Connect with us

Lessons Learnt

How Munaaz Catering Equipment Puts Customer Experience First

Yacoob Carr and Cape-based Munaaz Catering Equipment makes customers the number one item on the menu.

Monique Verduyn

Published

on

Yacoob-Carr

Vital stats

  • 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.

We-recommend-tickWe recommend: How Spur Overhauled Its Supply Chain

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.”

Being consistent

Munaaz-Catering-EquipmentCarr 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.

We-recommend-tickWe recommend: Mark Pilgrim On Authenticity In Business

“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.

We-recommend-tickWe recommend: How SNG Built A Leadership Legacy

“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.”

Monique Verduyn is a freelance writer. She has more than 12 years’ experience in writing for the corporate, SME, IT and entertainment sectors, and has interviewed many of South Africa’s most prominent business leaders and thinkers. Find her on Google+.

Lessons Learnt

(Podcast) ‘Bizarre Foods’ Andrew Zimmern: ‘I’m Addicted To The Hustle’

How this week’s ‘How Success Happens’ guest overcame personal struggles and built an empire.

Dan Bova

Published

on

andrew-zimmern

I didn’t know what to expect when we scheduled an interview over breakfast with today’s guest Andrew Zimmern. As you may know, the chef, writer, restaurateur and TV personality made a name for himself traveling the world and eating some, well, bizarre foods on his hit travel/food show, Bizarre Foods.

Turns out our breakfast was pretty normal – we didn’t dig into a fresh plate of scrambled brains or anything – but the conversation was anything but typical.

Over the past couple of years, Zimmern has built a true empire around his name with books, TV shows, restaurants (including his new Twin Cities joint Lucky Cricket), and a production company, but as he very candidly told me, the road to success has not been easy. He has gone through a lot of personal pain on his journey, and he says it is a daily endeavour to keep himself moving on the right track.

As Zimmern explained, over the course of his life, he’s had problems with substance abuse, depression – even homelessness – and he was very open about sharing the lessons he’s learned along the way about coping and finding redemption. We also spoke about his dear friend, Anthony Bourdain, and about the struggles of feeling overwhelmed that most of us face.

Related: Gareth Cliff Shares His Tips For Starting Your Very Own Podcast

But don’t get me wrong, he’s really funny, too! There’s nothing “normal” about Andrew Zimmern. Hope you’ll enjoy our conversation, thanks for listening.

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

Continue Reading

Lessons Learnt

How BrightRock Is Disrupting The Insurance Industry With These 2 Pivotal Strategies

Developments in technology, and clear communication are positioning BrightRock to disrupt their industry and transform the consumer experience.

Monique Verduyn

Published

on

brightrock

Vital Stats

  • Players: Sean Hanlon, Leopold Malan, Schalk Malan, Suzanne Stevens
  • Company: BrightRock
  • Est: 2011
  • Visit: www.brightrock.co.za

BrightRock was started around a dining room table in 2011 by four people with years of industry experience and — importantly — a diverse set of complementary skills.  They wanted to make changes to an industry with an age-old methodology by allowing customers to co-create a solution that precisely meets their individual needs, and adjusts as those needs change. Today, BrightRock is the fastest-growing insurer in the intermediated individual life risk market. It also provides underwriting management services to funeral parlour businesses and, more recently, has entered the group risk insurance market, offering its needs-matched approach to employees.

The founders of BrightRock, established in 2011, knew the life insurance industry all too well, and they found its methodology wanting. “Traditional life insurance lumps all the individual’s needs into one policy,” says CEO Schalk Malan.

“It’s a methodology that has been around for centuries. We started afresh and looked at how we could design life insurance based on individual requirements. Our cover is designed to exactly match each specific financial need. Because there is no waste, it’s more cost efficient and sustainable. And if circumstances change and our customer needs more cover, it’s easy to get it because needs-matched design enables the policy to change in line with changing needs.”

1. Embracing digital technology to provide needs-matched insurance

Suzanne Stevens, marketing executive director at BrightRock, points out that this type of innovation achieves efficiency (cost savings) and effectiveness (higher returns). “By harnessing digital technology, we have made our operations more efficient, and aggressively lowered costs by up to 30% for our customers. Every rand they spend with us works harder for them. That’s the benefit of a solution designed around the customer.”

