Talking the modern workplace and customer experience with John Knightly CMO at BlueJeans

January 13, 2020
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Joe:

00:00

welcome to the DNA and experience podcast from Cloud App, where we discuss how and why creating an experience is so important in the psychology behind what makes an experience so great. Thanks for joining us. Good morning and Happy New Year to everyone. I am so excited today to have the CMO of Blue Jeans network John Knightley with me. John was at adobe  just like myself. We had a little bit of overlap there and have been chatting for a few months about getting together on a linked in live podcasts opportunity and so excited to host him today because Blue Jeans has really been an innovator in kind of connecting remote work and the modern workplace adobe We use blue jeans, and it was a great way to connect visually with people. Um, video conference being became the standard when I was kind of leaving Adobe. Uh, and it was always nice to be able to, uh, being in Utah office versus being at headquarters, be able, connect visually with people so excited have John and I'll let give him a chance to give a little bit of his background and things. He is excited about blue jeans for 2020 and then we'll go into kind of some questions about customer experience.

John:

01:32

Awesome. Thank you, Joe. It's really great to be on your show here. Um and, uh, for those of you guys who aren't familiar with blue jeans, Joe kind of gave you the high level. We're about $100 million. SAS company focused on helping teams be more productive meeting over video, You know, around the world, whether it's on mobile, whether it's on desk top in the browser, on conference rooms, Tums. And so, um, I've been, you know, personally intact most of my career from very early stage startups to yo midsize companies all the way up to, like, Fortune 100 type of tech companies. But in loving the right here, blue jeans, it's great, too. Not only help people be more productive, and it worked, but also, you know, we just did our 2019 round up, and you have saved, uh, something like 24 million tons of of carbon, right? Just people not having to get on their planes being able to get their work done that way. So Ah, a lot of fun.

Joe:

02:36

Cool Yeah, And it it brings up, you know, kind of the modern workplace is is something we talked about a lot. Here at cloud app and how Ah, a lot of people are working more remotely. We have some data that we released a couple of months ago about how 57% of Gen. Z is working the majority of the week remotely. And so it kind of brings up a couple of questions. One is kind of How does, uh, how do you kind of see the modern workplace evolving and are those How do you kind of create an experience for your employees first, uh, with them not necessarily coming to those really cool headquarters all the time that it used to be. And then secondarily, how do you How are you creating any experience for four customers in kind of the modern business world?

John:

03:33

Yeah, well, you know, you mentioned Gen Z. So if you think about over 50% of the workforce now is Gen. Z Millennials and folks who basically grew up with mobile phones in her hands, you know, thinking about video chat, emojis, texting, snap chatting all those things and email with something their parents did. Right? So, you know, how do we kind of shift from this more paper driven, sequential sort of process too? Uh, you know, just letting workflow it different moments, depending on where you are and nuts or being fettered by more this notion of a structured meeting or structure document and things like that. So, you know, we also did some surveys and saw that you not only are our people in a lot of meetings, but there's a lot more of the sort of five minutes of stand up quick meeting to come out of a slack or, ah, teams chat or whatever, where your hate can we just connect for a few minutes, get something done? And then the other thing we're seeing with meetings is how do we actually turn them into, you know, to take them from, you know, ah, scenario where it's very formal and you're coming in and reporting out on things to actually just like, let's just get work done. Let's just pull up a document and let's just start getting work done, not just talking about getting work done. And so you know, we did a survey as well earlier this year and, you know, basically found it. About 31% of meetings in a work week were rated by team members and managers is either not very useful or completely worthless. Ah, and if you sort of add that up, it adds up just in the U. S. Private sector, 11 to, over $400 billion of waste every year. And so part of this is like, can we just kind of let people reclaim their calendars, figure out how to be kind of more productive, be able to get their own work done so they can go home to their families and friends or their gym or whatever they like to do in their private time and not have to be shifting all of their own sort of core work deep work whatever to the evenings and weekends, but have time in their calendars to get that stuff done during the day? And then, as you mentioned their whole remote work thing, I've worked at places where you know, there was the be in the office kind of scenario, and I would go to commute in for an hour and 1/2 to the office and all my team members were not in yet, but they were dispersed over multiple locations around the world. And I'm like, Why am I driving to the office? To then hop on a call with everybody like, let's just get rid of that stuff. And instead of shipping the talent to the work that ship the work to the talent in that way we can hire the best people no matter where they are. If they want to go skiing in Utah, we're gonna hire you in Utah and off to the races, right? Or we're gonna hire someone in wherever else, Right? Um so I think the whole workplaces shifting. I think it's a good thing, cause they're finally waking up to it. There's a war for talent. You want to get the best people don't feder them with all these, you know, crazy rules and responsibilities like let's get higher, great talent unleashed them, let them get to be creative and get their work done and then have a great sort of set of cloud tools, uh, whether it's blue jeans or whether, like you're in marketing and you wanna capture great content, we love cloud app. We use you guys here for our marketing. Let's just make it easy for people to get done. What they need to get done.

