George Cheng: Nothing Is More Important Than Having Integrity When Dealing With Investors, Customers, Vendors, Partners, and Employees

George Cheng

George Cheng of Viewabo.

Tell us about yourself?

I’m George, the founder of Viewabo, a venture capital-funded B2B SaaS startup in Palo Alto, California, and Taipei, Taiwan.

I hold an MBA, MS in Information Systems, and a BS in Electrical Engineering. My professional experiences include engineering, product management, and marketing in industries from consumer electronics to enterprise information technology.

What do you think is the single biggest misconception people have when it comes to startups?

The single biggest misconception people have when it comes to startups is the word “startups” itself.

There are many ways “startups” can be defined, but for those seeking venture capital funding, not all new businesses can be considered “startups” if they are not venture-fundable.

Many new companies can be successful lifestyle businesses, but they are not considered “startups” from the perspective of the venture capital industry.

If one is interested in starting a “startup” or joining one, I would suggest learning more about what constitutes a “startup” from the eyes of a venture capitalist.

Or at least set their expectations on whether venture capital funding is a viable path, as the majority of new companies seeking venture capital funding do not get venture-funded.

If you could go back in time to any moment from your journey, and give yourself one tip, what would it be?

Start earlier. There is no such thing as being ready, so there is no point in trying to get yourself ready.

It would be much better to just dive in head first and learn the ropes as you go along. It’s more important to move fast than to have everything ready.

The world will not wait for you and windows of opportunities never stay open for long. So just do it and stop overthinking things.

What makes you stand out as an entrepreneur?

Integrity and resilience. Nothing is more important than having integrity when dealing with investors, customers, vendors, partners, and employees.

A company is primarily made up of people and people are run on trust.

Without trust, your job becomes infinitely harder. And things at a startup never go according to plan, so being resilient with the ability to adapt to constant change is important.

When things get tough, you have to figure out how to overcome your challenges and keep going. Don’t give up too quickly.

I believe anyone that has ever worked with me before would say that I have a lot of integrity and I’m very resilient.

What are some of the best working habits you’ve gained over the past couple of years?

Do what you said you were going to do and be consistent. Other people, whether it’s your team, your investors, or your customers, will depend on you delivering what you promised. If you set up a meeting, show up on time.

If you said you would send an email reply today, do it today. When people can rely on me consistently there is a level of trust that gets built, and often they would reciprocate so that I can rely on them also, making my life easier.

Give us a bit of an insight into the influences behind the company?

Viewabo’s mission is to make remote support better than in-person support by enabling businesses to see things the way their customers see them.

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We do this by helping customer support agents to request access to smartphone cameras so that their customers can send real-time video of issues without using an app, making it easier and faster to understand and resolve issues. The idea for Viewabo came about through a conversation with our first customer, who later became an investor.

He was the CEO of a fast-growing company and had a new offering that sold very well, but his team was getting technical support requests that they couldn’t efficiently resolve through email, chat, or phone. Their customers didn’t know how to explain the issues they were seeing, and they couldn’t understand the agents’ instructions.

I proposed that I build a prototype application that could enable his support agents to request access to customer smartphone cameras — without using an app — and have it integrated with their help desk system.

Since then, I realized that there was still much room for improving the customer support experience and started on a mission to make remote support better than in-person support.

Where do you see your business in five years?

Our long term goal is to become a visual customer experience platform to enable businesses to see things the way their customers see them.

We’re starting that journey with live-streaming video on smartphones, but in the long-run we aim to cover many mediums to achieve the same goal.

In five years, it shouldn’t matter if business’ customers are on a website, a laptop, in a mobile app, or other medium, the business should have a way to see what their customer is seeing. That’s where we’re aiming to get to.

What do you think the biggest challenge will be for you in getting there?

The biggest challenge in getting there will be in how quickly the market evolves their customer support processes. As a new product category, businesses need to find ways to add our tool into their existing workflows and standard operating procedures.

Similar to how businesses had to adopt to the use of email, chat, social media, and other new channels, businesses will need to figure out how to adopt a variety of video-based tools in order to adequately service their customers and stay competitive in their markets. It’s not so much a matter of “if”, but a matter of “when”.

The pandemic had been a catalyst for many businesses to start adopting video conferencing tools, and we expect that the shift towards more video-based tools will continue post-pandemic.

Talk to us about your biggest success story so far?

While we have steadily added new accounts from new industry verticals to our SaaS, perhaps our biggest success was simply getting our first customer to use us.

Our first customer was a PC Gaming company called NZXT, based in Los Angeles. NZXT (www.nzxt.com) is a computer hardware manufacturer based in Los Angeles, California. Founded in 2004, the company aims to bring outstanding PC gaming equipment to discerning gamers. In 2017, NZXT launched its computer-building service BLD.

