Story of MoeGo
Hi, this is Ethan, I’m the founder and CEO of MoeGo.
It’s been an incredible journey since we launched MoeGo. As of today, 04/28/2019, We’ve had thousands of pet groomers, created millions of appointments. Today, I’d like to share more stories about MoeGo in a different way, representing our team, to share stories about why we started MoeGo, what value proposition we stand for, and how we execute on it.
Beginning of MoeGo
Three years ago in 2016, as a dog dad with busy schedule, I found it super painful and inefficient to schedule grooming appointments for an ideal date/time with groomers, not alone to change existing appointments if my schedule changed. I wondered why there weren’t any app like “OpenTable for Pet Business” existed, so that I could see groomers’ schedule and book a date in advance, or change appointment time with just fingertips instead of taking calls (I later learned that groomers are just too busy to take calls). Then, I immediately figured that, if, I, as a client, found it so difficult to communicate with groomers, the pet business owners were probably lacking effective digital tools to communicate with their clients, either. With this assumption, I had my partner sketched a grooming business software mockups, and visited 50+ local pet grooming shops. After one-on-one deep conversation with these groomers, I’ve learnt some key insights:
- Pet grooming business owners are oftentimes multitaskers, their daily operations are very overwhelming and exhausting.
- Bad management often leads to low customer satisfaction and struggling business result.
- Many groomers have great ideas about software features but oftentimes their requests are ignored. (These software companies pay more attention to sales rather than customer support and product. )
- Majority of existing software were created more than 10 years, and are not user friendly.
- For fast-growing business owners, existing software is counter-product and insufficient to mange increasing complex business.
By learning these insights, I believed these pet business owners deserved something better, and I’m gonna make it for them. I’ve built an app used by over 30 million users in the US with 5/5 rating on App Store. I believe, with a great team, we can deliver the same quality of software to such hard-working group of people. And we will start with pet groomers.
Let’s call it — MoeGo!
Many of the existing software just sounds too serious, we want to bring our brand with a relaxing and enjoyable experience. Therefore, we first came up with a name called “MoementGo”, “Moe” is a Japanese slang to describe something cute and lovely. “Moement” sounds like “moment”, combining these together, the name could bring about the lovely and enjoyable moment you share with your pets. MoementGo sounds like AmazonGo, productive and energetic. However, after we first released this name, the name “MoementGo” sounds too long. Then MoeGo Lily came up with the idea — let’s just call it MoeGo! Simple, clean and catchy.
We found the best Logo designer referred by our designer friends, and the back-and-force discussion last for a month. We ended up selecting the current logos as our business logo and consumer app logo, respectively. The overall design is intended to be sleek while maintaining a friendly experience. The highlight of the design is the orange check mark within the dog face, representing a productive experience of our product. we want MoeGo to assist your business and make it like “check-and-done” experience, it feels productive and powerful. While on the other side, your client, who would use MoeGo pet owner app, the check mark changed to a mild curve line mimicking smiling, because if you are productive for your service, it relaxes your clients and makes them happy.
- Build the best software
- Offer the best software service
To better understand our clients daily work, some of our team members, including myself, spent days working with some of our early groomer users, sit in their office or their mobile grooming vans, to fully experience their business. I was shocked by the fact that this is a real non-stop working status which lunch time or even “pee” time become a luxury to have. I have even more respect for these hard-working entrepreneurs and life-fighters from this experience, and strengthen my determination to make MoeGo truly great tool and service for them.
To ensure the quality of our apps, we invested to hire the best developers and designers from top companies such as Amazon, Google, Adobe. We were one of the few (if not the only player) who offered native apps across three platforms (Web, IOS and Android).
For those who are not familiar with the concept of Native App, A native mobile app is a smartphone application that is coded in a specific programming language, such as Objective C for iOS or Java for Android operating systems. Native mobile apps provide fast performance and a high degree of reliability. While some players have both IOS and Android apps, they are html5 web app, which is slow and less reliable but cheaper to build.
To make sure apps can run smoothly across all platforms, we formed three groups of product managers, engineers and designers to dedicate on each platform, respectively. We also have a leader to work on coordinating all platforms to work together seamlessly. The majority of team are pet owners, they empathize with pet owners and groomers and highly motivated to achieve our goals. They work extremely hard every day, read customer comments to understand better about clients, stay up at 2am or 3am to fix software bugs.
Within our company, we can’t emphasize enough about importance of customer service. We understand that, if by any chance, every groomer would want in-house software developer team to build a in-house software specifically for themselves to use. However it is costly and time consuming, that’s why we are here to help. We want to deliver a service that make our client feel we are like part of their team to assist them. Groomers are smart enough to know what software would work best for them because they are the ones doing the business, so we listen, and respond with actions and results.