Joe:

07:18

Yeah, I think that's a really interesting point. There's, ah, there's a nice blend of like on site connection. And then once you've had kind of that meet up, you know, quarterly or twice a year, whatever it might be is a team. Then you can have your blue jeans videoconferencing that connects you that way. And then, uh, yeah, when I was when I was at Adobe, you know, I managed a lot of people in a pack, and it was kind of nobody was really happy to do a call early in the morning or late at night. We used cloud app for that like a synchronous communication and kind of, you know, pairing all those three things together really forms kind of the modern workplace, right? As far as, you know, he brought up a lot of good pain points and reasons why someone would kind of seek out like a blue jeans to kind of solve some of those those pain points. What is kind of Ah, what is the DNA of an experience look like from provided from blue jeans. Uh, what do you guys try? And, you know, set yourself apart along the process to really creating experience from acquisition to that No long point, long term loyal customer.

John:

08:36

Yeah. So, you know, uh, great brands, um, following by relentlessly delivering on their brand promise. And in our case, if our brand promises, you know, making teams more productive by connecting them over high quality video audio through the cloud. Our opportunity, then, is to do this extremely well and over every meeting scenarios and not just when you're in a, um you know, the corporate office. But when you're at home when you're in an airport, when you're on your commute, like if we can really get it so that it works wherever you are, that's really critical. And then, you know, part of the marketing then becomes when our customers were using blue jeans and bite their customers or their vendors to a meeting using our platform. If we're performing well in all those scenarios that the network effect right that those other people get exposed to blue jeans And so I think part of delivering a great customer experience for our customers. Then it becomes our marketing right through a network effect of Hey there, vendors. Their customers are are exposed to our platform. And if we're doing well in those scenarios, it's a great opportunity for us. You know, on the marketing side, you kind of mentioned that part of the customer experience starts was when someone's researching a product and kind of does this fit my needs or not that my needs and one of the areas where we're trying to differentiate is by, you know, once once people sort of solved the video works, the audio works. The screen share works kind of what's next with meetings, some of the people in our space air going into things like telephony or chat, we sort of feel like those are areas that are solved well by other products. And so we're really focusing on the meeting itself in making that meeting more productive. And so, you know, we talked about the 30% wasted meetings. How do we unable you too confidently skip a meeting if you're not really essential? Like 48% of the people who surveyed attending meetings for fear of missing out, right? And how do we get rid of media faux mo If you will help him and just say, Hey, we're gonna give you a highlight reel, whether it's the action items, the key decisions, those kind of things. So you don't have to If you miss a 90 minute being, you don't have to sit through a 90 minute, um, video recording or, you know, a 12 page transcript. You could just get a 12 highlight reel like an ESPN SportsCenter reel of the meeting. We'll have those highlights, and we call that Blue Jean smart meetings. And so part of kind of that that's a new concept for people. It's not something that well understood and to make that sort of easy for people that digested, understand? That's actually where we use cloud app, right? We said, you know, we can put a lot of we've been trying to texture describe this and everything is gonna be People will be scratching their heads. What is this? Actually, let's just actually video the product, be used well, spice in some, you know, video recordings of a team having a meeting, and that's what we ended up using for smart being function October. We had video up on the main the home page for a month. It's now in our smart being stage. You can check it out, but we used Cloud have to do that because you know, no one has. The patient's, frankly, to sift through a long document, trying to describe something. If you can show him in video, it's a lot better. And so part of that customer acquisition is Hey, let's make it dirt simple to understand what it is we're talking about. Then you condone. Let's try to make it as simple as possible to try a lit right. Try it out, see if it works for you and then, you know, obviously, hopefully, once you decide to become a customer, we make it easy with tips and wizards and chats and things like that to help you continue to get more knowledge about it. And then we also for larger enterprise, have great customer care people that you help you through adoption and and, you know, continue tune your usage across the multinational type of scenario, where you have a lot of different people using it in lots of countries and offices and things like that.

