It’s no secret that my small team and I at ZipMessage are obsessed with async communication ;)
As the founder and head of product at ZipMessage, I’m also talking to customers every day—asynchronously.
And since we’re a small remote team, collaborating across the world, can you guess how we prefer to communicate? Async, obviously.
You know where this is going... Of course we use ZipMessage for all of this!
(Thanks to our friends at Reform for the great idea for a blog post about product teams dogfooding their own products!)
So here’s the rundown of all the ways we use ZipMessage every day to run things here at ZipMessage:
1) Talking to customers
A few times per week I make a point of sending a ZipMessage straight into the intake page of a new ZipMessage user.
Each user on ZipMessage gets their own intake page, with a personalized URL where others can drop them a message and start a new async conversation. So it’s the perfect “inbox” to reach our newest users!
In a personal ~30-sec video message, I welcome them to our tool, ask how they heard about it, and offer to answer any questions or take any feature requests they may have.
This accomplishes multiple things all at once:
- A chances to get the first impressions from new users, on video and in their own words.
- Helps new users get a “quick win” from our tool. It’s a nice feeling to see a new, non-automated, personal video message come in via ZipMessage during your first week with the tool.
- It starts a conversation—which often lasts many weeks or months. I found customers don’t just reply once, but they use our thread to continue their back-and-forth with me—more feature requests, questions, impressions—for weeks or even months! Incredibly valuable relationships forming here.
2) Receiving customer support videos
Our customers often use ZipMessage to send us their support requests—a how-to question or a bug report or feature request.
They often do this by starting a conversation in our intake page at zipmessage.com/zipmessage_support or sometimes my personal intake page at zipmessage.com/brian. Or they often fire up a ZipMessage from their own account and then send me the link.
ZipMessage makes it super easy to record your screen and/or your camera at the same time, so it’s perfect for showing what you’re after rather than trying to explain it by typing an email.
3) Sending customer’s how-to videos
We get a fair bit of good ‘ol email support questions too... These are often “How do I do (thing) in ZipMessage?” or “Can ZipMessage do (thing)?” or “Can ZipMessage integrate with (tool)?”
The answer is often yes, and I find it’s best to show the customer how it works. So of course, I fire up a ZipMessage (in these cases it’s easy to use our browser extension to do so), show how to do it, then send them the link.
Again, this often expands into a multiple back-and-forth exchange with the customer, all threaded on a single conversation page in ZipMessage.
4) Hiring interviews
We hire across the globe for our remote team at ZipMessage. I found hiring conversations and interviews to be one of the most effective use-cases for async communication.
What hiring looks like for me now. Almost all async with ZipMessage.— Brian Casel (@CasJam) November 4, 2021
Face-to-face, deep-dive, detailed discussions spread over 1 week. Multiple Zoom calls could NOT achieve this level of quality interaction.
Oh and—he's in Australia (the farthest time zone from me). pic.twitter.com/1KMkKQjWXA
It often goes something like this:
- I’ll post a job ad on some sites and on Twitter.
- I send applicants to a special ZipMessage intake page I set up for this job opening. I might include a welcome message on it too.
- Applicants apply by saying hello and showing me some of their recent work on video.
- I’ll do a live call for a brief meet-and-greet.
- Then we continue the conversation asynchronously on ZipMessage to deep dive into the work we will (potentially) do together. This is most valuable part of the process because we’re able to deep dive on this new working relationship without having to schedule many calendar meetings (with multiple candidates).
5) (new!) Podcast pre-interviews
I’m doing more podcasts this year and inviting folks on for interesting conversations.
I like to do a brief pre-interview with the guest asynchronously using ZipMessage. It’s perfect for this because we can talk about potential topics for the upcoming episode without having to book an entirely separate call and take up too much of both of our time.
So there you have it. That’s just a few of the ways we’re dogfooding ZipMessage here at ZipMessage.
If you’re messaging customers or your remote team (I mean, who isn’t?), then I invite you to give our tool, ZipMessage, a try.
Then drop me a ZipMessage (a “ZM” as our power-users call them) and tell me what you think :)