage the company's massive growth while retaining a focus on customer experience and customer delight? In this episode, one of the most successful entrepreneurs in the world explains his customer experience strategy, the importance of meeting customer expectations, and the impact of organizational culture.
This episode includes discussion of the following topics:
- What does customer happiness mean for Zoom?
- Why is company culture important?
- How does company culture affect product development?
- How fast has Zoom grown?
- How to balance customer experience and business profitability?
- How to overcome the difficulties in the remote working period?
- How does Zoom encourage employee well-being?
- How does Zoom balance profitability against innovation?
- What is the post-pandemic future of work?
- Advice to business leaders from Eric Yuan, Zoom CEO
Eric Yuan founded Zoom in 2011 to deliver happiness and bring teams together to get more done in a frictionless video environment. Zoom’s video-first unified communications platform continues to dramatically transform the way leading global enterprise companies communicate. Under Eric’s leadership, Zoom was one of the highest-performing tech IPOs of 2019.
Eric Yuan: We are working extremely hard. We truly care about our customers. Every day, we think about what we can do differently to bring happiness to the customers, to those users, including K-12 schools, healthcare organizations, telemedicine, telehealth, and also there are so many new things in the pipeline.
What does customer happiness mean for Zoom?
Michael Krigsman: Eric, we met about – what, now – I guess about five years ago. Since that time, Zoom has entered the language as a verb. So much has changed, and so tell us very briefly what's going on with Zoom right now.
Eric Yuan: Thank you, Michael. You are so right. Since we met (five or six years ago) I think a lot of things have changed. Three years ago, we became a public company while working so hard, the folks, on innovation.
Last year, on many fronts, that was extremely challenging. But the good news is, finally, I think, our dream is coming true to leverage our technology to truly have the world, have the people, stay connected during the pandemic crisis time.
I can tell you we're very excited about our future. But again, I think one thing that has not changed is the amount of work. It's still a lot.
Michael Krigsman: I remember when we first met. You spoke a lot about customer happiness. How do you think about customer happiness today at the size, the scale that Zoom is at?
Eric Yuan: Customer happiness is still our core value. That has not changed at all. Actually, we do feel more responsibility. We needed to do more because, prior to the pandemic crisis, Zoom was built to serve for enterprise, business, or government customers.
But since last year, we had so many new users, consumers, new use cases, we feel like we've had more responsibility. Not only do we deliver happiness to the enterprise customers, but also we would like to embrace all those new use cases and do more to care about them.
Michael Krigsman: The number of different use cases, you're no longer just enterprise by any means.
Eric Yuan: First of all, we've got to look at everything from a customer perspective. We cannot say, "Hey, let's ignore this user or that customer." That's not right, so we've got to make sure, before we make any decision, always look at it from the customer and the user, new use case perspective, not always look at it from our perspective. That's number one. That's always our principle.
Number two is, because we have so many first-time new users, they may not know Zoom well. Not unlike some enterprise customers, we already are working together for a long time. The trust is already established.
We need to keep everything open and transparent. Make sure we share with them, communicate with them about why we are going to make this change, why they have to upgrade to the plan or the next release, next version. We've got to make sure to communicate with them well because a lot of new users are first-time consumers. That's the second thing.
The third thing, internally, we've got to still focus on our company culture. That's extremely important. Otherwise, given all the work, the hard work in the pipeline – and especially, we are all working from home – it's not that easy to be stuck working from home for such a long time: anxiety, depression, and a lot of issues. Making sure we care about our employees and then, together, we care about our customers, I think that's also very important. That's why we really focus on maintaining our company culture.
Why is company culture important?
Michael Krigsman: Why is company culture so important in this? I'm thinking broadly about the term customer experience. You call it customer happiness – more broadly, customer experience. What is the role of corporate culture and why is that so challenging for everybody?
Eric Yuan: Company culture, fundamentally, I think, that's the number one important thing. I gave an example back last April, March, or May.
In December of 2019, if you look at daily meeting participants on a peak day, it's around ten million. Back in March and April, it was 30 times more. It jumped quickly to 300 million daily meeting participants.
