Data insights drive Zoom innovation

Zoom aims to use a customer insight platform to innovate in an uncertain economy.
16 December 2022

How do you move forward in challenging times? Customer insights are key to Zoom’s strategy.

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While it’s been in business since 2011, it’s fair to say that Zoom really came into its own during the Covid-19 pandemic, between 2019-21, as an easy-to-use go-to way to help keep both business and personal communication alive and well in a brief but deadly era when face-to-face proximity was actively dangerous. Subsequently, it’s become a familiar part of the “post-Covid” working world as the hybrid model settles into place as a growing reality for most businesses around the world. But if you ever thought that’s all it is, we have a memo for you. Zoom is evolving and adapting to meet the broader needs of the post-Covid world – and the growing challenges of a world in which video conferencing is increasingly ubiquitous. We caught up with Jim Mercer, Zoom’s Global Head of Customer Success, just as the company was launching a new partnership with the Gainsight customer success platform, to help expand and scale the capabilities of Zoom even further.


People often think of Zoom as a key technology that got us through the pandemic. What can a customer success platform add to its offering? And why deploy one now?


You’re right in that that’s probably how lots of people think of Zoom, but we always want to innovate, and we want to do it at breakneck speed. That’s great, but these are challenging macroeconomic times, which means there are headwinds to fight if you want to innovate and grow. We can’t do anything about those headwinds themselves, but we’re in the position to be able to govern our own response to them.

Data builds the certainty to innovate.

In challenging macroeconomic times, if you want to innovate at speed, you have to get certainty where you can, and where we can get certainty is through customer insights. In fact, in times like these, it’s imperative that we’re laser-focused on those customer insights. Gainsight is like an additional lens, almost like a microscope that really helps us supercharge the insights that we already have.

We have pretty robust dashboards across our product suite already, but ensuring that those insights are actionable to the relevant teams is really important right now, because they’ll allow us to be more proactive along the customer journey. Traditional customer success tools always seem to be either purpose-built and/or siloed just for customer success (CS) teams, where I think sometimes the challenge is how we spread and disseminate those great insights across all customer-facing teams.

Typically, there are either licensing challenges or they become just another tool to throw into the tool chest of a seller, and that chest can quickly become clunky. Gainsight really helps us to transcend that, and we always want to transcend the status quo in regard to platform technologies. This isn’t necessarily something new for us – when I joined Zoom in late 2015, we implemented our incumbent tool now. Really, using Gainsight is predicated on how we can scale our proactive outreach and engagement across a wide customer base.

An orchestrated journey.

How do we continue to scale that thoughtful outreach to the masses? Part of our decision was predicated on answering that question and really looking at adoption. We want to elevate that digital touch, so one of the key wins for us with Gainsight was the journey orchestrator. That should give us relevant insights across the board, and guide how we engage our customers. And the visibility of those insights across our teams was super important for us, too.


So it’s kind of a case of the tool that you have right now being the right tool for 5-6 years ago. And now you need to do something more to navigate these, as you say, headwinds?


Yes, for sure. And again, customer success isn’t just the customer success team’s business. We’re all customer success advocates across all teams at Zoom.

The power of scale.


Why Gainsight? There are handfuls of customer success platforms out there.


There are three broad strands to the answer. The first is that as we continue to innovate our own platform, we need partners such as Gainsight that can continue to partner at scale and innovate alongside of us.

The second is that we want to elevate that digital touch strategy I mentioned, and our previous tool was good for the time, but there were some gaps there. And as I say, elevating your digital touch strategy during challenging macroeconomic times, you need better customer insights so you’re able to do more with less. And the journey orchestrator tool should help us tie in what our customers are doing, or more importantly, what they’re not doing within our tools, to ensure that we tailor our engagement strategy properly. That’s super important for what we do. Again, just for context, we just rolled out Gainsight in the last couple of weeks, and this is by far the easiest, fastest timeline I’ve ever been a part of as far as migrating from one tool to another is concerned.

And the third strand is getting better insights across all relevant customer-facing teams. Gainsight lets us put fresh insights in the hands of our specialized teams, rather than just have them siloed with the CS team, and that cross-functional insight is extremely important to us.


In Part 2 of this article, we take a look into the ways Gainsight is likely to help Zoom expand and scale from here – including some lessons for technology businesses facing similar economic “headwinds” in 2023.