Written by Sonal Jaiswal | Evangelist, Customer Guru
We live in an age where a 12 year old are starting companies! Such young entrepreneurs exist in huge numbers but only few have managed to be on top of the game consistently. Obviously, these successful young entrepreneurs are energetic, brimming with confidence and are extremely innovative. But, it is no coincidence that their emphasis on a great customer experience is a commonality in their success stories. The young age coupled with a focus on customer experience is a deadly combination!
Here are a few successful entrepreneurs under 40 who are taking the world by a storm because of their insane focus on customer experience!
Ritesh Agarwal – OYO Rooms: an app to provide affordable and standardised accommodation
Though there are several applications available for booking hotels, Indian customers had a tough time finding affordable accommodations that offered basic services with clean atmosphere. Ritesh Agarwal (22), founder of OYO Rooms, understood the potential of this customer need and started his inspiring journey of building India’s largest branded network of budget hotels. OYO Rooms is now spread across 170 cities with 4500+ hotels offering standardized stay experiences at an unmatched price! The idea behind OYO Rooms is to improve the customer experience in the budget hotel segment by providing standardisation on measures including free wi-fi, complimentary breakfast, clean white linen and branded toiletries etc.
OYO Rooms’ app has made hotel booking extremely convenient and seamless for its customers – another customer experience enhancement for busy business travellers. It automates the entire booking process from selecting the most appropriate location, room, amenities at the hotel etc., enabling customers to avail all this in just two clicks on their smartphone! To make things even more convenient for the customers, this app also provides personal room service to guests staying at an OYO.
Customers generally felt misguided by online hotel descriptions and they would face issues once checked in, such as: leaky washrooms, non-functioning air conditioners and geysers, and unclean linen. However, OYO has worked tremendously hard to earn the trust of customers by setting up an extremely stringent standardisation process – a checklist for each of its participating hotels to comply if they wish to be an OYO member. As it operates across the length and breadth of India and across different geographies, it has also developed an app for the standardization process.
OYO is the quintessential example of a company that leverages technology and focuses keenly on customer experience.
Jan Koum – WhatsApp: a mobile messaging application
WhatsApp is globally THE most popular and used messaging app for smartphones. Period.
As on January 2016, it had 990 million active users! WhatsApp came, it saw and it conquered. And how!? Ever wondered what caused the meteoric rise of this app? Customer centricity, ofcourse!
The founders of WhatsApp, Jan Koum and Brian Acton are both known to understand that the customer is the king! They went ahead and built a product that suited the customers’ needs to the T. A simple, fast, no-frills-attached product that revolutionised mobile messaging. Their intense focus on wowing the customer prompted them to build a product without any ads. Their mantra: “No Ads! No Games! No Gimmicks!”, is now one of the most famous slogans in the app-developer community. And look at the way it paid off! WhatsApp is one of those rare products that did not need any marketing – its customers were its walking advertisements. This is exactly what happens when you build a product that delights a customer; your customers become your brand evangelists.
Adam D’Angelo – Quora: a knowledge database through Q&A
While users still use the term ‘google it’ for searching information on internet, ‘quora it’ is becoming more prevalent amongst those who need a specific answer to a specific question. Adam D’Angelo quit his post as Chief Technology Officer at Facebook in 2008 and started Quora in 2009, when he was 23. By providing only high quality content and mapping the contributors under various disciplines, Quora got ahead of its competitors such as Yahoo Answers and Ask.com, owing to its seamless customer experience. It brought people across the globe together, letting them help each other in a beautifully informal way. The voting system for posted answers allowed more people to contribute in terms of support as well as validate each other’s posts.
Quora has gained a loyal customer base by providing a great customer experience to its users. Firstly, it has an amazing customer engagement technique in showing related search results. Secondly, it makes the on-boarding process super easy by helping new users find who and what to follow. Thirdly, it always keep users hooked by sending periodic emails based on the their interests.
Adam understood and absorbed the basic premise that people need simple and trustworthy answers to their questions. Because of its laser-sharp focus on keeping its users happy, the Quora community has some very famous people on board: Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Ashton Kutcher and Dustin Moskovitz to name a few.
Drew Houston – Dropbox: a file hosting service
When he was 22, Drew Houston chanced upon the idea of Dropbox after repeatedly forgetting his USB drive during his college days. He soon realised that he was not the only victim of forgetfulness. Hence, he came up with this unique idea where users could create folders on their desktops that Dropbox synchronised with cloud-storage in the background. Dropbox solves some very basic problems: it enables you to get to all your files from anywhere, on any device, and share them with anyone; it can sends extremely large files to anyone easily; it enables you to work on presentations and files simultaneously with others; and it helps you access the files from any device, from anywhere. Perhaps the biggest reason for its massive popularity is that Dropbox solves a critical problem and does it with great customer experience.
By using the freemium business model, Dropbox developed a huge customer base. The word of mouth approach worked fantastically well for its customers’ too, because each user gets additional storage space by recommending Dropbox to others. Houston continues to aim at building the world’s largest platform for collaboration.
‘Don’t just dream big, make the dream true!’ has become the motto of today’s generation. Each of these young entrepreneurs have exemplified how using technology to the fullest, driving innovation and putting oneself in the customer’s shoes can make a big difference to the world. Are there any other entrepreneurs under 40 that have shown that customer centricity can greatly change an organization’s path to success? Do let us know your thoughts and views on this bit!