BrightRock’s founders took a similar approach. ‘We ditched legacy thinking in favour of creating a product that is intuitive and easy to navigate. An enormous amount of time and effort went into writing and designing that system, and creating the optimal customer journey.”

Related: How BrightRock Is Rocking The (Industry) Boat In Only 5 Years Since Launch

Unlike clunky legacy systems, BrightRock’s platform is modularised, and was built according to the agile principle of rapid delivery cycles. The result is a technology stack with longevity, that is also flexible enough to be tweaked when needed.

“The advantage of the technology available today is that you can plug things in and pull them out as required,” says Suzanne. “That’s one of the enablers of a truly disruptive mindset. To step away from accepted norms and find new solutions requires curiosity and creativity, as well as a lot of courage to go up against large incumbents in the market. There is always resistance to new technology, although we are fortunate in this country to have one of the most innovative insurance sectors in the world.”

2. Effective communication is critical

These disruptors have set themselves above the rest through one surprisingly simple tactic —  effective communication. They agree that it simply doesn’t matter how world-changing your product or service is if you don’t communicate it to the right audience at the right time. New companies that fail to communicate their remarkable new development will quickly be pushed aside by other disruptors. Without a clear communication strategy that reaches the audience in the industry you’re trying to disrupt, you’ll set yourself up for failure. A key question to ask when you are developing your communication strategy is simply whether people understand what you do.

“Because the premise for our product was fundamentally different from anything on the market, communication and clear messaging were critical to convincing our clients to put their trust in us,” says Schalk.

“It was especially important to educate insurance advisors so they would understand what we were doing, why we were doing it, and how it was better than the other options available. That was key to disrupting the individual life market.”

Currently, BrightRock employs 380 staff, has experienced 40% year-on-year growth, and has an annualised premium income of more than R1,3 billion. The company has recently entered the group risk environment with a similar offering that addresses many of the same shortcomings of traditional group risk products. “The inefficiencies of the structuring of group products has meant that, to remain competitive, insurers have cut the benefits offered to employees, undermining their sense of financial security. Change is needed, and we believe our needs-matched philosophy positions us to change the group risk market too.”

‘We ditched legacy thinking in favour of creating a product that is intuitive and easy to navigate. An enormous amount of time and effort went into writing and designing that system, and creating the optimal customer journey.”

Unlike clunky legacy systems, the BrightRock’s platform is modularised, and was built according to the agile principle of rapid delivery cycles. The result is a technology stack with longevity, that is also flexible enough to be tweaked when needed.

Related: BrightRock’s 5 Entrepreneurial Tips For Start-ups

This iterative, modular approach typically begins with defining the strategy and programme plan upfront, delivering a core capability fast so it can provide benefits immediately, and then continuously improving with regular, incremental capability improvements to achieve the objectives of the strategy. It’s an approach that fosters closer collaboration between stakeholders, improved transparency, earlier delivery, greater allowance for change and more focus on the business outcomes.

“The advantage of the technology available today is that you can plug things in and pull them out as required,” says Suzanne. “That’s one of the enablers of a truly disruptive mindset. To step away from accepted norms and find new solutions requires curiosity and creativity, as well as a lot of courage to go up against large incumbents in the market. There is always resistance to new technology, although we are fortunate in this country to have one of the most innovative insurance sectors in the world.”

Continue Reading

Lessons Learnt

The 9 Obsessions You Need To Have To Become A Self-Made Millionaire

Here’s how to stay focused on your millionaire goals.

Published

on

Prev1 of 10

elon-musk

The ones who succeed weren’t handed a golden ticket; it wasn’t chance that helped them cultivate their fortune. To reach millionaire status, you must be driven to reach your dreams. You must be obsessed in order to be successful.

These are the nine obsessions that give every self-made millionaire an edge in creating success and wealth.

Prev1 of 10

Continue Reading
Advertisement

SPOTLIGHT

Advertisement

Recent Posts

Follow Us

Entrepreneur-Newsletters
*
We respect your privacy. 
* indicates required.
Advertisement

Trending