With more than 50 million downloads of its app, it’s no surprise that behavior-based weight management company Noom has seen its earnings rise from $12 million in 2017 to $237 million in 2020. With its personalized coaching system rooted in cognitive behavioral therapy principles, every client gets individualized interaction with a coach. But when that promise ran up against rapid expansion, Noom realized it had to scale its knowledge base to make sure coaches had quick and easy access to the knowledge they needed to make those interactions meaningful.
When Laura Boukas and Nancy Sidnam, two of the coaching team's directors, started in 2015, they knew they were about to be part of something great. “The product [Noom] wasn't fully formed yet, and we just saw a really cool opportunity to shape something that was going to make an impact in the world,” says Nancy. And with a small team, knowledge capture wasn’t front and center. “There was not one document or protocol or anything that we needed to refer back to; it was all on the fly,” adds Laura.
By mid-2018, things had changed. Noom had expanded their user base (their 2018 earnings were $61 million; 4 times what they’d been the year before), and, Laura continues, “all of a sudden the coaches had to be working with a lot more clients than they had previously been working with.”
But the amount of time coaches were spending looking for internal answers was becoming a problem. Because of Noom's approach, coaches needed to easily access resources that applied to every client's experience, such as internal protocols, clinical topic indexes, and tech support articles. The longer a client went without an answer, the less impactful it might be. Laura and Nancy also realized their coaches had no way of knowing if resources and client-centered information was outdated, which may significantly impact a client's experience with Noom.
That’s when Nancy and Laura realized they had a knowledge problem on their hands: “We were spending so much time asking questions, answering questions, trying to find the information that we needed. I mean, our stuff was all over the place!” Nancy says, laughing. Laura adds that “there was a constant changing and evolving of information, so we really needed a place to organize and store that information.”
With time saved being their primary metric, Nancy and Laura began to look at solutions. Initially, they considered a wiki. Laura puts it this way: “A very marginal price for a very marginal product that was essentially a glorified search bar.” Eventually, they discovered Guru, and Nancy had an a-ha! moment:
“Time saved, organization, and the trust of the information… Guru checked off every box of what we were looking for and more. The browser extension was actually a huge interest of ours because our coaches work in a specific web tool that they're in all day long. They would have to constantly switch from the dashboard to a Google Doc or something else to find the information they needed, but just being able to open up that browser extension and search right there, that also saved time.
Director of Coach Experience
And it wasn’t just that Guru saved them time, “It was about coach happiness too; just their overall experiences finding knowledge, finding correct answers, and trusting the information that they're given and then feeling competent to share that information with our users,” says Nancy. Laura explains that it was “the trust and verification factors that were so important to us and just so necessary. I think without those two things, we definitely would be lost.”
Noom had started 2019 with 800 coaches, but they ended the year with more than 1700 of them to keep up with their ever-expanding base of happier, healthier customers—momentum that doesn’t show signs of stopping. It wasn’t just a knowledge base they needed, but a knowledge service that worked with them. That’s where they’ve found an ideal partnership in Guru.
“For us, the solution was finding a company that would be able to support us as we continued to grow so we wouldn’t have to keep asking questions like, ‘What happens when we have 2,000 [Guru] users?’ and ‘What happens when we have 5,000 users?’ We needed something that was scalable, but also a company that would offer us ongoing support. We just wanted to know that as we were implementing something so new and so different, that there would be people to reach out to for best practices, and we wouldn't be in it alone.“
Director of Coach Innovation
Ultimately, both Guru and Noom share the same objective: continuous improvement—something to which adoption is key. And while change isn’t easy, Noom has seen its coaching team enthusiastically take to Guru. “Guru has given our remote coaches a collective space that is constantly improving and trustworthy. Having a central source of truth has made the connection between HQ, coach leadership, and coaches stronger. We have over 95% adoption for leadership and coaches alike,” says Knowledge and Resource Manager, Taylor Paschal.
Here's to using knowledge to make the world a healthier place.
*Includes contract employees with access to Guru