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Innovation in Service

Business is not about the idea, but about implementation. That part we all know. But the part that no one puts their focus on, is that the implementation is successful only if there is innovation.

During office hours, everyone feels a little hungry between 9 to 1 and 3 to 6 - the midday meal cravings! The meal options for this timeslot are abysmal to say the least. Its either a tea stall chai wala, with some unhealthy and unregulated snacks, or munching on some chips and biscuits, or ordering outside food which is usually expensive. Healthy eating options, which are affordable, are practically non-existent. No wonder the office boy starts to bring that extra box of home-made namkeen, fruits or salads, which are made at home.

I sensed an opening here and decided to try giving Freshly Cut Fruit to office staffers. The price point? Rs 50 per box. It was just an experiment to say the least. I asked a few Paan Wala's and cigarette shops to put up my poster next to their shop. I figured that if a person can spent 50 to 60 rupees on smoking per day - a little healthy fruit wouldn't hurt anyone.

Though this strategy didn't attract the smokers, but it surely did attract a few people, who were avid fruit eaters. They started ordering a box everyday. However fruit procurement and reservation was always an issue and wastage is a big problem with perishable products. So I introduced the subscription model. 1  box of Fresh Cut Fruit  - 50 rupees a box - delivered on weekdays directly to your - for 20 days - only for 1000 rupees. In addition, if you are not in office for some reason, just drop us a message and we will neither send a fruit box nor charge you for it. Fruit purchase was much easier to control due to the reservation system so this problem got solved. The next problem we had - delivery costs.

Outsourced delivery companies charge anywhere between Rs 40 to Rs 60 per delivery. That is more than the cost of my product, so not a viable option. We went ahead and hired a few delivery personnel on a salary basis. The delivery cost of the area keeps going down thanks to multiple orders from one office. For many locations, the delivery cost is next to nothing due to the large number of orders.  We even got a technology solution for our customers to know that their fruit box is on the way, with live tracking on how far it is.

Our new problem was that as a bootstrapped business, I do not have the means to  add a layer of technology to automate many elements of the business. So what is the best way to go about it? Even customer service becomes really challenging on whatsapp - especially if something goes wrong with the quality of the box. I realised that the person delivering the fruits, everyday has a wonderful opportunity to interact with our customers. For this reason, we decided that the box our delivery boy delivers, is the box he will pack. He will be responsible for the quality of fruits going into the box so that the customers will have a face to complain to if they are not happy. 

Business is not about the idea, but about implementation. That part we all know. But the part that no one puts their focus on, is that the implementation is successful only if there is innovation. Our aim is to get a box of our fruits cost as much as a packet of milk, and we're working hard to maintain it.  We are delivering in Gurgaon and Delhi and looking for customers to try us out, and spread the good word. That is the only way we can move forward.

You can find more about us on www.froshier.com

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