Joe:

12:41

Yeah, I love that. I love that smart meetings launch because you make a really good point, especially  in those, like enterprise companies, like an adobe, if I feel like, especially at the more junior levels. Um, there was almost like people felt some prestige going to meetings for summer. Um, obviously, after being there while you that wears off and you're kind of like I'm over this, you know, meetings all day and then I do actual work at home. All right, so it's Yeah, nice toe. Nice to have some options to speed that up. And when I was leaving there, one of the things hacky things I did without necessarily a product was I just started scheduling those, like 5-15 minute meetings. Like you said, it's like I know you. We talked casually all the time. We don't need to, like, have this fluff conversation like, let's just cut to the meat. Let's do dinner any minute, call and then we'll be done will go back to the like, normal, normal life. Yeah, And then I cut all of my our meetings in tow like 45 minute ones, and started adding more of an agenda and, like we all work with each other enough that we don't need to, like, talk about the NFL playoffs or whatever for 10 minutes, the meeting like, let's just cut that out. And we can save that for another time. I wonder. Whatever. And let's just be really proactive in the meeting. So, you know, Blue Jeans really helped enable that. And I think the smart meetings. This is really interesting addition to that. Um, as far as you know, I think you answered a couple of things about what you guys are doing is a company water. Well, there's there's, like, 10 companies, especially that are kind of, like cloud app size and then obviously much larger ones that I would love to look like. But I'm not quite there yet. Resource is wise, um, that I really pull from and emulate things and really admire, uh, water. What's that kind of a company you've had a recent good experience with, um and what did they kind of do to set themselves apart?

John:

14:59

Yeah. So I thought of you sent me that question. I'm thinking about it. And I mean, obviously we we work in Tech, and there's a lot of tech companies and cloud companies that are doing some great stuff. But I was also thinking about some more traditional kind of recent experiences. I had, um, and it get cuts to the heart. I think of customer experience that it's about thinking about. Are you are the things that you're doing? Are they in service of what the customer wants to achieve? Are they in service of what you one of achieve? And you need to really make sure you're thinking about what the customer wants achieve and so simple example? I was traveling over the holidays and ah, yo, I have well, actually have both Hertz and Avis kind of, um, premier status or whatever. But just that notion of walking in and having my name and knowing that the car's ready, uh, makes me more loyal. Because if I go to a another company, if I'm I know that, then I'm gonna have to get off the airplane. I've got in my family about all the bags and everything. We're going to stand in line and wait to get the car right, so that would be one example of customer experience. Another one was recently, uh, banking experience and I don't know. Yeah, I believe it. And I still have some CDs. I don't People are even doing it these days.

