At your doorstep

At your doorstep

PICKME eSolutions has reached Rs. 2 crore in revenue in 2012-13 by offering a unique doorstep concierge service for gadget repair and has serviced 121,000 customers till date 

MADHUMITA PRABHAKAR

We live in an age where gadgets have helped us save cost and time, to a large extent. Given the importance of these aids in our lives, what happens when a camera or smartphone stops functioning? We turn to Google to find the nearest service centre, spend half a day in travelling, meeting the service authorities and registering the complaint. Or, we take a chance and get the gadget serviced through a local dealer. But what if we had a trustworthy person to carry out these tasks on our behalf?

This is the service that Mumbai-based PICKME eSolutions India (PICKME) currently offers. Founded in 2011, by Praful Wadyalkar, Wilbret D. Raj and Joseph Sudhakar, the company establishes partnerships with authorised after-sales service outlets and offers doorstep pick-up and drop service for repairs of gadgets such as laptops, mobiles, watches and cameras. Its service covers leading brands, such as HTC, Nokia, Dell, Calvin Klein and Canon, across categories.

“This segment holds a huge potential mainly because these gadgets have become an integral part of our lives and any customer would be delighted if their problem can be resolved at the doorstep. We have understood that for a brand, simply offering a good infrastructure or a customer friendly reception experience will not suffice. It is still a tedious process for the customer to reach out to the service centre and follow through until the gadget is repaired,” says Wadyalkar.

Wadyalkar has over 15 years of experience in working in the mobile division of companies such as Samsung and Whirlpool. His co-founders, Raj and Sudhakar, are as experienced in sales and after-sale services having worked in companies such as TVS Electronics, and in the customer service division at banking firms, respectively.

Prior to developing PICKME’s business model, apart from insights in their previous work experiences, the team conducted a pilot phone survey with 33,000 customers, to understand their convenience and preferences.

PICKME’s services are available in 21 metros across India and are availed by 121,000 customers, as of today. Its key clientele includes enterprise customers like TVS, Staples and HCL, to name a few, apart from regular retail customers. The company raised US $500,000, in 2013, from Chennai Angels, Mumbai Angels and Bangalore Angels. “We operate on an annual maintenance contract (AMC) model, where our funding requirement is very small. Six months down the line, we will have a good surplus amount in hand and will not require large funding,” adds Wadyalkar.

The company has a team strength of 169 employees, with nine full-time at PICKME and the rest outsourced through its human resources partner. “The outsourced category comprises the team leads and coordinators. Operationally, they report to PICKME, but their payment management is handled by our HR partner,” states Wadyalkar. PICKME has recorded a revenue of Rs. 2 crore in FY12-13 and hopes to scale up aggressively over the next three years.

Finding a structure

PICKME’s initial business model was built around the customer approaching the company, when they faced a problem with their gadgets. Later the team realised that it would be able to tap a larger market, if it proactively approached customers at purchase points. Wadyalkar believes that, in these places, the customers will already be in the mood of purchasing a product or service and this will prove beneficial for the company. He estimates the market potential through this approach to be almost 30 million customers every month, of which the company is witnessing a conversion rate of five per cent. “This turnover constitutes 75 per cent of our business and we plan to go slow on increasing our conversion rates. Operating in a service industry, it is important for us to ensure that the volumes do not exceed our capacity,” says Wadyalkar.

The company has setup 22 contact points across cities, where the team leads and coordinators manage call landing and location of jobs. Apart from this, there are three teams that visit the customers’ locations and coordinate with the authorised service centres.

To avail a PICKME service, the customer has to register either for a Smartlinc NP card or a Smartlinc PP card, priced at Rs. 149.99 and Rs. 199.99 per year, respectively. A Smartlinc NP card can be availed for a gadget purchased within 30 days of registering for the service whereas the Smartlinc PP card can be purchased for a gadget of any age. Once the customer registers a complaint, a PICKME representative will pick up the gadget within four hours and send regular updates to the customer, about the complaint number and the status of the repair. The customer can also track the order online, and the company provides in-transit insurance and a special gadget bag, to avoid any physical damage to the gadget during transit.

PICKME’s representatives undergo technical training to understand customers’ concerns. They also get trained in soft skills, to converse with customers better and enhance their service experience. “This is a relatively new concept for our customers and their service standard expectations are not so high,” says Wadyalkar. The customers do not complain even if there are some delays in completing the transaction. Moreover, there is no competition or benchmark, so whatever the company delivers is overwhelming for the customers. “But this is no excuse for us to go easy on the process.  We commit less and deliver more so that the customer’s expectations are met and they are happy,” states Wadyalkar.

Building awareness

The biggest challenge that PICKME faced was the lack of awareness around the doorstep concierge concept. Being an unexplored domain, it was unable to invest in market research to evaluate its market position and design relevant marketing strategies. “That is why we ventured into funding. It would help create more visibility, a year from now. Today, wherever we are talking, people are happier to avail our services, mainly because we are delivering the service at a very nominal amount. The process is very smooth and, we believe, most loopholes are covered. We have ensured that we do not face a circumstance where the customer starts doubting the authenticity of the service,” says Wadyalkar.

Today, the company adopts a dual customer acquisition strategy. On one hand, it leverages on social media strategies and reaches out to customers through social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook. On the other, it directly reaches out to the brand and bundles up with the new purchase category. “We are already testing out a company-owned distributor and retail channel to reach out to a larger pool of customers,” adds Wadyalkar.

At a broader level, PICKME’s offering certainly solves a deep customer need for a sizable market; it is the company’s ability to excel in its service quality and fine-tune its customer acquisition process that’ll define the company’s growth in the longer term.


SNAPSHOT

PICKME eSolutions India

Founders: Praful Wadyalkar, Wilbret D. Raj and Joseph Sudhakar

Year: 2011

City: Mumbai

Future plans: Achieve a revenue target of Rs. 100 crore and reach 40 cities by FY15


INVESTOR QUOTE 

Anil Joshi, president, Mumbai Angels 

PICKME is addressing a very large market and is already experiencing exponential growth. The company has gained maximum traction through word-of-mouth marketing. In fact, especially when it comes to gadgets, consumers do not want to switch services so easily. There is a certain amount of trust and loyalty they build with the company. By the time competitors enter, PICKME would have gained considerable traction in the market. But that does not mean it stops innovating, because, eventually, whoever offers a better service, will lead the market. 

In the future, a potential market that PICKME can address is the tier-II and tier-III segments, where a large portion of the customers tend to get their devices repaired through local dealers. If over the years, these devices can be serviced by OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) directly, the life of the equipment will increase and the demand for PICKME’s services will grow. 


Concept in brief:

PICKME eSolutions India was founded in 2011, by Praful Wadyalkar, Wilbret D. Raj and Joseph Sudhakar. The company establishes partnerships with after-sales service outlets and offers a doorstep pick-up and drop service for repairs of gadgets such as laptops, mobiles, watches and cameras. Its service covers leading brands such as HTC, Nokia, Dell, Calvin Klein and Canon, in each category. PICKME’s services are available at 21 metros across India and are availed by 1, 21, 000 customers, as of today. Its key clientele includes TVS, Staples and HCL, to name a few. The company raised US $500, 000, in 2013, from Chennai Angels, Mumbai Angels and Bangalore Angels. PICKME has recorded revenue of Rs. 2 crore in FY12-13. The company aims to reach 40 cities and achieve a revenue target of Rs. 100 crore by 2015.