A lot of work in terms of adding capacity and fixing some small glitches here and there, not only for our data center here but all over the world. Right? If we do not invest in our company culture, I can tell you a lot of employees might have quit already because it's a huge pressure and you work very hard around the clock.
That's why when you invest in the company culture, employees realize this is the best time we should work hard to really help the work. Employees, they do not complain. They just move forward with all the solutions, with the plan. That's number one.
Number two is if you do not invest in the culture and given all the workload, you really cannot hire enough people. We more than doubled the size of the company last year because of the company culture.
A lot of employees joined us. They shared, "The reason why I want to join Zoom is because I've heard the stories from my friends. They really enjoy working at Zoom. That's why I also want to join Zoom as well." That's another way for us to grow our business.
Michael Krigsman: Eric, you talk about investing in corporate culture, company culture. Can you break that down for us? What does that mean in more concrete terms?
Eric Yuan: First of all, what's your company culture? You have to write that down.
Our company culture is just two words: deliver happiness. Meaning, for me as the CEO of the company, my number one priority is to make sure our employees are happy. Together, as a business, we make our customers happy. That's our company culture.
It boils down to our company value. Our company value is just one word: care. Meaning, care about the community, customers, the company, teammates, as well as ourselves.
First of all, you have to write that down and live that every day. Every all-hands meeting, every time, you've got to talk about that.
Also, when you hire new employees, make sure you hire those who can fit in very well to your company's core value and culture. That's the second thing.
The third thing is, what if some employees might break the rules and there's conflict with the company value? What are you going to do?
Are you going to stay with the company core value or the culture, or are you going to say, "Oh, that employee is really important. You should give them an exception"? This is going to test your company culture and value. That's the third thing.
Last but not least is for every day; every day, you have to make lots of decisions not only from the CEO level but also for managers. When you make a decision, can you make sure every time, before you make a final decision, you double-check and make sure, will this decision follow your company's value or culture or not? A lot of things like this can really help you to evolve and shift to maintain the company culture and value.
How does company culture affect product development?
Michael Krigsman: How much time do you spend personally on issues of culture versus, say, product development?
Eric Yuan: Earlier this year, I shared with our team in an all-hands meeting (because there are a lot of things moving around and sometimes I'm extremely busy). I told our team I would like to only focus on three things. One, company-wide culture. That's number one.
Two is our platform play. We are going to transform our business from being a killer video conferencing type company to be a platform company, a lot of new stuff, new things that needed to evolve on the product side.
Also, I'd like to join some of the big deals, to talk with the customers and share the vision. The reason why is I also want to learn from the customers, especially for the big enterprise customers, to try to understand their pain points. Then we can come back with a solution to be the first vendor, hopefully, to come up with a solution.
This is also really to our product side. Essentially, the company-wide culture and products, those are two top priorities for me to work on.
Michael Krigsman: We have a question from Twitter from Arsalan Khan, who is a regular listener and asks great questions. Arsalan, thank you for your questions and for listening. He says there are other video conference tools aside from Zoom. What specific strategies have you used to enhance your culture to come out in front? Or, to ask another way, what is the role of culture in supporting the growth and the success of Zoom?
Eric Yuan: First of all, I would say when it comes to growth, don't look at it from an internal perspective. You cannot just look at the metrics; let's do this, do that. That normally is not sustainable.
When you look at growth, first of all, you should think about the value. What kinds of value can you create to add more value to your customers?
Today's customers, let's say they are using the video conferencing from many years ago. We added our second product, Zoom phone. It's doing very well. The reason why is because, several years ago, we talked with the customers. The customers shared with us their pain points. They wanted us to be the one consistent solution. That's the pain point.
We listened to our customers. Then we came back and worked so hard to come up with a solution. Then we added value to our customers. Then it can drive our growth.
Ultimately, when you look at growth, always look at it from the customer's perspective. Solicit their feedback, talk with them, understand their pain points, and then think about are there any things you can do differently to add more value to customers. Then you can drive up the growth.
