We are publishing the interview of Co-Founder, Dhobilite.
Share with us why you started your business and what was the problem you decided to solve?
It happened at the starting of year 2011 when I and Abhishek met in a wedding at Kota, we were casually discussing about the pain points in service industry. Previously I had some bad experiences with services of some companies, so I personally felt that people put lot of efforts on giving “user experience” on their website or apps front-ends but never care for actual “user experience” (the core service) in real world. That’s the reason why I always wanted to get into the service sector. I knew that if its a pain point for me then definitely it will be pain points for others also. I started with gym but then got into laundry. I knew that I have expertise in solving the “Service” related problems and laundry being such a big “unorganized” industry needs such Professionalism.
We are providing an end to end solution for cleaning industry, technology is an enabler for us. We use technology to bring professionalism in the services. We have seen how large system works in large organization and we also understand in and out about laundry. On top of it we also understand e-commerce business, so basically we are bringing best of all the world together. I think its pretty big opportunity which we are doing pretty well.
Very strong domain expertise and we know laundry in and out, an end to end solution for customer and vendors. While other focus on online marketing be believe in providing operational support so that delivery is of a certain quality and in time.(Numbers we are showing is pure organic growth – word of mouth has played a big role here because of our service)
Share how your journey started. Describe the passion that drove you to believe enough in what you were doing to take the inherent risks.
We started with a small laundry setup in Noida and we were not sure of the market response at that time. However, we believed that daily laundry is a pain point for everyone and if people get a good option they are willing to switch over, this also gives them more time for other activities. Initially the traction was slow because people either did not know about our or they were not confident enough to give their clothes to a new company. Some customers even asked what if we run away with their clothes? We had to tackle these questions with patience and had to assure them that we are here to help them with their daily chores.
Tell us about the obstacles that you faced in this journey:
Parents: It was really difficult to make them understand the reason for quitting a handsome paying job and get into *washing* business. Frankly speaking we are still struggling on this front 🙂
Employees: There were too many small processes that were involved. And when you are dealing with blue collar employees it becomes impossible to handle all those processes. Though we solved each one of it using technology and experience 🙂 but it was a big challenge at that time.
This is the moment when your efforts paid off in a first taste of success.
The breakthrough moment was after releasing our App on mobile platform we started to gain traction so much so that in a short period of 4 months we more than doubled our customer base. This was the point where we realized that we are on the right path to solve the people’s need.
How your proof of concept resulted in the seed money you needed?
We are bootstrapped company and didn’t have the luxury to experiment. We tried to commit all our mistakes during the starting phase and came with a solid business plan wherein we decided to build on a customer experience using technology. We believe the quality of the service reflects the level of professionalism in the company. Our customer doesn’t come to visit our office and workshop but customer can get a feel of our process after using our services and this enhances the customer experience.
Scaling up is involves continuous process improvement. We were able to scale up because we used our past experience and tried to solve the issues using technology. Every issue we faced became a use case for us and hence percolated into our software.
Doing all this helped us to automate the work-flow and resulted in saving time and money with the capability to scale up very fast.
You can get the idea of our process below:
Stage: Registration and Order Placement
Dhobilite provides three interfaces to a customer:
1. Android App,
2. Web and
3. Customer care number.
From these interfaces customer can get registered and place an order.
On mobile app we authenticate the customer mobile number by OTP validation which is sent by the Dhobilite server and this way we ensure no bogus customers getting registered on the system.
The moment order gets placed our system sends alert to customer and our executives and our automated system align these order to one of the runner.
Stage: Runner out for pickup and delivery
At the promised time the runner reaches customer premises to collect the clothes and will provides challan receipt to the customer, customer has to only ensure that the order value if Rs 200/-. Now customer has to relax
Stage: Clothes received at the workshop
As soon as cloths are received at the processing center, they are well checked for any stains / cuts / defects and the same is informed to the customer, in parallel the cloths are tagged with our bar coded tags, this ensures that no cloths are misplaced in the entire process and we can easily track all cloths.
Invoicing is a complex piece, out system takes care of each and every thing. All discounts, coupons, rates, wallet balance and workflow are taken care by the system. In this step invoice is generated and automated emails and sms with entire details are sent to customer.
Stage: Clothes are processed
Cloths are bundled in separate lots, depending on type and color of cloth and accordingly cloth is sent to washing unit where different process and chemicals are used for different lots, and then they are sent for drying.
After drying cloths are sorted back using the bar codes and are matched against the system entry.
We ensure that all cloths are well processed and have no stains (as per commitment). And any minor new defects like buttons and all are fixed at this stage.
We use professional steam irons for pressing and then they are well packed to maintain the quality of the services. Automated updates are sent to customer, that the cloths are ready.
Stage: Cloths out for delivery
Like pickup, deliveries are aligned for efficient utilization of the runners and to ensure that customer gets the delivery in the committed time.
Customer can either pay by cash or make online transfer or can also pay using payment gateway on mobile app.
The other option for customer is to recharge their wallet with which they get our services at discounted rates.
Stage: Customer Feedback
We have made customer feedback and ticketing system very easy to ensure that all complaints and feedbacks gets collected by our system.
We give a 7 day warranty for our services.
Your Market Results :
You have a viable solution that is accepted by the marketplace. People are buying it, using it and reaping benefits from it. Show how your product is improving the lives of its users. Include ROI statistics and testimonials.
Our punch line is “Making laundry easier” and we want our customer to feel the same. In order to do that we have made the entire process of laundry / dry-cleaning damn easy and seamless. With just two taps your order will be placed and from there it our job to get it done. The simplicity (using technology) which we have brought in traditional way of doing laundry has mesmerized the customer has turned the customer into our brand ambassador. You can’t ask for more from your customer.
Testimonial from one of our old customer:
“Hassle-free laundry at reasonable rates. They pick up clothes from your doorstep and deliver them back to your doorstep. You get notification messages at every step. Totally satisfied with their work. I recommend Dhobilite to everyone.” – Vijeta Dey (Associate, Samsung Electronics)
After making a foray into Gurgaon market we want to expand our business across major cities in India starting with cities like Bangalore, Hyderabad, etc. Apart from that we are also working to enhance our technology platform to make the whole process from picking laundry to delivery more efficient and fast and hence bring down the turnaround time to as low as 6 hrs which is currently 48 hrs.
What does your brand promise?
We started with a vision to solve the hassle of doing laundry in a simple and effective manner. In order to be effective we need to provide a great customer experience and we plan to keep providing our customers excellent service no matter what.
As we look at the future we can summarize “RISE” as our key to success
• Revenue: Increase revenue by 300% by end of FY 2016-17
• Innovation: Bring innovation in day to day process to enhance overall customer experience
• Satisfaction: To achieve zero tolerance for complaints
• Expansion: We want to go PAN India by end of FY 2017-18
We are a perfect blend of
1. Very strong domain expertise as we know laundry in and out
2. Deep understanding of eCommerce
3. Strong technology experience
Using these skills we are providing an end to end solution for customer and vendors to provide an unmatched experience and very strong control over the processes. We focus on quality and can make laundry easier both for customers and vendors. We have expertise in laundry, technology and e-commerce, so we can do it better than anybody else.
What are your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOTs)?
S – We are focused on providing our customers great experience with the use of technology.
W – We believe that “God is in details” and sometimes focusing too much on details raises the bar so high that even we have to work extra miles to deliver the same quality again and again.
O – As of now even if we combine all the laundry players in the market all of them combined have not even tapped 1% of the market share therefore there is a huge opportunity for us.
T – Other players who spoil the customer experience by promising more and delivering less, once the customer’s confidence is shaken it takes time to build it again