Interview with Lu Wang (Reamaze)
Reamaze is a customer support/helpdesk application for small businesses.
I interviewed Lu Wang, Reamaze co-founder and CEO to find out more. This is the hundred and fifty ninth in a series of DW startup interviews. Big thank you to Lu!
How would you describe Reamaze in under 50 words?
Reamaze is lightweight helpdesk and CRM software for small businesses. Reamaze focuses on simple multi-channel support, meaningful metrics, streamlined collaborative features, and integrated CRM tools to help businesses build relationships with customers and deliver great support.
What problem did you notice that caused you to create Reamaze?
In short, companies like Zendesk and Saleforce’s Desk.com have the wrong approach when it comes to customer support and CRM for small businesses.
Not only are they leaving small businesses behind as they grow to favor enterprise clients, they’re adamant about making customer support into a “receiver” of messages, a cost center. Everything from issuing robotic ticket numbers, to deeming conversations as “solved” without asking customers, to forcing customers to “reply above the line”, point to a habit of seeing customer support as a burden and not as an asset.
Unfortunately, this doesn’t work for small businesses. 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.
Reamaze is focused primarily at small businesses, which particular sector within this market do you feel you have the most success in?
This is an area that continues to surprise us. Small businesses of all shapes are sizes are signing up for Reamaze. Among our public beta accounts, we have everything from restaurants to web apps and from small accounting firms to graphics design firms. What’s not so surprising is the fact that every small business needs to support customers. We’re simply making it easier for them to do so.
Would you consider moving into larger business markets in order to become more competitive in the future or do you feel this would weaken Reamaze’s unique selling point?
We’re really in love with the SMB market. At some point, it’s not about moving up the food chain but about doing what we love most. And we love building great applications and tools for small businesses.
Did you experience any technical difficulties in making Reamaze available for mobile?
Not particularly. Reamaze was designed to be responsive on any device from the ground up. That means we started thinking about Reamaze on mobile starting on day 1. It will always be a part of our design mentality.
As you’re currently offering Reamaze’s services for free, are you struggling in terms of finance?
We did acquire a seed round so we’re not exactly bootstrapping everything. We’re not too concerned about finances since the current trajectory looks promising. At this stage, we’re mainly concerned about making Reamaze better for small businesses. This means listening, tuning, and doing small pivots to make sure we’re the right choice for them. In addition, we run a lean and tight team.
Reamaze seems to be quite a personal service, how do you handle customer support?
This is something we focus a lot of our attention on. We even wrote a book about this! Since we’re a provider of customer support software, we want to make sure we’re the best at this. Every single founder is a dedicated customer support agent. If you contact us, you can be certain that a founder will get back to you personally, usually within the hour (unless we’re sleeping or driving).
We will eventually need to hire more staff to handle customer support. However, our life’s task for supporting customers will never change.
As communication in the business market is currently so technologically based, have you experienced difficulties with perhaps being viewed as old fashioned?
There’s nothing wrong with being old fashioned. We’re leveraging technology to bring old fashioned customer support and relationship management back. In an industry that’s being flooded by robotic ticketing systems and impersonal customer conversations, we think “old fashioned” is the only way to go.
Perhaps just 2 or 3 decades ago, small businesses like the local florist, butcher, or grocer knew customers by name. Customers enjoyed the “support” they received. Everything was personal. Even though this is no longer true, there’s something to be said about personal touches and treating customers right. We’re simply trying to replicate this.
Recently it appears that you have received support on Twitter from projects such as Pilot & Captain. Has this helped Reamaze in terms of promotion?
Absolutely. We want to make sure small businesses find Reamaze valuable for their business first and foremost. It’s important we do our best to home in on what they’re saying and what they need. Their shout-outs are simply bonuses!
You were recently featured on TechCrunch, have you seen a spike in traffic and sign ups?
Definitely. We received most of our public beta traffic and sign-ups from Hackernews, TechCrunch, and AppStorm. As you know, most HN and TechCrunch readers are very savvy and many are small business owners. These are high quality customers that know exactly what they’re looking for.
Has Reamaze got the feedback and growth you expected since launch?
The amount of feedback and growth has far exceeded our expectations. Since launching in January of 2013, we’ve exploded to over 2000 business accounts for our public beta. We are also receiving wonderful reviews from authoritative sources such as TechCrunch and AppStorm. We’re also working with other well known tech industry blogs at the moment.
Who would you say is your main competitor? Do you have any ways to effectively overcome competition?
To be honest, we have many competitors. However, we have our sights on Zendesk and Salesforce’s Desk.com.
We have some very innovative approaches to what customer support and CRM should look like in the next decade or two. I guess you can call it our secret sauce. That said, it all comes down to execution. We’re pretty confident in that department.
Finished reading? Check out Reamaze!