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Why Startups Like ZenPayroll Can Take On Giant Corporations like ADP And Win (raddevelopment.io)
36 points by AlexFeldy on June 30, 2014 | hide | past | web | favorite | 10 comments

I've used Paychex and ZenPayroll. ZenPayroll is awesome. No reason to ever look back!

Great post on why startups can win.

Startups can win because the company cares more about their customers.

I'm sure plenty of people at large companies care about their customers. But a large company's org structure separate the decision-makers from the front-line employees. Any great customer-facing employee can add much more value to a smaller company.

I'm also sure there are plenty of counter-examples of startups that didn't provide great service. But that almost always past tense... small companies that don't care about their customers don't last long.

Thanks for the kind words! I'm the CEO of ZenPayroll and the topic of customer-centric product development is something we care a lot about. Two things we do at ZP in this vein are:

(1) Each person in the company does customer support on a regular basis. In our hiring process, we screen for folks that care about our customer and the pain point we're solving. This means they're excited to interact with our customers and help them (vs. viewing it as a chore).

(2) Our customer support team is within our product organization. We are available to help you by email, phone, etc. and our goal is to provide the best service possible (with the same mindset on how we've built the product). But, as soon as the call ends, we strive to figure out how to prevent that specific call from ever happening again. The feedback our support team provides engineering and product managers is critical to customer-centric product development.

I think a lot of businesses confuse customer-centric product development as meaning that you should build whatever a customer asks for. Our goal is to truly understand our customers pain points, and then fix them, and often this means creating something that's never existed before (vs. just building a better/faster/cheaper version of what already exists).

btw, we love hearing from customers and we appreciate any and all feedback! I can be reached at josh@zenpayroll.com and if you're interested in signing up, check out www.zenpayroll.com

>Startups can win because the company cares more about their customers.

But you have to keep in mind the fact that it is rather easy to have that sort of attitude when you're small and have a proportional number of customers - it's much harder to be nice to a thousand people than to five. Scaling your service with the size of your consumer base is the real key.

True, but having up-to-date technology makes scaling service much, much easier. ADP's problem is their service scales linearly with the number of service reps on staff. That along with horrible communication across departments(this is a tech problem in this day and age), and they suffer because of it. Even if a tech-driven company like ZenPayroll gets the number of customers ADP has, they will have scaled better because (hopefully) their systems are prepared for the traffic from the beginning and they continuously improve them to handle the growth. There's a massive difference between tech-as-an-after-thought companies and the tech-driven startups like Zen.

Yes, startups have a structural advantage.

We're an ADP customer and I'm shocked at the state of their technology.

Not only is their customer portal IE only, they mandate the use of an ActiveX control from 1997. Proof:


Brutal. If this is the state of ZenPayroll's competition they're in a good spot.

I agree, they obviously don't test what they roll out. It is very amateur, updates look like they are pushed right into production given the obvious nature of the bugs we have seen. They have multiple interfaces, when we were testing it out we saw lookup data was inconsistent across interfaces, and there was no built in customer validation of data. All data validation is done by the end approver. They actually subcontract out most of the development work, definitely not a modern technology driven solution.

Seriously I've been using ADP for a year and a half and they've fucked it up every time we've added an employee, we also found out at tax time that they'd failed to withhold New York City income tax for our New York employees. Considering proper tax withholdings is the primary reason to use a damn payroll provider in the first place this was insane. I'd have switched to Paychex (we have CA and NY employees which is why we needed a larger provider) but everyone I talked to hate them too.

Ack! Just noticed ZenPayroll is now supporting NY, unfortunately we might be moving all our HR to TriNet or I'd make the switch.

If you've ever used Paychex or ADP then it's easy to know why ZenPayroll is killing it.

Can't wait until these guys are nationwide.

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