Michael Krigsman: I think lots of companies talk about that, talk about we have to put the customer in the center. It's really become almost a kind of buzzword. And so, how do you take that and operationalize it so that it spreads throughout your organization and the company makes decisions in a practical way based on this?
Eric Yuan: As I mentioned earlier, you have a company culture. Our employees, we all understand every day why we're working so hard, not for us; it's for our customers. We work for our customers. Make sure, from a high level, you have that principle.
Secondly, you've got lead by example. For me, whenever I get any escalations, even from a single, even free users, even not paid users, whenever they escalate to me, I never ignore that. I do all I can to make sure to respond, to tell them we care about you. Even some free users, if they call us, we still want to help them out. Right?
Also, every day, I join some of the customer meetings. If I did not do that, the customers say, "I want to talk with the CEO to understand the reason," if you say I'm busy, I do not have the time, they are not going to trust you anymore. You've got to lead by example.
Michael Krigsman: If we think about (broadly, again) this notion of customer experience, it's not just a marketing veneer, but it penetrates deeply through the operations of the business.
Eric Yuan: Right on, especially when it comes to software as a service. Remember, software is just a product, but the most important thing is the service. It's not only about the product itself. For every interaction in terms of they call you and they try to understand ... [indiscernible, 00:12:39] or they have issues they want to escalate, do you really care about them enough?
Otherwise, customers say, "I do not trust this company anymore." They are going to cancel your service. They have the freedom.
That's why software as a service does bring value of the care. If you do not care about the customer, you're going to lose their trust. They are going to go with other vendors.
How fast has Zoom grown?
Michael Krigsman: You've grown so rapidly. How fast have you grown over the last few years?
Eric Yuan: Actually, prior to the pandemic crisis, we were already growing very fast. However, I think if you look at the last 12 months, I would say that's hypergrowth on many fronts in terms of usage. We also have a quarterly revenue growth and we doubled the size of the company. On many fronts I would say, wow, this is hypergrowth.
We would like to make sure we leverage this opportunity to think big. Not only do we care about existing customers. We also think about what we can do differently for future innovation because our vision is, we think (someday in the future) video conferencing like Zoom can deliver a better experience than a face-to-face meeting. We are not there yet.
I think if we can, imagine a world where you and I have a call. I can give you a hug. You feel my intimacy. You get a cup of coffee. I can enjoy this remotely, real-time language AI-based translation. I think if we can get us there, to be the first vendor to get us there, I think we can maintain that hypergrowth. That's why we need to think about future innovation.
Michael Krigsman: How do you incorporate these various kinds of use cases and situations? I don't even know. Can you call that a use case, you know, a wedding or a funeral?
Eric Yuan: Michael, frankly speaking, we never thought about that (those new use cases, that they are going to use Zoom) prior to the pandemic crisis. I can tell you, prior to the pandemic crisis, I do not think my kids knew what I'm doing.
On the first day when they joined their online classes, my daughter asked a question, "How do I raise a hand during the Zoom class?" It's the first time, the first day I realized, "Wow, I never thought about that, the K-12 schools."
Like a Zoom marriage, it's also legal in New York. Think about that. It's so sweet, right? You can get married over the Zoom platform. A lot of new use cases, right?
The two people from high school did not see each other for a long time. Seventy years later, they can talk over Zoom and they have weekly calls. You feel very proud if you can help people stay connected.
There are all kinds of new use cases. I work from home for such a long time. Mental health is very important, right? We talk with doctors, you know, telemedicine, telehealth. All those new use cases like online yoga classes, I think they can really help, especially when we are stuck during the pandemic crisis.
Michael Krigsman: We have another question from Twitter, again from Arsalan Khan. He's an attentive listener, and he asks, "How do you encourage your ecosystem to understand, accept, and align to your culture?"
Eric Yuan: As I mentioned earlier, we need to keep everything open and transparent. Share with them whatever you are doing, to share with our ecosystem.
Last year, I had the weekly webinar. Now I have a monthly webinar and share the privacy and security, share whatever we're doing, and also the audience can ask any questions. That's one.
