Annadurai's auto ride: A masterclass in customer care

Here are five things you can learn from an auto driver's success in customer care and satisfaction.

Annadurai's auto ride: A masterclass in customer care

Saturday January 06, 2024,

5 min Read

We have heard the famous quote by Martin Luther King Jr.— “Whatever your life's work is, do it well. A man should do his job so well that the living, the dead, and the unborn could do it no better.” But, how many of us follow this? According to a survey by Gallup, 85% of people hate their jobs and do it half-heartedly.

However, like in any other case, there are exceptions. This time the example has been set by Annadurai, a 38-year-old auto driver from Chennai. He has become an inspiration for taking public transport to a whole new level with his innovative approach to customer service. Annadurai's commitment to making the journey enjoyable and useful for his passengers has earned him national fame and appreciation from top corporate executives like Anand Mahindra.

Who is Annadurai?

Annadurai is a 39-year-old auto driver, who runs his shared auto on the Thiruvanmiyur-Sholinganallur route in Chennai. He was born in Peravurani, a small town in Thanjavur district. His family shifted to Chennai when he was just four.

Being called a professor of management by Anand Mahindra (a top corporate executive) in one of his tweets is not an MBA or even a graduate. He quit his studies after passing higher secondary school. After which he shifted to his father's profession of riding auto. He has been driving an auto for fourteen years now.

However, his auto and the services he provides are not ordinary ones, the auto has a dozen magazines and newspapers, wi-fi, a mini TV set playing recently recorded news bulletins, a brand new tablet to browse and send emails, a fridge with ice-cold water and juices, snacks to munch on and many more such facilities all without an additional cost. He has a facebook following of 18,000. He also owns a website and a mobile app of his own and has given multiple TED talks.

What sets Annadurai and his service apart?

Amenities galore

Annadurai goes beyond the concept of a customary ride by providing access to a plethora of amenities, including daily newspapers, weekly magazines, a small smart TV, free WiFi, a fridge stocked with ice-cold water and juices, and a jar filled with fruits, chocolates, and chips for passengers to snack on the go. 

This thoughtful initiative not only makes the ride unique but also adds a touch of luxury to the otherwise routine and monotonous auto ride. Moreover, he provides all these services for free. “I want to make the trip enjoyable and useful for passengers,” said Annadurai in one of his interviews with India today.

Tech-savvy innovation

Annadurai started accepting payments via credit and debit cards well before cashless transactions became popular. This not only showcases his forward-thinking approach but also his dedication to providing convenient options for his customers. In addition, he has also equipped his auto with digital tools that offer real-time traffic updates to ensure that passengers are well-informed about their journey.

Inclusive services for all

Annadurai goes above and beyond to cater to passengers with diverse needs. For example, he has installed a sign language tool to enhance communication for those who cannot hear. He also keeps umbrellas in his auto to lend to passengers during sudden showers. These are small yet impactful gestures demonstrating his commitment to customer comfort.

Altruistic acts of kindness

Beyond providing free amenities and a comfortable ride, Annadurai is generous enough to provide free-of-cost services to teachers, doctors, cleaners, and nurses. In addition, on special occasions like Children's Day and Women's Day, he refuses payment from children and women, respectively. An approach like this not only contributes to the community but also highlights his integrity and a sense of social responsibility.

Feedback loop and rewards

Annadurai actively seeks feedback by providing a five-question sheet for the passengers to share their opinions on his services. Well, if this wasn’t enough appreciative he rewards the best suggestions with a cash prize of Rs 1,000 from his income. This showcases his commitment to continuous improvement and customer satisfaction.

What can we learn from Annadurai in terms of customer care?

Annadurai's success is a testament to the power of keeping the customer first. Here are some key lessons that businesses and service providers can learn from his customer-centric approach:

Understanding customer expectations

Annadurai emphasises a lot on understanding his passengers' expectations and aligning the service with those expectations. For example, in his case, it’s a sense of security, respect, and a pleasant journey. Doing this helps in creating a niche for yourself in a highly competitive industry.

Personal grooming and professionalism

Annadurai understands the significance of the first impression and, therefore gives enough importance to personal grooming and professionalism. This not only helps in building trust but also contributes to creating a positive customer experience.

Embracing innovation

Annadurai adopted cashless transactions early on to stay ahead in the market. This also showcases the importance of embracing innovation. Continuously evaluating and incorporating new technologies not only helps you stay ahead of the competition but also enhances customer convenience.

Social responsibility and altruism

Annadurai's altruistic acts like offering free rides to specific professions and refusing payment on special days demonstrate the value of social responsibility. Contributing positively to the communities often builds a stronger and more loyal customer base.

Feedback as a catalyst for improvement

Annadurai not only proactively seeks feedback but also rewards valuable suggestions, this highlights his understanding of the significance of customer feedback in business growth. A well-established feedback loop not only allows businesses to address concerns and make improvements but also contributes greatly to enhancing overall customer satisfaction.

Bottomline

Annadurai's story is an inspiration for businesses aiming to excel in customer care. His commitment to innovation, inclusivity, and social responsibility showcases the transformative impact that a customer-centric approach can have on success and recognition.