de­liv­er­ing de­light

The Smart Manager - - Contents - As told to Ashutosh Go­tad 01 http://www.busi­ness­world.in/ar­ti­cle/ Rush-For-Grocery-On­line/04-05-2017-117551/ 02 http://re­tail.eco­nomic­times.in­di­a­times.com/re-tales/in­di­anon­line-grocery-re­tail­ing-will-grow-de­spite-chal­lenges/1959

Cu­tomers are our best am­bas­sadors, says Al­binder Dhindsa, Gro­fers.

At Gro­fers, our prime fo­cus has al­ways been on pro­vid­ing the best cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ence at ev­ery touch­point. Be it pro­cure­ment of prod­ucts, technology and in­no­va­tion, train­ing pro­grams (for all teams and not just de­liv­ery ex­ec­u­tives), or pro­mo­tions, ev­ery­thing has been aligned keep­ing in mind our cus­tomers. All teams place the cus­tomer at the cen­ter of their plans and de­vise so­lu­tions to con­tin­u­ously im­prove on our ser­vice. More­over, ev­ery­one is on their toes and try­ing to be ahead of the present to min­i­mize ef­fects of any un­fore­seen is­sues. This be­comes the acid test of our cus­tomer ser­vice. Our phi­los­o­phy is very clear and sim­ple to com­pre­hend: ‘un­der­stand, em­pathize, and act’.

train­ing em­ploy­ees

Our em­ploy­ees are our first cus­tomers. It be­comes im­per­a­tive for them to un­der­stand the func­tion­ing of Gro­fers in and out. If you were to join us, this is the first thing we would ask

of you. The pur­pose of this ac­tiv­ity is to let the new em­ployee un­der­stand us at ev­ery touch­point.

We have a des­ig­nated train­ing team which runs an em­ployee through the whole process of de­light­ing the cus­tomer and han­dling com­plaints. Af­ter the com­ple­tion of class­room train­ing, the em­ploy­ees un­dergo on-the-job train­ing, dur­ing which they have to im­ple­ment all their learn­ings from the class­room ses­sions. The whole process re­quires a cou­ple of weeks. The new joi­nees are then teamed up with ex­ist­ing em­ploy­ees on the ba­sis of their per­son­al­ity traits. This al­lows them to set­tle in and also gives the ex­ist­ing em­ploy­ees a sense of re­spon­si­bil­ity. ‘Town­hall’ is an­other ac­tiv­ity which is con­ducted on a fre­quent ba­sis. This is done to up­date ev­ery­one within the com­pany (across all of­fices) about the growth and ar­eas of im­prove­ment.

deal­ing with de­vi­a­tion from norms

Our train­ing team con­ducts a weekly re­fresher ses­sion with all the em­ploy­ees. The rea­sons for em­ploy­ees de­vi­at­ing from work­ing norms could be many. It could be both pro­fes­sional and per­sonal. Thus, it is im­por­tant to un­der­stand their per­spec­tive. Post this re­fresher ses­sion, man­agers are up­dated about the is­sues pre­vail­ing within their teams. A one-on-one ses­sion with the em­ployee gives a man­ager an un­der­stand­ing of the things af­fect­ing the em­ployee’s per­for­mance. Ac­cord­ingly, a de­ci­sion to send the em­ployee for re­train­ing is made.

at­tract­ing cus­tomers in the on­line space

Our ex­ist­ing cus­tomers are our best am­bas­sadors. If I had to list one thing which sep­a­rates us from other play­ers in this seg­ment, it would be ‘cus­tomer de­light’. We try to of­fer the most com­pet­i­tive prices for daily use essentials and de­light our cus­tomers with small sur­prises ev­ery now and then. We started a ‘Tweet n Shop’ ini­tia­tive where you could just tweet @Gro­fers about any­thing you want (lit­er­ally any­thing) and we would de­liver it. Our mango cam­paign—free man­goes with ev­ery or­der—last year was a huge suc­cess and at­tracted a lot of cus­tomers. This year we are giv­ing ex­pe­ri­ences with ev­ery or­der for our Mother’s Day cam­paign. Plac­ing our cus­tomers first helps us re­tain them. They in turn, help us at­tract more cus­tomers. When we get good mar­gins from our part­ners, we pass them on to our cus­tomers and of­fer pric­ing that is bet­ter than the su­per­mar­kets. But more im­por­tantly, it is our cus­tomer ser­vice that drives re­ten­tion for us.

the chal­lenge of the ‘In­dian cus­tomer’

Our cus­tomer is a su­per­mar­ket goer and not a ki­rana shop­per. If you visit a su­per­mar­ket, you will save on gro­ceries but end up spend­ing on fuel and park­ing. More­over, you spend ex­tra hours of your day and end up car­ry­ing heavy bags. The modern In­dian con­sumer is starved for time. We aim to give them their ex­ist­ing ben­e­fits of off­line grocery shop­ping with the added de­light of a lit­tle ex­tra time for them­selves. So, I would not call it a chal­lenge. The chal­lenge lies in how you com­mu­ni­cate the voice of your brand.

bring­ing cus­tomers on­line

You will be sur­prised to know how many home­mak­ers browse and shop on­line. Peo­ple now are keener than ever to shop on­line. In In­dian house­holds, the wife, who is the home­maker, is the key de­ci­sion-maker and the hus­band is an en­abler of technology. He is tech savvy and helps her shop on­line. Our cus­tomer pro­file is dom­i­nated by the work­ing class, typ­i­cally in the age bracket of 25-35 years. Work­ing men and women have seen the high­est trac­tion on Gro­fers. Of late, we are also see­ing a slightly older tar­get group use the app—in the age bracket of 35-45 and even more. Most of our cus­tomers seek con­ve­nience but are price con­scious at the same time. At Gro­fers, we have an app along with a