We built a social community on Facebook to act as a bridge for us to learn from our clients’ needs, noted the feedback down and prioritized the list work on. MoeGo Lily (https://www.facebook.com/MoeGoLily), our chief customer support officer, has become a great bridge between our company and groomers. During company product discussion, Lily has been acting as a key role to deliver what groomers want, which was super helpful for us prioritize key improvement features. She loves our customers so much that we even feel she’s a groomer representative sitting in our meeting room. We love that feeling because this make us feel close to our customers! :)
We Grow with You
Honestly, we feel disappointed every time a customer leaves us because we didn’t do something well, such as lacking of a feature they were looking for. We would be disappointed about ourselves of not being able to implement the features as fast as possible. But we always keep improving. We don’t talk much, but we walk the walk. As a former product leader building a 30 million user app, I know that there’s no perfect software. Software needs iterations all the time because customer’s needs would change (ex. offline POS payment to digital payment), the technology infrastructure would change (local server to cloud base), the hardware would change (ex. PC to mobile).
Additionally, alone with the iteration, every software provider would inevitably face some bugs which would caused by launch of new features. To put an analogy, it’s like adding a new player to a Basketball team, the new player won’t work seamlessly with every other teammate after a certain run-in period. Even giant players like Instagram or Amazon, they will face some bugs or server crash downs, as well.
The more customers we have, the faster the hidden issues would surface, the faster we could fix them. Therefore, we deeply believe that we are growing with our customers. It’s always important to be humble, be genuine, be openminded for honest suggestions from clients. Meanwhile, the more revenue we have, the more fund we could invest to hire great talents to further improve our product and service, and in return to benefit our clients.
Choosing a software provider is like choosing a business partner since you are likely to use selected service for several years. When I was the tech executive in a public company to recruit candidates, I always prioritized fundamental qualities, such as integrity, motivation, and the ability to learn, over surface qualities such as, specific skillsets or past professional experiences, because skillsets could be learned with time, but fundamental qualities define a person. It is similar as to find a tech service provider for your business.
We don’t promote our specific features often, because, features doesn’t differentiate any of software service providers. 80% of software service providers have similar features. What matters are the fact that if you could consistently receive high quality software service, you learn about this via some traits such as:
- How they react to angry customers
- How they react to customers’ feedback
- Are they keep investing resources to improve instead of selling
We were happy to see some of our users who left us earlier returned back after trying other software providers. When they left us, we felt sad but motivated to become better, and their returns strengthened our belief to work consistently for anything good.
We Keep Innovating
As a value-driven tech entrepreneur, innovation is deep in my DNA. We are willing to invest in new ideas that other players are unwilling to do. For example, we are the first software company created the Smart-routing feature for mobile groomers. To create this feature, we need to pay for Google map API service to guarantee the mapping data is accurate and up-to-date, which is fairly expensive. We are happy to see so many users told us this feature saved them lots of time arranging appointments, and they loved this feature a lot.
Another under-rated feature is Review Booster. It’s funny every time we introduce this feature, groomers have negative perception about it because many of them have had negative experience with yelp. However, this feature is smartly designed to boost more five star reviews on reviewing sites, while enables you to get real-time feedback from unhappy customers, so that you can improve immediately before they are so unhappy that writing unfair reviews for you. We understand that only people who were furious about your service would be so driven to spend time expressing bad feelings on review sites. However, the majority of customers who are happy about your service, always forget to write reviews because they’ve expressed their satisfaction through tips and continuing service requests. Therefore, it ends up that the review sites become a horrible place for the haters, leaving unfair reputation damage to small business owners who have limited capacity to do online reputation management. This feature alone would charge $50/month+ from other service providers, but it is included in our service package so our subscribers can use this feature for no additional cost.
Why so many software company now only offer subscription-based product? As mentioned above, the software has to keep improving since the market change all the time, with the emergence of cloud server, data can be stored and updated anytime and anywhere. This change allows customers to enjoy real-time software update instead of buying another copy of new software. All leading software companies, such as Adobe and Microsoft, started to change their business model to software monthly subscriptions instead of selling software alone. In fact, this is not a new model to squeeze more money from customers, but a better away to benefit customers. However, it actually puts some risks to software providers like us since customers can cancel service at anytime, therefore, some software companies would charge some one-time setup fees or annual contract to increase frictions for customers to leave.
We are confident about our service, and therefore, we believe as long as you consistently offer values customers want, they will stick to you. Even we may face some cancellations, we would consider this as an opportunity to improve ourselves, fortunately, we consistently see customers returning back to us because they would eventually realize that we are actually really good after they’ve explored other providers.
We strived to make our software deliver the best ROI (return of investment) for your business. As long as the productivity app saved your time to take an extra client, your software expense could be covered. Not alone to say the improved user experience to boost word-of-month promotion from improved customer satisfaction, which is key success factor for local merchandise.
When you are selecting software service, I would highly suggest not evaluating with cost-driven mindset but with value-driven mindset, because ten bucks per month won’t make difference for your business. Software service can help you save your mind capacity from worrying about remembering every details to focusing on the most important thing, your service and your customers. The software can also help improve your customer satisfaction and thus business reputation, and offer business performance insights, and many many more. Having working with thousands of groomers, we learnt that groomers with better business performance are commonly have value-driven mindset while picking service providers.
Your Business Companion
The purpose of this blog is to present another aspects of MoeGo to our current and future clients. Building a business is tough, but building business together feels much better. MoeGo will always be there, be your business companion.