With BLD, customers can answer a few questions about their gaming habits and preferences and get an optimized, pre-assembled machine delivered to their door. BLD by NZXT (www.letsbld.com) was delivering on its promise to provide customers with optimized pre-built gaming machines.

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However, BLD’s success highlighted some shortcomings of traditional customer support methods. To create outstanding customer experiences across the board, the NZXT team needed to cut down on lengthy service calls, customer frustration, and unnecessary returns.

Adding Viewabo to the customer support team’s toolkit empowered agents to quickly and accurately solve customer issues while providing memorable customer interactions with a personal touch. NZXT launched its computer-building service BLD in 2017. With BLD, gamers can get powerful, purpose-built PCs delivered to their door—no assembly required.

The launch was met with excitement from gaming enthusiasts familiar with NZXT’s reputation for quality and smart design. BLD customers expect their machines to work out of the box—after all, they’re paying for speed and ease.

But gaming PCs are complex, and issues like minor assembly mistakes and shipping damage can throw up speed bumps that require a call to customer support. The NZXT team understood how important it was to get these interactions right. NZXT’s highly-trained support agents worked to turn service calls around and get customers back on track as quickly as possible.

However, traditional support methods left room for improvement. Since some BLD customers had little experience working with PC internals, they sometimes had trouble clearly describing the problems they were experiencing and the parts involved.

When communication challenges caused calls to run longer than expected, customers understandably felt frustrated. Occasionally, a fed-up customer would give up on the product entirely and request a return.

When returned products were processed, they sometimes turned out to have minor issues that could have been solved in minutes—if only the agent could have seen what was going on.

If NZXT’s support team could find a fast, simple way to get all the information necessary to diagnose and solve problems, they could further improve the BLD experience.

Viewabo was developed to solve precisely the kind of challenges NZXT was facing. Viewabo lets customer support agents request access to a customer’s rear-facing smartphone camera, so the agent can see what the customer sees.

No app is required on the customer’s end, and customer support agents can initiate video calls without leaving their help desk system. Viewabo founder George Cheng heard about NZXT’s challenge and presented Viewabo as a potential solution. When George demoed Viewabo for NZXT leadership and the customer support team, agents immediately grasped how Viewabo would make their jobs easier and more productive.

By providing the agent with all the visual information available to the customer, Viewabo would empower agents to solve issues faster. It would help bolster the overall customer experience by creating support interactions with a more personal feel.

Following the demo, the team’s first question about the product was how quickly they could start using it. They were eager to make the customer support experience better and help customers get the most from BLD.

Now when an NZXT agent encounters a tricky customer issue, they can use their help desk software to request access to the customer’s rear-facing camera—and just like that, the agent is right there with the customer.

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“The most valuable thing about Viewabo is how quick it is to connect with a customer,” says Lauren K., Director of Customer Service at NZXT. “Since the customer doesn’t need to download an app, they’re more willing to use it.”

The visual feedback lets agents hone in on issues and solutions quickly while ensuring that the customer feels good about their support experience from start to finish. “We could spend 30 minutes with a customer going over cables one by one to find the right one, but with Viewabo, it can be done in seconds,” Lauren says.

Viewabo gives the NZXT support team the ability to freeze the video stream, draw annotations on the customer’s screen, and even change the video’s orientation without needing to ask the customer for help.

Not only do these features help agents get to the bottom of issues faster, but they also provide opportunities for effective customer education. Helping customers understand their machines and how to handle them boosts customer satisfaction and strengthens customer relationships.

The team at NZXT has also discovered the value of the video library Viewabo creates.

Agents can review videos of past customer interactions to see if anything was missed and identify ways to provide better service in the future.

They can share videos with colleagues from other departments to communicate about issues like packaging problems and manufacturing defects. Viewabo is another tool the team can use to prevent problems before they start and continually strive for excellence.

NZXT always believed in BLD’s potential to make buying an optimized gaming machine fast and friction-free. Now they’re taking the BLD experience to the next level with seamless support experiences that exceed customer expectations.

How do clients and customers find you? Are you much of a salesperson for yourself?

Our Go-To-Market has been mostly outbound as Viewabo is a new product category from the perspective of most prospects.

Often when we speak to prospects it’s the first time they’ve seen a tool such as ours.

We’re also listed in the Zendesk and Freshdesk marketplaces and have seen inbound from those channels. We’re also getting inbound interest from potential reseller partners.

What one tip would you give to fellow startup founders?

If you believe in what you’re doing, then keep going. No matter how tough it gets. Running a startup is never as glamorous as it seems from the outside.

There will be many times when you feel like you should give up, but don’t if you believe in what you’re doing.

If you don’t truly believe in what you’re working on, then you probably shouldn’t be doing a startup.

And finally, what do you hope the future brings both you personally, and your business?

I hope that our company truly makes an impact on the world in some way, no matter how small. We are trying to make things easier for both businesses and their customers.

If we can make a lot fewer people frustrated with the companies they do business with, then we would have done our jobs.

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