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Meet Wendie Michie – Adding a human touch to enterprise communications during the pandemic

Today we have selected Wendie Michie to take her interviewShe is the CEO Of Zoomforth Inc.

Tell us a bit about Zoomforth

Zoomforth is a cloud-based software-as-a-service (SaaS) that provides a secure microsite-building platform to our enterprise clients.

How are you and your team doing in these COVID-19 times?

We’re doing well, thank you. In the last year, with social distancing and travel restrictions in place, we’ve seen several companies, particularly in the professional services sector, turn to interactive, digital tools like ours.

Enterprise teams are using Zoomforth to create microsites for their clients, including videos, live streams, conference call recordings, photos, news feeds, and so on. This has helped them inject a more personal, human touch into their business communications, something that’s been really important in the absence of face-to-face contact.

As far as the team goes, we were already a remote team before the pandemic, so luckily, we didn’t have to change our working practices when it hit.

Tell us about you, your career, how you joined this company?

I’m Wendie Michie, Zoomforth’s CEO. Although the company is based out of Silicon Valley in the US, our team is now global, and I oversee things from the UK.

I was brought into Zoomforth in 2018 by the founders to help the company scale. My background is in financial services, so I have a real affinity with our target market.

Before Zoomforth, I held various board-level roles responsible for everything from sales & marketing to HR, legal, compliance & risk. This experience has helped us create a strong governance framework at Zoomforth, which is important as our customer base includes some of the most highly regulated companies in the world.

When I’m not working, you’ll find me walking the local coastal paths with my two little chihuahuas!

How does your company innovate?

Our product roadmap is determined by current and prospective customer needs. We collect regular feedback from our users and then create feature wish lists on which our customers can vote.

Our Customer Success and Support teams work closely with our Product Designers and Engineers to prioritize the development that will make the biggest difference to our customers’ experience.

We have also just launched a customer feedback forum known as The Zoomforce. This group of customers has volunteered to get involved in product development research, user testing, and feedback cycles.

How has the coronavirus pandemic affected your business, and how are you coping?

From a business perspective, we’ve been fortunate; the pandemic has had a positive impact. As a result, many enterprise firms have brought forward their digital transformation agendas and have begun to invest in tools like ours.

As for how we’re coping, our priority throughout has been our team’s health and well-being. We already had flexible working hours in place. Still, we’ve introduced other initiatives like wellness allowances & mental-health days to help staff cope with the pressure of living through a pandemic.

Some of our staff have had the virus, and some have lost relatives and friends to it. I have been humbled by the strength, resilience, and commitment of the Zoomforth team who, despite all the personal challenges, have shown up consistently for us, day after day. I am extremely thankful to every one of them.

Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?

In March 2020, we created a series of scenario-based financial forecasts to stress-test our financial resilience. We then undertook a cost-reduction exercise, cut out all discretionary spend and put a freeze on hiring.

We’ve learned to run really lean, look out for each other more, and focus only on our business’s essential aspects.

What specific tools, software, and management skills are you using to navigate this crisis?

We had a well-defined business continuity plan before the pandemic began, which has helped us manage the risks posed by staff absences, etc.

As a remote team, we were already using Slack, Asana, and the G-Suite to keep in touch and collaborate. In addition, we have a series of social channels and a weekly ‘Happy Hour’ for people to connect on a non-business level.

In terms of skills, I like to think we have led with compassion and done our best to cultivate a shared sense of purpose over the last year.

Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?

Our nearest competitors are Ceros and Foleon, although their target markets are a little different from ours.

Our microsite-builder is aimed at professionals with little to no design or web development experience, like Pursuits or Bid teams who want to create eye-catching digital sales proposals, RFP responses, or oral presentations.

We stay relevant by listening to our customers and delivering what they need to do their own jobs better.

With a Net Promoter Score (NPS) of +66 against an industry average of +26 (Source: Retently), our customer service is also a huge differentiator.

Your Final Thoughts

 Despite the exceptional challenges the pandemic has thrown at us, it’s been exciting to see the acceleration of digital innovation in the enterprise space.

For example, we serve three of the “Big Four” accountancy firms, and we were really impressed with how quickly they were able to spin up personalized COVID response sites for their own clients using Zoomforth.

There has been a definite shift away from traditional, wordy PDF or PowerPoint-style communication in the last year, in favor of vibrant, personalized, and immersive digital content. We are proud to be supporting so many corporations as they make that transition.

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