GrabOnRent is a promising early stage startup and we, at GrabOnRent are putting our best foot forward to make products accessible to the masses via renting. We are 8 months old and have managed to create a terrific customer base by making our growth journey an insightful one.

Startups tend to follow various metrics that usually define the growth of a company, such as GMV, MAU or the number of daily transactions. Unlike most e-commerce startups, we consciously opted out of this rat race to make sure that we grow inclusively as a team along with our customers.

The yardstick we measure our growth with is customer happiness. This decision has helped us in surpassing our targets and we truly have grown through this process. When we launched in September 2015, we were excited to enter and radically change the market. Our high-spirited team went all out to acquire customers and vendors. We combed through every nook and corner of Bangalore to discover vendors. Similarly, we left no stone unturned to ensure that we fulfilled customer orders on time. But did we execute in the best way possible?

Honestly, we did good but we knew there always was scope for improvement. We dug into our systems and found that our customer satisfaction score (CSAT) was 89. The CSAT for internet retailers in the USA is 82. Unfortunately, there is no publicly available data to benchmark this number for the Indian market (if there is, we’d love to hear).

On digging deeper into the intricacies, we figured out that for certain reasons there were a handful of customers who have had unsatisfactory experiences. As a brand, we promise quality assured products to our customers, but no one is perfect, neither were we. There have been a few instances where human error led to faulty products being delivered or where appliances broke down after delivery. We stuck to our promise and replaced the products at the earliest. This had a non-negative impact as customers were happy with our quick resolution.

It is easy for startups, such as ours, to let go of the past and focus on acquiring new customers with a better performance guarantee, but we decided against letting it loose. Regardless of our good CSAT score, we decided to improve it further and work towards ensuring that every customer is happy. We made a list of all the unhappy customers who might have faced even the slightest inconvenience. We designed apology cards and got them printed. Next, we wrote a personalized apology message on each card and promised our customers a happy experience for their next rental need.

On a sunny Saturday morning, we divided ourselves into 6 teams of 2 members each and rang the bell on our customer’s homes to personally apologise with a ‘sweet gesture’, as one of our customers put it.

 

This small effort was praised by all customers and in turn, we got to know our customers better. We were confronted with the easily-overlooked aspects of the business which meant a lot to our customers. The bare bones of our ‘customer experience’ were challenged. The teams brought in a lot of relevant information that had been missing as a part of our thought process. Today, after two weeks of conducting this drive, our unit has been able to improve the quality of certain products being offered, the clarity in communication with the customers, the packaging and so much more. We are now able to send across the brand message in a much stronger manner.

A simple gesture of visiting our unhappy customers helped us realign as a brand. One big learning we draw out of this experience – never run away from your customers, they are your biggest assets and source of market evaluation. Communication is the key. Customers love you for what you promise and hate you for what you do not fulfil. An effective communication with a sense of compassion towards your customers can singlehandedly help sail your boat through.

A simple question to today’s rising startups – how many of us out there can claim to have had a cup of homemade coffee with their customers? We do not mandate visiting every customer, but we ascertain (with experience) that speaking to them can do wonders for your business.

We had dubbed this project as Customer Happiness Drive but honestly, these efforts brought joy not only to our customers but also to the entire GrabOnRent team.

Do you have anything to add to this story? Comment below with your customer interaction stories and feedback for us.