Joe:

Yeah, but the interest rates are so crappy on savings accounts,like, can I get a little bit more somewhere? So the thing that always hated about CDs is they again seems stacked up in the bank's favor in the sense that when a CD comes to maturity, you have, like, a six day window to quickly decide. Are you gonna flip this thing to the next another whatever time period? Or do you need this to go into a savings account or whatever and you'd have typically call And, you know, I would sometimes miss those windows, and then it's like, Well, it's too late. It's looking over now. So I hope you have enough cash, you know, for that clock, right. So, uh, this time I Marcus, they're actually owned by Goldman Sachs, but it's just in online banking thing. I went in because at a seedy maturing, and they made it so simple. They're like, you want it to flip over. You wanted to go into your savings account. You want whatever. And you could just do it online. And you're not calling 800 numbers and waiting on hold and all that kind of thing, I think. Okay, that's that's the model where yeah, maybe they would want it to flip over, But they're really putting the customer first saying, How do we make it convenient for you? Not What do we want you to do and got to be earned? My loyalty? L I'd rather stay with them, even if it's a slightly lower interest rate. Just because I know I've got more control, right?

John:

17:44

Yes. You know, same And software, right? How do we How do we think through the custom, what the customer trying to do like And we're having this own internal discussion around, like, web website forms like you want to get data on customers. But you're basically doing that for you, Not for them. And so how do you kind of get the right balance for you? Don't make it friction free for the customer prospect or whatever. And yet you'll get enough data that you can appropriately serve them, right?

Joe:

18:17

Yeah. Yeah, there's that you brought up a good point of balance. I think, you know, there, taking that banking example, the SAS. It's like, yeah, you want it to be hard for a customer to cancel. Um, but is that best for the customer? You know, you had a kind of, like, find that that place of, like, creating enough friction that they maybe think about if they really want to cancel but not making it. So they have to, like, call that 800 number and, you know, wait online, wait on hold or whatever. And I have a bad experience on. Better yet, no great customer.

John:

18:59

Yeah, And better yet, like, what do we need to do relentlessly to continue to earn your business? So if you know, we you know, the whole something. We didn't really get into that much. But the whole, uh, keep peace about customer experiences is really listening and continuing to involve customers in your design and your UX i kind of thought processes. Um, you know, we see experiences is really everything in a way, and I say experience with a biggie because part of it's about yo usability and convenience and things like that, but part of the biggie and experience is also thinking through things like security, privacy, um, accessibility, for example. So you can have a great, um,  kind of front end experience. And then you exposed customers to a vulnerability or, ah, fraud or something like that. And you have a pretty big fail in your brand, right? Um, and with accessibility, for example, that's another one where it's like, How do you design within everyone, being able to use your tool in an open and accessible way and make that not a checkbox item but actual core principles for the way you deliver your experiences? We've got some really forward thinking customers who have been really great in helping us think through those things and start to say, You know, this could be a really advantage if we can really design with all users all audiences in mind and have that have that great experience. And so ultimately, at the end of the day, the reason someone decides not to turn is because they feel like you're really delivering on your brand promise. The reason they brought you in the first place and hopefully we hopefully we  keep those folks is loyal customers, right?

Joe:

20:54

Yes. It's something I have learned a lot. Coming into this role is how crucial feet the feedback loop is. Mmm. No, Like our  CEO is like personally reaching out to, like, a couple of people that were frustrated on Twitter or something. You know, a couple of months ago when we switched over to a new system and he's, you know, doing ah, personal quick call with them to really listen to them here their frustrations asked them how they think it could be done. Better consider putting that in the road map. And I think you nailed that right on the head is like finding ways to get that feedback. Not taking anything personally, really kind of understanding what can make it better. And, uh, really enabling those customers.

John:

