Zenovate founder and CEO Amelia Wilcox, a Salesforce customer, wrote this article.
Like many of you, I was not prepared for COVID-19. Back at the beginning of March 2020, Incorporate Massage was one of the largest and fastest-growing corporate massage firms in the U.S. We were celebrating beating Q1 goals before the end of February and were on pace for the best quarter in our company’s history. In just a few short weeks, the COVID-19 pandemic changed all of that.
All of a sudden, I was the CEO of a corporate chair massage company with three major questions to answer:
What do we do when no one is interested in corporate chair massage?
How do I take care of the 1,200+ massage therapists and administrative staff that relies on us?
How do we do, whatever we need to do, quickly while providing real value to the market?
Fast forward to today, and we are now Zenovate. After many meetings with my leadership team, we decided physical distancing wasn’t going to stop us from helping our clients, especially when people needed stress relief more than ever. We shifted our business from chair massage to virtual stress management. Our customers now have access to a 100% digital experience that includes personal training, wellness coaching, and even massage instruction. And we made that pivot in two weeks.
A major pivot in such a short time period is not for the faint of heart, but for those who are considering making the jump, here are six lessons I learned as we worked to get the business on track and the team back to work.
While it’s easy to assume we know what the customers want, that’s an easy way to build a solution looking for a problem to solve. We decided to have very honest discussions with some of our long-time customers. They were understanding and many surprised us with how much they were willing to help us.
As we continued these discussions, we started to understand their new concerns better. Their employees needed to de-stress from home. Many of these employees had never worked from home before. Some had concerns about hours and schedules, while everyone had concerns about their budget. Many clients thought a combination of prerecorded and live wellness content could help. Plus, leaders at our client companies wanted a nonintrusive way to monitor employee stress levels. This feedback was critical in helping us form what would become our core offering.
After we determined what our customers wanted, we surveyed the massage therapists we partnered with to learn more about their skill sets. We knew many had a range of wellness skills and the response was phenomenal. Beyond being massage pros, some were also experienced personal trainers, meditation instructors, yoga teachers, and more. Our practitioners' willingness to partner with us helped inspire the core offerings on our new platform.
Talking to clients not only gave us an idea of what services they wanted, it also gave us a better understanding of what our new digital experience should look like: content-rich, intuitive to use, and personalized based on role. Employees at client companies could log into the experience and schedule a live session or explore prerecorded content. Leaders with clients could log in to explore a wellness dashboard. We took that feedback to make sure we prioritized what was most important in launching our minimum viable product (MVP).
It’s easy to fall into the trap of letting the technology (and its limitations) determine the final product. It’s also easy to go the other way and assume custom development is the only option available. We clearly listed out what we wanted our new platform to look like, feel like, what functionality was required, and how the overall experience should be.
Once we really understood those aspects, I had a series of discussions with our CTO, developers, and trusted relationships in the tech community. They showed me Experience Cloud offered a shortcut instead of a custom development solution — and we needed a shortcut. Simply building a dashboard for wellness data could take months. We like to avoid 100% custom development where we can, but understood it would let us do anything. Experience Cloud gave us the option of avoiding custom most of the time — and embracing it when it made a real difference. We built the experience with "clicks not code" (to quote Salesforce) as much as possible. For the user interface, we developed the exact experience we wanted to deliver within Experience Cloud. Even with some in-house development, our small team was able to create the digital experience in two weeks.
It’s important to understand the line between good enough and perfection. If you wait until your product or service is perfect, you’ll never launch. Getting out the door is a critical part of the pivot.
For us, we started by inviting three companies to participate in our closed beta program. To use the experience, employees would sign up, create simple profiles, and schedule their selected digital wellness sessions. Some offerings, like yoga classes and guided meditation, bring together a group. Others, such as wellness coaching and personal training, are one-on-one. If employees find they can’t line up a session with their schedule, they can enjoy our exclusive library of prerecorded content.
Employees complete a questionnaire about their stress levels and wellness goals when they sign up. They answer a few questions every two weeks and a longer quarterly assessment. HR leaders at client companies see the anonymous results on their personalized dashboards. They track stress levels and identify areas that need improvement. Leaders can also see participation rates and access return on investment (ROI) metrics.
We’re in the process of getting the digital wellness experience pixel perfect. This includes vetting multiple online meeting and conferencing tools. We’re also working with practitioners to ensure they have the right lighting, video, and sound tools. As our library of wellness information and menu of live options grows, we’re empowering multiple people in the company to publish and manage content. This has already inspired a quick shift to a simpler content management system (CMS).
Looking ahead, we’re excited to become the “one-stop-shop” for corporate stress management. We will provide on-site chair massages again when the market is ready for us, but until then, we’ll continue adding client companies, expanding the number of wellness services we offer, and enhancing the digital experience. Our team is where we need to be to deliver — because Zenovate is open. And now, we’re better positioned than ever to fulfill our mission: help employers reduce employee stress, improve employee wellness, and increase employee engagement.
See how Experience Cloud helps companies like Zenovate create a digital experience in this demo video. Watch it now.