Q1: Zenefits has been through a lot of changes in the last few years. What are you focusing on right now?
Yes, we certainly have. I joined Zenefits over three years ago as the fourth member of our Support Team, and have been customer-facing since. I’ve seen it all from the front lines, and am the first to acknowledge that, historically, we sometimes fell short. However, our commitment to our customers is steadfast – we work hard to put the customer first in all that we do. One of our top initiatives is improving customer experience; this means enhancing our product offerings and improving ease of use, as well as focusing on how to provide better support and advisory services. We’re excited to continue to bring the voice of the customer into everything we do.
Q2: What are some of the really hard lessons you’ve learned?
Today, Zenefits is a fundamentally different company --in almost every way. We’ve taken these challenges as an opportunity to evaluate our company, our values, our culture, our products, and our support from top to bottom. We’re now a much stronger company, and a better, more responsive partner to our customers. We see this in our own data like reduced customer support ticket volume, faster support resolution times, and improved customer satisfaction surveys...and we hear it daily in our interactions with customers. I’ll focus on a few of the top lessons learned:
- We’re not only a technology company trying to disrupt insurance, but also a true insurance broker, operating in a highly regulated industry...and we didn’t have our ducks in a row the way they needed to be. The silver lining is we’re now one step ahead on everything as it relates to compliance, and have been able to share these learnings with our customers through our products and services, and with other companies through the free Licensing+ Salesforce application we created.
- There is a fine line between iterating on customer experience, and fundamentally changing customer experience. We need to do a better job of proactively communicating with our customers to let them know about changes, the rationale behind those changes, and how the changes benefit them.
- We’ve learned to not try to be everything to everyone. This means being very disciplined with the products we launch, and the types of customers we service. With our rapid growth came an excitement to please everyone, and our products and service level sometimes fell short, which is unacceptable. We now have a clear focus, and are diligent about deciding what to take on in-house, versus when to partner with best-in-class providers. We choose our integration and service partners carefully and ensure those partnerships offer a seamless customer experience, as each partner is an extension of the Zenefits brand.
We’ve learned a tremendous amount as we evolved from supporting our first customer in 2013, to more than 10,000 customers today. The learning process is continual, but we believe our “tough” lessons are behind us.
Q3: I've heard from OrgOrg'ers who absolutely love Zenefits and find it to be their dream solution that saves them time/money, but also from those who have been disappointed by unresponsive account reps, serious paperwork errors, and dropped balls when taking care of important employee benefit issues. How are you improving not just your technology and products, but your customer support and services?
As mentioned, Zenefits is essentially a new company today. We’ve made improvements across almost every aspect of our business with a focus on improving customer experience at every step.
Let’s start with the service side. Providing best-in-class service is one of our top priorities, and we have several initiatives in motion to get us there. An example is the creation of verticals within our support team to enable deep product specialization. Zenefits offers a broad suite of products and services --it’s virtually impossible for every support rep to know everything.
Another example is smarter support case triaging. We strive to help customers resolve issues as fast as possible, which means getting them to the right person ASAP. Our new online “contact us” process involves intelligent case routing and a call-back model. We’re able to have more effective and efficient dialogue with customers because --behind the scenes-- we capture who they are, and why they’re contacting us. And customers are responding positively to this change! I’m pleased to announce that today we have the highest Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) in Zenefits history with a 4.6 out of 5. (Our goal is to get to a 5, and we won’t stop improving until we get there!) In the coming months, we’ll launch even more channels through which customers can quickly and easily contact us.
On the product side, we recognize our customers have entrusted us to manage critical services and sensitive information (insurance, payroll, etc.) --and with that comes great responsibility to get everything right 100% of the time. We’ve gotten much more disciplined with our releases. This includes more rigorous testing and quality assurance. In addition to our internal processes, we’ve enlisted a company to test our products for hours every day, which enables us to proactively identify and address potential issues.
Q4: You’ve had some pretty big product releases lately. What are people most excited about?
Today, helping customers buy/manage health insurance is just part of what we do, but not the sole focus. Customers really love the interconnectedness of the product: from onboarding to benefits to payroll to third-party integrations – the data just flows! Zenefits is a powerful, all-in-one HR platform that helps employers manage the employee life-cycle, and build stronger benefits to attract and retain talent by making it easy to offer things like commuter benefits, FSA/HSA, and 401(k). Customers are excited about integrations with third-party technologies like Google, Slack, Expensify, Xero, Quickbooks, Greenhouse, and more. Employees love our new mobile app, which allows them to do things like request time off and access their insurance information remotely. We’ve also overhauled many core products --such as Time Off and Documents-- which are more intuitive and functional than ever.
Q5: Tell me about the Zenefits Customer Community. Why’d you decide to launch it, and how’s it going?
We were inspired by OrgOrg and the community you’ve built of tight-knit, collaborative, like-minded business professionals-- and we wanted to launch something similar for Zenefits customers. The Zenefits Customer Community (ZCC) launched in February, and has been a lifeline for many of our admins. It’s buzzing with questions and knowledge-sharing across everything from insurance contribution plans, to improving culture, to making remote employees feel more included.
Q6: In February, Jay Fulcher joined your company as CEO. What are you excited about with Jay?
Jay is a seasoned pro with a successful track record of running companies at scale. He is the right leader at the right time for Zenefits. He brings a wealth of experience, domain knowledge about the HR Tech market (from PeopleSoft), and a very disciplined approach to growth and customer success. Jay brought with him another HR industry veteran, Jeff Carr, who is Zenefits’ COO. Jeff was a leader at PeopleFluent, Saba, Taleo and PeopleSoft. At Zenefits, he’s leading our Sales, Service, and Support organizations. Together, they’re helping create a more operationally-efficient and customer-centric organization. I’m really grateful to work so closely with both Jay and Jeff.
Q7: If OrgOrg members have questions or feedback, how can they get in touch with you?
OrgOrg members can contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. Any feedback is great feedback! Also, in effort to improve our product and service, we’d like to invite Bay Area OrgOrg’ers who are internal HR Admins or external HR Consultants to participate in a luncheon focus group at our new SoMa office in San Francisco. Participants will enjoy lunch and have the opportunity to meet our team, influence our product, and network with one another! If you’re interested, please fill out this four-question form; we’ll follow-up with the date shortly.
Thanks for this opportunity, Kim!