A one-on-one ses­sion with the em­ployee gives a man­ager an un­der­stand­ing of the things af­fect­ing the em­ployee’s per­for­mance.

web­site to cater to the larger au­di­ences out there. It is quite in­tu­itive and comes with fea­tures like re­order, in-app sup­port, chat, live or­der track­ing, and not to for­get the ease of pay­ment. See­ing that peo­ple are more com­fort­able with web­sites, we launched one and a mo­bile web­site. You will also find voice-based or­der­ing pos­si­ble on Gro­fers six months down the line.

the num­bers

Our growth has been steady since we re­aligned our busi­ness. We get 15,000 or­ders a day with a ticket size of R1100 and aim to in­crease this by 30% over the next six months. Our top-sell­ing cat­e­gories are sta­ples— atta, pulses, spices, cook­ing oils, and rice.

Most of our cus­tomers seek con­ve­nience but are price con­scious at the same time.

role of in­no­va­tion in cus­tomer ser­vice

Our technology and in­no­va­tions are al­ways de­signed keep­ing cus­tomer needs at the heart of the so­lu­tion. Be­fore any in­no­va­tion, we ask our­selves, “Is this use­ful to our cus­tomers?” Gro­fers is all about sav­ing time, money, and sav­ing you from the chore of grocery shop­ping. Our cus­tomers ex­pect an over­all ‘wow’ ex­pe­ri­ence, which is less time con­sum­ing. It starts right from the app—we have made the in­ter­face fairly sim­ple. The in-app sup­port al­lows one to raise any is­sue re­gard­ing an or­der or check sta­tus of or­ders and re­funds. The op­tion to chat live with a cus­tomer care rep­re­sen­ta­tive has been re­cently in­tro­duced. One ex­am­ple which changed the over­all cus­tomer is the ‘real time in­ven­tory sync’. Our de­liv­ery

ful­fill­ment rate was 80% last year, and has gone up to a stag­ger­ing 99.8% now.

deal­ing with griev­ances

Our de­liv­ery ex­ec­u­tive waits for the cus­tomer to check all prod­ucts. Any prod­uct can be re­turned then and there in case of any de­vi­a­tion. The re­fund is au­to­mat­i­cally pro­cessed. We have a ‘no ques­tions asked’ re­fund pol­icy. If an item is miss­ing from an or­der, we give 200% of the item value back in re­turn. In case, a cus­tomer raises an is­sue af­ter the de­liv­ery, there is a process in line. For qual­ity is­sues/dam­aged prod­uct, a re­place­ment or­der is made or a re­fund is pro­cessed as per the re­quire­ment of a cus­tomer.

The op­tion to chat live with a cus­tomer care rep­re­sen­ta­tive has been re­cently in­tro­duced.

em­pow­er­ing em­ploy­ees

Our ap­proach in re­solv­ing a com­plaint is straight­for­ward. The em­ploy­ees are em­pow­ered to take ex­cep­tional calls. Man­agers are al­ways ap­proach­able for es­ca­la­tions and ex­ec­u­tives have the free­dom to walk up to the se­nior man­age­ment for re­solv­ing is­sues.

seek­ing feed­back

Cus­tomers can rate their or­der ex­pe­ri­ence via the in-app sup­port on Gro­fers app or share feed­back about it by email. We also have proac­tive checks in place wherein we call our cus­tomers to get their feed­back in or­der to con­tin­u­ously im­prove our ser­vices.

We have had a few im­prove­ments put into place be­cause of feed­back. One such case was that of re­turn­ing a prod­uct be­cause it was mis­tak­enly or­dered. We pre­vi­ously did not ac­cept such re­quests be­cause of the huge op­er­a­tional costs in­volved. This, how­ever, was dent­ing cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ence. Now, the process has been im­ple­mented and we take such ex­cep­tions for new cus­tomers and at the same time, ed­u­cate them about the process too.

broad­en­ing base

While we started the app for the smart­phone user, we re­al­ized there are peo­ple who love our ser­vice but pre­fer to use the web in­stead. There were peo­ple who did not use our ser­vice sim­ply be­cause we were app only. We re­ceived plenty of queries about this. So, we as­sem­bled a team of tal­ented en­gi­neers and de­sign­ers to bring the Gro­fers or­der­ing ex­pe­ri­ence onto the web plat­form. This move fur­ther helped in driv­ing or­der vol­umes for us. Our web­site now ac­counts for 20% of our to­tal or­ders. ■

AL­BINDER DHINDSA IS CO-FOUNDER AND CEO OF GRO­FERS.

The on­line ‘grocery or­der­ing’ busi­ness in In­dia has not taken off like some oth­ers such as ap­parel, elec­tron­ics, etc. It is rid­dled with many chal­lenges, some of them unique—the need for cold stor­age—to main­tain the qual­ity of per­ish­able prod­ucts such as fish and veg­eta­bles. How­ever, things are now look­ing bright for this sec­tor which is pro­jected to grow by around 38%. In­dia was the fifth largest mar­ket in Asia Pa­cific for on­line grocery re­tail­ing stand­ing at $135mn in 2016.2 Many play­ers are now op­er­a­tional in this space and are work­ing on dif­fer­ent busi­ness mod­els. Gro­fers, a mo­bile and web ap­pli­ca­tion is set­ting the bench­mark for ser­vice de­liv­ery and cus­tomer sat­is­fac­tion. We speak to Al­binder Dhindsa, Co-founder and CEO, Gro­fers to know more about their zest to make a mark in this cat­e­gory.

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