Michael Chen, CEO and Founder of Buzzebees Company Limited
Nowadays, people have already stepped into the digital landscape, technology has become one of the most significant factors for businesses and everyone’s life. Users can easily reach a variety of services via mobile applications. As a consequence, brands and entrepreneurs have to put extra efforts to reach their customers via a smartphone. However, it's likely to be a one-sided effort since users don't want to communicate with brands every day, not like their friends and family. This forces brands to find an effective approach to persuade customers to use their services or get customers to make transaction via their own application.
This is the pain point that "Buzzebees", one of the fastest-growing startups has foreseen it. They have started to develop CRM Platform (Customer Relationship Management) with a clear vision in mind, to help corporate brands reach their customers via mobile effectively combining with the use of Big Data to be the core feature for behavior analysis. One of Buzzebees leading clients is Samsung Galaxy Gift, currently popular among Samsung Smart phone users as well as applications of top banks in Thailand that use Buzzebees services.
Today, Financial Bank has a special interview with Michael Chen, CEO and Founder of Buzzebees Limited Company about various interesting topics, from beginning of the idea, business gateway, service model, moving forward to foreign countries to business drive in the future.
Inspired By iPhone, Entrepreneurs Experienced with the Problem "Inability to Reach Customers"
Back to the beginning of his business, Michael said that his inspiration to create Buzzebees was from Steve Jobs, when first iPhone was launched at MacWorld in 2550. What Michel saw on keynote that day got him thinking that people's life would be considerably change, even if iPhone price was so expensive back there that Bill Gate of Microsoft commented that no one was going to buy a phone that had such a high price. However, iPhone has become successful in the market and over the world.
Michael decided to found Buzzebees, with the concept of helping corporate brands reach out customers effectively in digital era. He admitted that he didn't even know how to start it then, he only wanted to create a digital platform that helps entrepreneurs in all industries
Michael began to ask himself "what is the most important thing for every business?” and the only answer he could think of is customers. He kept thinking on the best method to encourage customers to continue using brands' mobile application and finally found the answer. He observed that people always love free items and points, he then started his trial with this concept implemented on mobile, in order to build engagement and bring brands and customers closer.
He began his experiment by developing "Buzzebees" on mobile application, connected with Facebook. After three months of releasing, Buzzebees had been successful earned 300,000 followers. Despite the success, he had spent around 6-7 million Baht in order to provide points or rewards to encourage people to click and share posts via Buzzebees application.
"The number of users had been increasing constantly, however, when we stopped temporarily doing it, the number of likes and shares had also faded. It's clear to us that, if we kept investing using this model, we would have spent tons of money and face the risk at a high level".
With all these reasons, Michael uses this model as the center platform and implement it on brands' application without them investing tons of budgets since utilizing only Buzzebees helps reduce their cost, but high in quality.
Build CRM Platform That Can Be Delivered to Customers at Their Doorstep
Michael has chosen this model to build CRM Platform serving corporate brands who have high budgets for their customers and use its main advantages featured on mobile to entice customers. Most corporate brands have implemented CRM, but often lack of the piece of jigsaw, they don't know how to get customers to use their mobile application.
"The concept of developing Loyalty Program in digital era is not about locking customers with your business, but it's all about enticing them to your door and get them to open the door to find out what brands can do to serve their needs. When customers are already there, it's your call to draw them with special privileges".
After success of developing CRM Platform and engine to communicate with customers via mobile application, he kick started to create Big Data with CRM to analyze customers' behavior as well as expanding it to other features on Buzzebees platform.
"Buzzebees” is a digital platform allowing all businesses to connect with their customers via mobile application. Our idea was inspired by problems brands experienced which include inability to understand the digital world or how to build a platform that worth investing, plus the world's shifting rapidly. Still, if they choose Buzzebees, we will do everything to make sure their budgets will be spent wisely”.
Michael continued explaining that Buzzebees has already partnered with over 60 leading brands, with more than 35 million users. We have clients covering all industries; Financial institutes and banks, insurance companies, telecommunication, consumer product, and petroleum. We still have potential to grow our business seamlessly due to its ability to help businesses understand online customers’ behavior and their interest, as well as focusing on offering products to the right target.
"The reason many corporate brands choose Buzzebees platform is that it's almost impossible to connect banks to various businesses. It may somewhat be possible for large organizations, but not worth investing for middle size or small companies. Nonetheless, connecting through the central platform that designed for all industries is convenient and cost-saving".
Michael explained that Buzzebees platform is consisted of three main features; 1. CRM 2. Digital Wallet 3. Ecommerce (Marketplace), all of these are combined with Big Data. Customers using Buzzebees will automatically get all of the features on their mobile application.
For CRM platform, Buzzebees will utilize Big Data to analyze customers' interest by connecting with Ecommerce that was integrated on the platform. The system has collected all data to conduct analysis before creating lucrative promotions for customers via mobile application.
Michael said that the advantage of Buzzebees platform is to be the representative of all business industries, helping them to access CRM tool and reach customers in digital landscape, with lower budgets spent than creating their own platform. Besides, the features on the platform has been developing and updating constantly, using the robust and secure Microsoft Cloud.
As for Digital Wallet Payment, Buzzebees platform will be a representative of stores, helping them receive payment via top digital wallets include Alipay, True money, Line pay, Mpay, and Airpay by using the same set of API.
Moving Forward to Foreign Countries, Mainly on AEC, to Build a Strong Partnership and Grow Business Sustainably
Michael said that Buzzebees has been expanding to foreign countries, with offices located in three countries including Indonesia, Malaysia, and Laos. Our platform has received good feedbacks in Malaysia after 3 months of release. We already have three large companies as our clients due to Malaysian behaviors are similar to Thai, especially in terms of financial service use, moreover, Malaysia has high budgets investing in CRM.
Michael stated that it's vital to cooperate with local partners in order to successfully expand to foreign countries. We need a professional team to develop applications for customers, having Buzzebees Thailand as a core system. Apart from these 3 countries, we are seeking for more opportunity in Philippines and other countries in South East Asia as well.
To Achieve the Goal of 700 million Baht and Continue Growing As a Real Business
Michael explained that the next move of Buzzebees is to keep expanding customer base in Thailand and other countries. A lot of opportunities are still available for us in Thailand, he expected Buzzebees to grow the revenue of 3,000 million Baht and in the future, it must reach 10,000 million Baht.
Today, the value of Buzzebees is approximately 2,000 million Baht. In 2016, Buzzebees had earned 370 million Baht, in 2017, we set the number at 700 million Baht and successfully achieved the goal, and in 2018, he believes that Buzzebees will expand to corporate brands more than the previous years, with more users at over 60 million accounts.
"The road to be a unicorn startup is what I feel really confident because of the business model which enables us to move forward. Moreover, we can move quicker by finding more investors to support us as well as launching the platform in six countries simultaneously. However, this method may result in profit lost every year. For me, if we start our business the right way at first, it's no need for us to choose that method. We can run it slow but sure, to be a real business, I'm certain that we can keep our business strong in the market".
For the upcoming goal, we want to make Buzzebees an Ecosystem platform for corporate brands in all areas. Our platform now is like a complete built road, whatever you want for your business, we can implement it for you whether mobile app, chat bot, or even VR glasses.
"For the next 4-5 years, applications may have less important role in the digital world, but it will be connected with the necessary services people use in daily life such as banks, chat apps or digital wallets, with privileges offering remained. Doing that requires the robust back-end which we always prepare for our clients and we'll keep growing consecutively".