I reside in Narela, a suburb area that falls on the border of Delhi and Haryana. Being next to the national highway, the area is sprouted by many dhabas (low cost 24 hour restaurants by the roadside) and chaiwalas (tea vendors) — all selling the best and the most hygienic food at cheapest prices, or perhaps they claim to.
Every evening before leaving my hostel for the evening walk, I go to the Chinku Chaiwala for a cup of tea. As a loyal customer, I am very frank with Chinku — a 20 something hard working owner of the shop, and often ask him questions regarding his business and life. Chinku is decent enough to answer them honestly.
Of late, I have been working on the private beta strategy of my startup, and there have been some conflicting thoughts that have been running through my mind. While doing some online research, it just appeared to me that Chinku — who is running a real profit making business must also be facing some real world business problems. Why not check upon him as to see how he overcomes them.
The next day at 5:30 in the morning I went over to Chinku’s tea stall. He starts early, earlier than most of the people in his business (one of his USPs), and caught him in the midst of his busy routine.
“I don’t get many customers around this time. On a good day I sell 20 cups of cups of tea between 5:30 and 6:30. Most of the people start coming in around 7:00. But starting early gives me time to prepare samosas and bread pakoras. When my customers ask for them, I don’t make them wait like other chaiwalas. This makes them very happy.”
Chinku is clever. He understands that his customers hate waiting. Perhaps a good customer research on his end. In-order provide a high level customer satisfaction, he prepares the dishes before hand. Great strategy! Great implementation!
Customization. That’s the pet word in the startup industry — “We customize our product for you”. Even my startup uses that line. Customization means making your customer feel special and catering to their individualistic needs. We all love customization. And this is exactly what Chinku does.
Chinku customized the tea for me. I like to have one spoon of sugar, a little ginger and more tea leaves. Strong tea. Chinku prepares exactly the same for me. Product-Market Fit, right? This is what I want. This is what I am willing to pay for. And this is what I get. Awesome!
Add to this the fact that I don’t even have to tell Chinku what I need. Machine Learning? Possibly 😉
Being a regular customer, Chinku keeps a tab on what exactly I like. Every other time I visit him, I don’t have to repeat them. They have already been cached by his brain’s browser history.
A great example of customer engagement leading to customer satisfaction and retention and in turn resulting in increase in sales. Wow! Calculate the ROI on this investment and you would be truly amazed.
It turns out that Chinku is a great businessman, and has effectively come up with strategies to increase his business. Next up I will be talking to Chinku regarding his competition. I bet he must be applying some great strategies there too.