Too often are the concepts of ‘workplace’ and ‘happiness’ separated. But when taken together, as Zoom’s CEO Eric Yuan has so successfully demonstrated, a pathway for further happiness is created thus setting in motion a cycle for success.
Founded in 2011, Zoom aspires to creating “a frictionless environment” for businesses and organisations using the company’s video communications platform. Their goal to “make Zoom meetings better than in-person meetings” – a difficult feat that requires the upmost level of reliability, connectivity and trust – seems to have been realised as some of the biggest names spout “There is no other tool that has brought people closer together than Zoom.” (20th Century Fox). And it is these “people” that remain the focus of Yuan’s enterprise.
The happiness philosophy
It is no secret that Yuan’s own personal experiences have largely shaped the culture of the leading video communications company. During his tenure as vice president at a major technology company, Yuan admits that he “did not see a single happy customer”, which in turn impacted on his own happiness. It is this relationship between happy customers and happy employees that underpins Zoom’s operations. In fact, when Zoom filed its S-1 (the document all companies file before going public) it used happy and its derivatives 53 times, illustrating just how important happiness is to their mission.
A platform that delivers happiness
At the core of the communications giant is a platform that “just works”. From past experience, Yuan recognised that other products didn’t evolve at the same rate as its customer’s needs. As Jim Mercer, Zoom’s head of customer success, states “We listen and implement features if enough customers request them”. Yuan himself has even been known to intervene by personally responding over email to customers thinking about leaving the product: “Whenever I saw someone cancelled, I would reply to them to try to understand what had happened.” The mere notion of a billionaire CEO directly responding to a consumer seems far-fetched but it is this level of attention that seems to separate Zoom from the rest.
These efforts to constantly better themselves have not gone unnoticed. When tracking existing customer spending, Zoom’s net dollar expansion rate in fiscal Q3 was over 130% for the sixth consecutive quarter, evidencing that not only are Zoom customers staying on board, they are spending more on their products. Beyond these numbers, Zoom continues to garner high scores across customer review sites, including Gartner Peer Insights, TrustRadius and G2 Crowd, further suggesting Zoom’s customers are, in fact, happy.
Our customers and our employees make each other happy
“Happiness at work is an important metric that should be used when determining who we want to work for and how we want to work” said Comparably CEO Jason Nazar. Naturally, an employee who exhibits positivity, enthusiasm and an eagerness to help will win the affection of a customer much sooner than an unengaged and fundamentally unhappy employee. While this logic appears simple, in practice companies struggle to achieve this. Not Zoom – in both 2018 and 2019 the video-conferencing company ranked in Glassdoor’s Top 5 Places to Work. They were also coined No.1 company for happiest employees by Comparably in 2019 based on anonymous employee feedback submitted to Comparably about fair pay, perks, benefits, and work environment.
Happiness delivers results
Companies that have happy employees show 147% higher earnings per share than their competitors demonstrating that happiness and success go hand in hand: “The sum of their (employees and customers) joy is greater than its parts.”
With customer growth of 67% and a sum in excess of 5 billion monthly meeting minutes in 2019, it seems Zoom is making people happy – at least for now. And while some might question Zoom’s potential for growth given its total addressable market, its CEO views the world’s 1 billion office workers as their true ceiling. As long as Zoom continue to “help users around the world build trust, strengthen relationships, move faster and get meaningful things done”, Zoom will continue to foster the happiness they set out to.
And in true Yuan fashion, “Now, back to work, and back to making people happy.”