Two is, make sure you sit down with the customers, the partners, or developers from your ecosystem. That's why, based on feedback, we have doubled down on our SDK business. Also, we're going to announce Zoom apps as well to make sure third parties can build all kinds of integrations and also embed the different context into the Zoom interface as well. That's a way for us to care about our ecosystem.
Sit down. Listen to them first. Then take action.
How to balance customer experience and business profitability?
Michael Krigsman: I'm sure there are times when you have to make a choice between investing in stakeholder happiness—whether it's your employee happiness, customer happiness, ecosystem, partners and their happiness and satisfaction—where you have to choose between that and the costs and the impact on profitability, what have you. How do you make those balance between happiness and meeting business goals?
Eric Yuan: I think our principle here at Zoom is (before we make any decision) we always want to make sure every decisionmaker always asks three questions for every decision: Will this decision benefit our customers? Will this decision benefit our employees? Will this decision be sustainable or not? We really do not look at profitability or other metrics.
Like last year, we decided to offer the free services to K-12 schools, around 25 countries, 125,000 K-12 schools. No one (I can tell you) at Zoom challenged, "Hey, what if the cost is high? What's the impact to the profitability, to cash flow?" Nobody even asked that question.
Everyone thought, "Yes, this will benefit our community, benefit the country, benefit society. We should do it."
As for profitability or cash flow, all those financial metrics are just a short-term metric. It's not sustainable. The sustainable metrics we care about is to make sure we bring more value to our customers and also care about our employees more.
Michael Krigsman: You've operationalized this notion of customer happiness so that it filters through the decisions that you make but also, as you were talking, the culture through these questions which then drive decision-making processes throughout the company.
Eric Yuan: Yes, not only decisions that I make, my direct reports, all the managers, because that's kind of our business principle at Zoom for every decision. No matter who made that decision, always ask those three questions before you make a final decision.
Michael Krigsman: We have another question from Twitter. This is from Constance Woodson who wants to know how do you think about a full-cycle recruitment process and, during recruitment, what's most important. What are the things that you look at?
Eric Yuan: Even prior to the pandemic crisis, we always talk about how to recruit employees. We have an internal process and policy. Our business principle on recruiting new employees is to look at two things: they have motivation and self-learning. That business principle remains the same.
We really do not look at your background that much, meaning which company you worked for before, which university you graduated from, what you did before. We really focus on two things: self-motivation, making sure you can motivate yourself when you have downtime and you are facing the challenges. Also, you would like to learn. You want to be proactive to learn, the self-learning. Those two things are extremely important when we look at hiring new employees.
Also, the challenge, especially last year, came from the onboarding process. It used to be we flew all the employees to our headquarters for one week. We'd get together, you know, nice in-person meetings, dinners or lunch, to get to know each other.
Now, this onboarding process is completely different. It's very challenging.
The new employees do not know each other. Existing employees and new employees, also don't know each other.
I cannot shake hands and give them a hug, right? We cannot have dinner together.
How do you improve your onboarding process to embrace remote workers? That's very challenging. We're still learning. We're still on the way to learn.
How to overcome the difficulties in the remote working period?
Michael Krigsman: One of the questions that I've been asked a number of times – I recently did, for example, a webinar for Slack, and this came up – is, during this period of remote working, how do you bring in remote folks and establish the kind of informal, comfortable communications that happen so easily in an office but seems very difficult to do when you need to set up, you know, let's have a meeting at 10:00? It eliminates the kind of spontaneity, so how do you overcome that? Do you have any thoughts or ideas?
Eric Yuan: There's no need to schedule so many meetings. We also use the chat functionality as well, right? Quite often, just to say, "Michael, I have a question," send you a chat message, and we can get things sorted out.
If needed, I can, just with one click, call you. You and I can talk for five minutes – a lot of instant meetings. No need to schedule.
Also, meeting very fast, just five minutes or ten minutes. Also, we do not like to schedule long meetings, especially for five or ten people for a one-hour meeting. It's very costly. Especially, don't schedule back-to-back meetings. Leverage just a chat message, instant meetings, shorter meetings.
Also, on Wednesdays here, there is no internal meeting on Wednesdays because we want to give our employees more time to think, to make sure they focus on their work. A lot of the time, you even do not need to schedule a meeting.