21:49

Yeah, customers I know in our space and sounds like in your space to customers are pretty pre prompt to let you know something isn't working right. So social media is an easy way now for people's event. Something not great. Um, way do customer advisory boards as well. And we do a lot of sessions we like to go, you know, while our pride in our case. A lot of times, a primary buyer might be the I T or the user, uh, the unified communications specialist and company. The reality is our suffers used by a lot of non I t people, right? And so part of our mission is to make sure we're getting in front of end users. Just see how they using it, where things not obvious. How can we continue to improve and make their lives easier? Uh, because at the end of the day, they kind of want to be able to get their job done. Um, whether it's a marketing person using your software or, you know, an executive who wants to communicate through video or, in our case, people who wanna meet or have Ah, great video event. Uh, so how do you make that super easy? And so I think the this whole experience economy is I mean, we know and we live and breathe it in the fast world. But, you know, car companies were trying to be, you know, like transportation experience cos air conditioning companies were trying to be like building experience cos right, and they're taking these physical products and trying to wrap them with digital and with data and with insight, and then be able to actually, you'll continue to improve and adjust to consumer realities and things like that. So I think it's exciting. I mean, and being sufferers, you have that instant feedback around what's going on with your products and how do you take that? I mean, one of our sort of really important journeys around customer experience was, how did we get our mobile experience off the turn? Awesome. Right? So we were three point something in the APP store. Ah, and we're now at 4.7 on Absolute and Google play. And that's been a process of just yes, some of it's going out in testing your stuff in the wild, right? Is it working at Starbucks is working in the airport. Is it working in the car? Um, yeah, you're in our case. We're limited a little bit by band with, like, you. You could only get so great bandwidth when you're out there. But in those scenarios And that's what led us to deliver in our new mobile app, we have a standard mode low data mode and then commute mode No, really trying to make it easy for those users who Fat finger when you're in the car, whatever is so works. And then, you know, Hey, we're gonna tone down the video to keep them up band with for the audio to work in a little low data kind of scenario. So, huh, just relentlessly focusing on the user's. I like Jeff basis, I think, was one of people who always talked about errors, right? If you don't have to call, it's because we have an heir her someplace in our process, right? It wasn't their simple for someone to get something done online. And I'm a believer in that.

Joe:

25:03

Yeah, it's It's a blessing and a curse, like you said, with how quickly people respond to something broken because, you know, obviously that's hard to deal with. But it also means that your integral part of their day right now and so it's, you know, finding finding the ways to hopefully prevent the mistakes as much as possible or the bugs. Yeah, really improved that. So we're kind of in nearing the end here. Let's do now. We've got done a lot of this along the whole conversation but what's kind of your 92nd? Ah, modern workplace crystal ball. What? What do you see happening? Um, what are you guys focused on? What do you think? It's kind of the next the next part of what we evolve into.

Joe:

25:54

Yeah, So, I mean, I think a big one you you basically opened with this is gonna be letting people work how and where they want and providing great tools to do that. Part of what? We're excited about our new technologies coming online, like, 5G. We just had an announcement with Verizon and Samsung around how we're gonna be, you know, enabling the five g enabled workplace that's gonna free up the workplace to be everywhere, not just in an office. Um, and you're gonna get high quality bandwidth and little agency band with the ability to have a HD video conference. It's gonna not just be great for traditional workers, but also, you know, things like remote repair technicians out on, you know, on the tarmac, it in an airport and things like that where they need that high fidelity video. So we see this sort of work anywhere, Uh, any time kind of scenario, And then we also have this huge passion for how do we help people reclaim their calendars and just have the meetings that they really need to be in and get the highlights for the others and that allow people to get their deep work done and, uh, have more time for their physical or mental health and families and friends and skiing and all those good things? Yeah, that's I think that's the the opening goal. Right? Is I mean, we're evolving into this. Uh, it's not there was that whole Twitter blow up a couple weeks ago. You know, people talking about how much they worked, I I think that sure that we're going for with with tools like blue jeans eyes really trying t oh, yeah, like you said, enable people to work, get their work done and be productive, but still be able to have that time outside. That was John. It was super nice having you today. I'm glad we're making able to make it happen. Ah, great way to start the year and look forward to talking again soon.

John:

27:53

Thank you. Really appreciate the opportunity to be with you here.

Joe:

27:58

Thanks for joining the DNA Of an Experienced podcast. We hope you learn something that will help improve your collaboration and enhance the experience you create for your Customer. Join the collaboration 2.0 movement today by getting cloud app; the instant business communication tool used to create instantly shareable videos, screenshots and GiFs perfect for both internal and external communication. Get started for free at www dot get cloud app dot com. Thank you. Look forward to seeing you next time.