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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

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  • 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.”

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.

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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.”

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

7 Pieces Of Wise Advice For Start-Up Entrepreneurs From Successful Business Owners

Launching a business is tough, but with perseverance, a willingness to learn from mistakes and a focus on the future, you can turn your dream into a reality. Seven top South Africa entrepreneurs share their hard-won start-up lessons.

Nadine Todd

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“What seems like an expensive lesson is actually the best thing that could have happened to you.” 

So you want to start a business? Seven successful entrepreneurs share their words of wisdom for start-up entrepreneurs

1. Offer advice and share your expertise freely

The more your clients are educated, the more empowered they will feel, and the more they will view you as a trusted advisor. I gave my clients material to help them develop the best labour policies and procedures. It didn’t make my service redundant — it built trust between us. — Arnoux Mare, Innovative Solutions Group, turnover R780 million

2. Stop planning and start doing

We all tend to complicate business with planning and processes. These shouldn’t be ignored, but you need to also just start — start your business, start that project, start walking the path you want to be on. — Gareth Leck, co-founder, Joe Public, turnover R700 million

Related: Watch List: 50 Top SA Small Businesses To Watch

3. Play your heart out and the money will follow

I learnt this valuable lesson when I was a student and busked at Greenmarket Square. You don’t stand with your hat, waiting for cash and then play — you play your heart out and the bills pile up in your hat. It’s the same in business. You can’t look at the bottom line first; it’s the other way around. — Pepe Marais, co-founder, Joe Public, turnover R700 million

4. Love learning lessons

What seems like an expensive lesson is actually the best thing that could have happened to you. I wasn’t paying attention to my partner or my books in our early days, and I didn’t realise the debt he was putting us into. We ended up owing R1 million. In hindsight, it was a cheap lesson to learn. Imagine if that happened today? The fallout would be much greater. We have 19 stores and nearly 100 staff members. It would hurt everyone, not just me. — Rodney Norman, founder, Chrome Supplements, turnover R100 million

5. Landing an investor starts with your story

A great story and data are the two golden rules of attracting an investor. You need both if you really want to access growth funding that will take your business to the next level. — Grant Rushmere, founder, Bos Ice Tea

Related: Watch List: 15 SA eCommerce Entrepreneurs Who Have Built Successful Online Businesses

6. Offer solutions

If you’re not solving a problem and creating value, don’t ship it — throw it away. That’s cheaper than selling a bad product. — Nadir Khamissa, co-founder, Hello Group

7. Small, clever decisions lead to big profits

One of the most important lessons any business owner can learn is that success on profit is nothing more than the accumulative sum of rand decisions. Lots of small, clever money decisions lead to big profits, and without the disciplines of frugality, money gets lost. It’s that simple. Question every single line item on a quote. Do we need it? Can we get it cheaper? This is what it’s about. — Vusi Thembekwayo, founder, Watermark

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Lessons Learnt

Here’s How Bosses From Hell Helped 6 Entrepreneurs Grow

From control freaks to being unco-operative, founders share what they learned from their worst boss.

Entrepreneur

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In business, sometimes the most valuable lessons come from the worst teachers. We asked six entrepreneurs: What’s the greatest thing you learned from a bad boss?

1. Bring everyone in

“A former boss was very hierarchical and discouraged collaboration. Everyone reported directly to her, and interdepartmental meetings were practically prohibited. It meant that only our boss had the full picture – we missed a lot of opportunity for alignment and cooperation. Today at our company, it’s a priority to hold regular team meetings and foster a strong culture of collaboration. It’s crucial that our team members weave collective sharing into the fabric of their day-to-day interactions.” – Melissa Biggs Bradley, founder and CEO, Indagare

2. Be vulnerable

“Don’t be afraid to show your emotions! I worked for a partner at McKinsey who was an incredible person but an awful manager because he kept his feelings bottled up. After a client presentation went awry, our team didn’t know where we stood with our manager. It was tense, awkward and demotivating. Showing vulnerability and letting others know when you’re genuinely upset can help everyone externalise their emotions, build trust and reassure employees that they aren’t alone. It sends a clearer message than stone-faced silence.” – Leo Wang, founder and CEO, Buffy

Related: 5 Factors That Make A Great Boss

3. Lend a hand

“I worked for someone who would never help out the junior staff with their work, even if he was finished with his own – he’d simply pack up and leave early. I now make an extra effort to ask my staff if they can use a hand when my own workload is light. It’s created a culture that feels more like a tight-knit team and less like a hierarchy.” – Adam Tichauer, founder and CEO, Camp No Counselors

4. Move as a group

“When I was a nurse manager, I had a boss with no experience in healthcare. She wanted to change our process for keeping patients from getting blood clots. I knew it was a mistake, but she insisted. Ultimately, the change failed. It taught me the importance of empowering staff to speak up. At Extend Fertility, we collect feedback from customers via surveys. Results are shared with our staff, and together we develop action plans to address negative experiences. It’s the employees who interact with patients on a daily basis who have the best solutions.” – Ilaina Edison, CEO, Extend Fertility

5. Trust your team

“I once worked for a woman who joined our team after I had been working there for a while. Every time I stood up, she’d ask me where I was going, whether it was to the bathroom or to the printer. She had a fear of not having control over my time and work. As a young adult, this behaviour really demoralised me, especially since I had excelled at the job for years prior. My leadership style is less neurotic. Once my team members have my trust, I’m pretty hands-off.” – Denise Lee, founder and CEO, Alala

Related: 5 Leadership Questions Every Boss Should Ask

6. Respect others’ time

“Early in my career, I had a project manager who’d wait until the very last minute to review work, then convey lots of new information and requests. This happened at the end of the day or, worse, after hours, when I was home. It was demoralising, inefficient and disrespectful. In my career, I’m conscious about reviewing work in a timely and complete way so my team can successfully incorporate my feedback without generating a last-minute crisis – or lingering resentment.” – Kirsten R. Murray, principal architect and owner, Olson Kundig 

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

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Lessons Learnt

11 Things Very Successful People Do That 99% Of People Don’t

Consistency is a big part of succeeding. The top 1% of performers in the world know this is the secret to their success.

John Rampton

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Becoming wealthy and leaving an impact on the world is not an easy feat. If it were, everyone would go around doing it. At that point, it would not be much of an accomplishment at all.

Rather, being extremely successful requires an extreme amount of work. Especially when there is nobody looking. The best people have developed habits that help them reach their goals. These routines are not necessarily challenging to form, but they take consistent effort over extended periods of time. Creating these tendencies in your own life will propel your success.

Here are 11 things, that 99% of people (myself included) do not do, but really should.

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