Michael Krigsman: You've been growing so rapidly. What are the kind of challenges that come up when a company is growing so explosively?
Eric Yuan: You need to make sure. The employees are already working extremely hard. You've got to do help them, right? That's why we more than double the size of a company.
You need to have more resources to help you out. Otherwise, the employees, they're already burnt out. Every day is 24 hours. Make sure you think about how to hire more resources to help. That's number one.
Number two is, make sure the employees really understand the company's vision. Make sure they understand every day they're working so hard for what.
That's the big dream, right? We all want to have the world to have people stay connected. Do not always let us think about, "Oh, every day we're so busy." Think about, in the long run, what you can achieve by working hard, by delivering happiness to customers. Make sure they understand that.
Also, make sure to care about them, right? Do more things proactively. Don't let employees complain about something and then you do something. It's too late. You look at everything, all the managers, senior executives, look at it from the employees' perspectives.
Last year, we doubled our healthcare benefits, free grocery delivery, and more mental health help. You might get some speakers and, based on feedback, we are doing so many things proactively to care about our employees.
How does Zoom encourage employee well-being?
Michael Krigsman: We have another question from Twitter. This is from Jeff Sussna who is asking, "How do you ensure that it's not just a matter with employees of sink or swim? What kind of support do you give to employees to ensure that they can do their best under these very trying circumstances?" Again, it's an employee happiness issue.
Eric Yuan: When it comes to employees, I think that would start from a hiring process. You want to hire those employees that really share the value. They want to come to Zoom. They want to make the world a better place. They really want to have and build a solution to have people stay connected. I think it should start from that first.
After they join Zoom and also, as I mentioned earlier, they understand, the employees of Zoom, we do care about them. Ultimately, we want to make sure. Also, we want to make sure our employees. Why do you work for Zoom? What's the definition of success?
We communicate very well with our employees. Every time new employees are in these meetings I always share with our employees. I want to make sure all of us, all the employees (existing employees, new employees, myself included) every day we think about what we can do differently to become a better version of ourselves.
You add more and more value to yourself first and, in 10 or 20 years when you retire and you look back, you will say, "Yeah, I enjoyed working for Zoom. Guess what. I became a better version of myself." I think that's the definition of success.
As long as employees are aware of that, they would like to learn, they motivate themselves, they become better versions of themselves. Guess what. Our business will continue growing and our business will be happy. Employees will also be happy too.
Michael Krigsman: It seems to me that that creates a very significant burden for you or anybody that is talking about it this way because, if you don't follow through, then you will lose trust because people will think, "Oh, it's just pretty words but without meaning." You're creating a very high bar for yourself.
Eric Yuan: Very true. That's the reason why trust is everything. Speed of Trust, that's a wonderful book. The author is Stephen Covey. That's our favorite book. Every employee at Zoom, we highly recommend they read that book.
With trust, I think everything is easier because they are not going to challenge your intention. They trust you. They know you want to help them out. That's why it's easier.
Otherwise, quite often the problems come from you have great intention. You want to make a decision. They do not trust you. Then you have an execution problem.
Michael Krigsman: During the course of this last year, as Zoom just became so widely known, it put you personally, it put Zoom under the spotlight and such intense scrutiny. I can hardly imagine what that would be like. What's it like being [laughter] basically scrutinized by everybody all the time on a national basis?
Eric Yuan: Yeah, so on the one hand it's a great question. A lot of people mentioned, "Wow, you need to go through all the scrutiny. Very challenging."
I do not look at it that way. I would say we are all trying to help us from different angles. Even positive, really bad, even the negative, very bad PR, whatever, I think they are all trying to help us.
If we get something done right, this is great. Thank you for creating Zoom.
If we did not do something right, maybe we do not know it. They tell us. We are going to fix that.
Keep everything open and transparent. Guess what. Who is going to benefit? Zoom. We become a better and stronger company, even if it's challenging.
