- Player: Yacoob Carr
- Company: Munaaz Catering Equipment
- EST: 2011
- Contact: +27 (0)21 447 9756
- Visit: munaaz.co.za
Customer experience analyst and advisor Bruce Temkin defines customer experience management as “the discipline of increasing loyalty by exceeding customers’ needs and expectations.”
Today, an increasing number of companies are moving away from product differentiation, and are instead focusing on customer experience as their key differentiator.
One South African entrepreneur who has done just that is Yacoob Carr, founder of Munaaz Catering Equipment. Launched in 2011, the business has doubled its growth every year and has a presence throughout southern Africa.
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Ask him why he’s so passionate about his business and he’ll tell you it’s because he loves food. He and his team of 24 employees are all dedicated foodies.
“We love what we do because we provide the magic that makes everything happen behind the scenes. We give celebrity chefs like Luke Dale-Roberts, of The Test Kitchen fame, the tools to produce the wonderful dishes he creates. That gives me so much joy. Our clients are creators, and they inspire us. In turn, we take satisfaction from knowing that we add real value to their lives by helping them to meet their goals.”
When they choose Munaaz Catering Equipment, he explains, they purchase peace of mind, and not just a product. This is a critical factor in the hospitality industry and in the high-end food service business in particular, where consumers are fussy and have high expectations.
Beyond a smile
To differentiate the customer service provided by Munaaz Catering Equipment, the company has a customer care management system in place, developed by its HR department.
“Customer service is not just a warm smile and friendly greeting,” Carr says. “It’s a total positive experience from start to finish.”
He says that a customer service ethic is built on passion for the business. “You have to be the first to believe in your product if you’re going to be successful at selling it. When you are not convinced, there is no way to convince others.”
Carr insists that the most important feature of a focus on customer satisfaction should be consistency. “Even more important than the quality of your product, is the reliability and the uniformity of the customer’s engagement with your business.”
As an example, every one of his customers receives a call after delivery has been made to ensure that everything is perfect. If there are any problems, they can be rectified quickly, before there is any impact on the clients’ business.
“Most importantly, we run surveys with our happiest clients, those who rate our service nine out ten, for example, and ask them what they like best, and what we could do to score a perfect ten. Based on their critique, we continuously roll out service improvements.”
Having started his first business at the age of 21, selling second-hand restaurant and catering equipment, he has also learnt a thing or two about employing people who share his enthusiasm for customer service.
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“I only employ people who believe as much in helping our clients achieve their goals as I do. When it comes to sales staff especially, I seek out those who are better than me at what they do. I’m interested in having people on my team who are the creators of their own circumstances, rather than creatures of circumstance. During recruitment interviews we question people carefully to gauge whether they will fit, but there is also a lot of intuition on my part.”
Create your own circumstances
Nurturing the compulsion to succeed makes success happen. To gain power over your life, Carr believes, you must be a creator of your own circumstances, not a passive observer.
Taking inspiration from the words of Napoleon Hill, he says he chooses to employ people who make their own circumstances; their own opportunities.
“People who envision a better life for themselves are the type of people who will share your own passion for the business and, because they believe in success, they will be your best ambassadors.”
Focus on success, he says, and that will be the outcome. Focus on what’s negative, and failure will be your reward.
“By keeping your eye on the outcome you desire, you are able to overcome problems and challenges. I teach my staff a straight-line strategy – if you remain focused and ensure that you are in an enthusiastic state, you can achieve your goal more easily and directly.
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“If you are dealing with a client and a problem comes up, keep your eye on the goal, which is to provide exceptional customer service. Focus on the solution that will enable you to deliver, and worry about solving the background problems later. It’s amazing how much can be achieved by adopting that attitude.”