Lu Wang studied computer science at UCLA and Stanford, then founded Ronin in 2008 before selling it to GoDaddy in 2013. He founded Reamaze in 2013, an integrated customer service, live chat, and helpdesk platform for online businesses. Founded in 2012, Reamaze offers small businesses a combination of CRM and customer support. A service designed to help small businesses keep their customers happy, get new ones and keep business flowing in the 24-hour, seven-day-a-week Internet world. Lou studied computer science at UCLA and Stanford, then founded Ronin in 2008 before selling it to GoDaddy in 2013.
Small businesses are awesome. They want to be intimate with customers, they want to talk to customers, and they want something affordable with just the right amount of features. We built Reamaze with small businesses in mind: transparent for teams, invisible to customers. We didn’t build “ticket” management, we didn’t build “this ticket has been deemed solved”, and we didn’t build a lot of other things like advanced analytics.
We built multichannel support so small businesses can manage everything in one place, we built easy notifications and “everything through email” capabilities, and we built lightweight CRM that connects customer data to every conversation.
Q) There's quite a few players in the help desk space. How do you carve out a niche?
We have competitors. What we do is we focus specifically on the support aspect of conversations more than the others do. We have a lot of the traditional help desk features that you also find in things like Zendesk but we do it in a more modern way.
Q) Why did GoDaddy acquire your first company?
GoDaddy is quite an interesting company as it is one of the largest SaaS companies in the world. People typically think of them as a domains, registration, and website hosting company but they also have a portfolio of SaaS apps and the SaaS app that I was working on at the time fit really well with what they were doing there.
Q) Can you tell us a little about your role and what you do at Reamaze?
As a founder, I have to do a lot of things, but one unique way I look at my responsibility is that I’m responsible for our customers’ happiness here at Reamaze. I make sure their entire experience while using Reamaze is consistent with our core philosophies.
Mentoring our clients on how to run a support team, being their sidekick, addressing issues, processing feedback, and liaising among our different teams are all part of my domain.
Q) What do you know about customer communication that few others know?
We’re not here to fix our customers’ problems. We’re here to work with our customers to find long-term solutions for their needs.
This is the mentality that differentiates companies with stellar customer happiness from companies with customers that hate them. Companies that understand this love Reamaze because we enable them to have very intimate conversations with their customers.
Many believe automation is the way to go, and that may be true for things like data and marketing, but we believe nothing beats the human touch when it comes to customer service. Here’s proof: Quick Growth and How We Use Reamaze.
Don’t get us wrong, we’re a technology company at the end of the day, but we believe technology should only augment communications and not replace it.
Q) What advice do you have for startups who are new to customer support? What are some winning strategies you can share?
Startups shouldn’t think of customer support like big companies do. Customer support should be fun and rewarding for small, growing companies because they are touch points for members of the team to interact with the customer.
Rather than getting stuck in the weeds about processes or who should be doing what, keep it simple and have everyone take turns at supporting customers.
Pick a reliable and lightweight tool that works for your workflow. The content of conversations should be far more important than how to process conversations.
If done right, each and every customer interaction can be seen as an opportunity to identify shortcomings or new ideas. Startups are now paying attention to analytics in a great way, because the numbers provide quantitative insight to custom behaviour.
In a similar way, startups need to develop a good habit of using their support channels to maintain a good pulse of qualitative customer sentiment.
By removing or foregoing formal process as long as possible, this gives the founders and core founding team a great feel for the customers they serve.
Q) What apps, software, and tools can’t you live without?
The one app we obviously can’t live without is our own. We dog-food everything we build and ship here at Reamaze. We’re also great friends with the folks at HipChat, Slack, Stripe, Zapier, Ronin, and use a variety of their tools in our well-oiled machine.
Other apps like Textmate, Sourcetree, Bitbucket, are also must-haves. Infrastructure wise, we make good use of tools like New Relic and Sentry. Some of our in-house tools are so good we’re thinking about opening up a few to our customers as well.
Q) What’s your best time-saving shortcut or life hack?
We focus on three pretty simple productivity mantras.
1. Focus on the right things to work on and don’t waste time on the wrong things.
2. Clear ownership is crucial. Too many stakeholders lead to “committee”, which leads to a lot of lost productivity.
3. Change a lot. What is productive now won’t last forever because everyone else catches on.
Q) How is COVID-19 affecting your business?
When the pandemic first happened, it was actually tough for us to gauge how things would play out. We have customers in industries like tourism, hospitality and services, and clearly we were affected. However we also saw more and more businesses shifting their business online. People who had a more physical presence now are doing business online in a primary way - such as restaurants. How we get takeout nowadays, is different than pre-COVID19 and e-commerce has also really taken off.
We have customers from all industries but about 60-70% of our customer base is in the e-commerce space. It's where our product fits well.
Q) What have been your distribution channels? Where are you getting customers today?
The Shopify platform is pretty big for us and so are the other big e-commerce platforms.
Q) Are there CEOs you are follow or studying?
Scott Wagner (GoDaddy) and Elon Musk.
Q) How many hours of sleep do you get?
Earlier in the company period, I was doing six hours every night. I'm married and with two kids. Now I am doing seven to eight hours.
Q) What do you wish your 20 year old self knew?
Explore the world, a little more travel, enjoy the process a bit more. I think, one of those things as a young entrepreneur, you're setting a lot of goals for yourself and you have all these ideas of where you want to be. But I think sometimes along the way, you can sort of lose track of it. Just enjoy!