Last year, I had the most sleepless nights than any time in my career. But it turned out the company has become better and stronger because we wanted to leverage that opportunity to make sure we double down and triple down on our execution to make sure any feedback we received, right or wrong. Take a step back. Do we really have that problem? If we do, fix that. If we don't, it's great. Double down on that.
It's always good. I do not think that's scrutiny. I would say they are helping us.
Michael Krigsman: I was kind of laughing (when you were talking) a little bit because I'm thinking to myself it's very hard when the entire world is kind of screaming at you and yelling at you. It's very hard to sit back and adopt that attitude, "Well, all of these people are helping us." It's a very healthy attitude, but it's really, really hard to do.
Eric Yuan: Yeah, because looking back, I can tell you, Michael. Seriously, I appreciate it for all those feedback. Even sometimes some other people mention, "Oh, that may not be fair." I think everything is fair. All the feedback, I appreciate because, ultimately, we are benefitting from that. We've become a better and stronger company.
Michael Krigsman: I do remember years ago when we first met and Zoom was growing quickly, but it was a much smaller company than it is now. I would send you emails of feature suggestions or I have a particular use case relating to CXOTalk. I do remember, at that time, you always responded very quickly, and so that attitude that you've described, I think, is something that's not new for you or for Zoom. I will say that.
Eric Yuan: By the way, Michael, you know that quite a few of the important features actually came from your feedback. If we ignore your feedback, if we do not respond, guess what. We do not have those innovations.
That's why we take those feedback seriously. Always, it will benefit our company. It benefits our product because we listen to good users like you.
How does Zoom balance profitability against innovation?
Michael Krigsman: We have another question from Twitter from Lisbeth Shaw who says, "It's important for employees to know why they're working so hard. What is the why? Is it the core mission? Is it to make money? Again, how do you balance the multiple interests that now you're a public company?"
Eric Yuan: I think, first of all, I would say it's everything – first. There's no one driver. It's a mixture of everything, right? You cannot say, "Oh, you probably work harder because it's the vision." It's everything, right? That's one.
Two is, when our employees work hard, make sure they understand that also will help them to let them grow to become a better version of themselves because, essentially, if you work hard and learn so many things, learn new skills, you know how to communicate, you know how to lead, you know how to write better code. Guess what. You are getting better.
When you are getting better, our business will benefit from that. Also, the value you learned, you gained by working hard, it's always with you. That's your value.
Michael Krigsman: What kind of metrics do you have or how do you think about the metrics for the success of your culture? Are they just financial metrics? Are there other kinds of metrics? How do you evaluate that?
Eric Yuan: I do not think that one metric can measure that. However, you can look at it from so many different angles, different metrics.
First of all, we're a public company. You've got to keep growing. If you think you're doing something right, for sure you can keep growing your business.
Somehow, if your business does not grow, you've got to understand what happened because employees may not be happy. That for sure is driven by financial metrics. That's one.
Two is, you also need to do a lot of surveys. Make sure. Try to solicit feedback. We have an all-hands meeting and employees can ask any questions anonymously. Based on those questions, we understand what they are thinking and what they're feeling.
That's why we also have a Happiness Crew team at Zoom. All those employees volunteer and come up with some ideas ... [indiscernible, 00:33:36] care about employees because sometimes all those ideas are coming from our employees. I think, with so many smaller things, together we try to get a sense of what's the feeling from our employees.
Michael Krigsman: You have a happiness team at Zoom.
Eric Yuan: Yeah, we do. Yeah.
Michael Krigsman: That's pretty interesting.
Eric Yuan: Yeah, it's all-volunteer. Employees volunteer. We do not have a full-time job on that. Just the employees, remote, of different offices, they organize. We call it a Happiness Crew to help us.
What is the post-pandemic future of work?
Michael Krigsman: Do you have a view on where the world of work is going into this next period of time?
Eric Yuan: One thing for sure I know is we are not going to go back to the office five days a week. That will change forever. The way for us to work, to learn, to live, and play is different after the pandemic crisis.
Essentially, we already did a stress test. When we are all working from home, by and large, there's no productivity loss. Of course, there are some other side effects like anxiety, depression, mental health, and a lot of work. We need to fix that.
