EkGhanti: Taking customer care to a whole new level

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EkGhanti: Taking customer care to a whole new level

Customer acquisition costs way more than customer retention. Attracting a new customer costs anywhere from five to 25 times higher depending on the industry you are in, according to Harvard Business Review. Customer retention is direct result of customer satisfaction. And customer satisfaction in turn is the result of a company's’ effort on providing greater value to their customers- either by reducing pain points or enhancing pleasures. Startups face a hard time keeping up with customer care and satisfaction due to meagre resources at their disposal. However, many businesses, big or small fail to focus on customer retention and are in constant lookout for new customers. And businesses in Nepal are no exceptions.

Founders of ‘EkGhanti’, a customer care product by Vimbox Lab, say, “No More.” Their product, EkGhanti, a missed call based customer care service, can be used by companies to provide greater value to their customers with as little as NRs 3000 a month.

The Start of the dream: Company Formation

Shaswotsher Adhikari and Pradeep Kumar Khadka met in early 2015’s while working at Pioneer Solutions LLC. Before the year ended they had created a few large-scale applications for their clients working as freelancers. Their willingness to go beyond and building their own products made Vimvox Lab official on December 16, 2015.

“We are like a garage startup from the silicon valley in many ways.” says Adhikari reminiscing their early days from two rooms of Khadka’s home. “The small team that we have assembled has accomplished a lot in a year’s time”, he states.

The Eureka Moment: Product idea

The idea struck Adhikari during Dashain of 2015 while watching television, where an Indian reality show used missed call service for voting.

Adhikari observes that, “The trend of giving missed calls were born out of a common problem that the Nepalese face- everyone has a handset that works but the call rates are too expensive.” He further adds that “running customer service on phone calls that will put customers themselves at expense is not fair”. Statistics from World Databank shows that there are more sim cards issued than there are people in Nepal and the internet penetration rate has reached slightly more than 40 per cent. As such it makes more sense to use missed call platform than web or smartphone app, according to the founders.

Accelerator Experience: Understanding the basics

Like every startup they faced problems with managing everything themselves in their early days. Not having a management background made things harder. They were hardly familiar with market segmentation, proper documentation and customer relationships management, as both the founders came from tech background.

They worked hard on developing their product. But, having a great product wasn’t enough. They knew what to sell but not how to sell. The weight of venturing out new was just beginning to take its toll on them when, Enterprise, a Nepal based startup accelerator program came in.

Enterprise helped them cope and even overcome their shortcomings. “It was like an MBA packed within three months” says Adhikari.. Then, they learnt that understanding customers was the key. Delving further into market and customers need, they pivoted their business time and again. Until finally it made more sense to people as well as the business.

Going Forward: The Business Model

Fortunately for Vimvox Lab, the market in Nepal for missed calls service platforms remained untapped until they came up with ‘EkGhanti’ which translates to ‘one ring’ in Nepali. EkGhanti Missed Call is a platform that rest of their products and services like the upcoming EkGhanti Customer Analysis Tool (CAT) will run through.

The working of EkGhanti Missed Calls is simple. You give one ring to the number associated with the service and get the requested information toll free via text message. For instance, Wi-Fi password and the dish of the day with its price in case of Red Mud Coffee.

Furthermore, the information that businesses want to provide upon missed calls is customisable so the service can be applied across various industries in various ways. Singha Durbar, the TV series, for example, informed its missed callers about an event that is supposed to take place on every day’s episode. Yet, this is merely the start.

Enough business engagement with their own missed call service will give them a solid customer database of their own which EkGhanti CAT will make use of. The database includes information like frequency of customers, list of returning customers, real time traffic and so on which can be used by businesses to reach, impact and engage their customers conveniently.

Vimvox Lab’s statistics show that they have served more than 20,000 missed calls so far for Red Mud Coffee and Singha Durbar only. They express their excitement to serve other businesses and startups by giving them a legit database and tools for taking well calculated risks by the end of May 2017.

“It’s high time for businesses in Nepal to up their game when it comes to customer care” says Shaswotsher Adhikari. And from what we have observed, EkGhanti could do just that for your startup with its two-fold advantages. As a business, you can add value to your customers by cost reduction for customer care while gaining better insight into their behavior and interests to further cater to their needs and target your customers through their desired product.

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Guest Saturday, 18 November 2017