Having said that, I think the way for us to work in the future will be hybrid work. But there are multiple ways to support hybrid work. Meaning, two days or three days in the office or at home, or maybe this week we all work from home, or this office today is working from home and that office in the other city can work in the office. There are multiple ways to support that.
Overall, I think we need to give employees flexibility. We cannot force every employee to come to the office five days a week. You are going to lose all those employees to your competitors.
Michael Krigsman: We have another question from Twitter. You can see I take the questions from Twitter. I love getting the questions from Twitter and from LinkedIn.
When a company has hypergrowth for a sustained period, compromises must be made. And so, how do you balance the mission of customer happiness against the operational challenges associated with just sustained growth, such as you've experienced?
Eric Yuan: Actually, every day, we are facing that kind of a challenge. You are so right. Sometimes, there's no perfect solution.
Let's say you have a new feature, a new innovation, and you really want to release it out as quickly as possible. However, the enterprise customers or consumers, they like that. Maybe telehealth, telemedicine, or online classroom, they do not like that. How do you balance that? How do you compromise?
That's why things are indeed getting harder. However, the way for us to look at that is to make sure we always are doing the right thing at the cost of the speed a little bit.
It used to be speed is everything at Zoom. We were a startup company just moving quickly, as fast as we can just to keep growing. Don't worry. If you make a mistake, fix that and move forward. That was always our mantra before.
Now, given the size of the company, given the importance, we cannot do that anymore. We want to make sure we're doing the right things for us. Even sometimes we have to sacrifice speed.
Some of the features we already delete several times. The reason why is we want to make sure we look at all the scenarios and make sure we don't let any users down. Unfortunately, that's a compromise, but you have to do that.
Michael Krigsman: You started out as an enterprise software company. Can you say that there are significant differences in the way the company runs, how you manage and lead now that you're both enterprise and so broadly consumer-based?
Eric Yuan: For enterprise customers, the way we work normally, we work together with enterprise IT teams or CIOs. You share with them in everything. We call that POC. They can test your service before they deploy, before they roll it out to all the employees. You can enable some features and disable some features.
But when it comes to first-time consumers, they do not have an IT team, so not only do you offer the service to them, but also you play the role of IT. You need to make sure what kind of features you want to turn on.
We made a lot of changes. By default, the password is there. Meeting rooms for the K-12 schools. We do not show the meeting ID. A lot of things. The reason why we're doing that is we wanted to embrace those new users, consumers, new use cases. That's very, very important.
Advice to business leaders from Eric Yuan, Zoom CEO
Michael Krigsman: Eric, as we finish up, what advice do you have to other business leaders who are struggling with trying to balance growth and improving customer experience at the same time? I think a lot of business leaders have real trouble with this, managing that issue.
Eric Yuan: I think all of us, we all want to maintain the high growth or maintain the growth, for sure. But sometimes, some growth is not sustainable. Don't look at the short-term growth. Look at the long-term, sustainable growth.
Sometimes, you have to take a step back. You feel like you are going to slow down and you're not focused on speed. Guess what. In the future, you can come back with hypergrowth. However, you always focus on the short-term results, doing a lot of things without thinking through, and (down the road) I think we'll come back. Your growth will be stalled.
That's why I say always look at everything. That's the reason why at Zoom, before I make a decision, I always ask the question, is that decision sustainable or not? That's why if there's conflict between a short-term gain and long-term, always focus on long-term.
Michael Krigsman: That's your philosophy for guiding Zoom, the decisions, and the culture inside Zoom?
Eric Yuan: Yes, absolutely.
Michael Krigsman: Well, unfortunately, we are out of time. Eric Yuan, thank you so much for taking the time to be with us here today.
Eric Yuan: Thank you for having me, Michael. I really appreciate your time. Thank you.
Michael Krigsman: Everybody, thank you for watching. Now, before you go, please subscribe to our YouTube channel and hit the subscribe button at the top of our website so we can send you our really great newsletter. Thanks so much, everybody, and we will see you again next week. Have a great day. Bye-bye.
Published Date: May 28, 2021
Author: Michael Krigsman
Episode ID: 709