[The Turning Point] How ‘Uncommon Service’ Book Helped HomeLane Reach Record Profitability



Buying a home is much easier than finishing its interiors. And serial entrepreneur Srikanth Iyer will vouch for that, as he not only bought a house and made an effort to make his interiors, but also traveled miles forward and created a whole interior business for make it easier for others.

Based in Bangalore HomeLane, which provides end-to-end custom interior solutions, was started by Srikanth with his friends Vivek Seetharaman, Rama Harinath K, Prabhu Venkatesh and Srini Battula in 2014. Although they are no longer part of HomeLane, Srikanth has Roped to Tanuj Choudhry, who was raised as a co-founder and COO last year.

Image Credit: HomeLane

In a conversation with Your story, Srikanth explains how his experiences inspired him to start a service business and stumble upon a turning point in 2015. Srikanth recalls.

The home interiors segment at the time was rather fragmented and disorganized. Customers often faced multiple delays, uncertain product quality and unprofessional standards.

HomeLane solved this problem with a technology-driven platform that delivered interior services in a personalized yet professional manner.

And according to Srikanth, reading “Uncommon Service” by Frances Frei and Anne Morriss, a book he highly recommends to any entrepreneur, has made all the difference in defining the purpose of his business.

“Reading this book was a real turning point for HomeLane. We have now become the only player in our space to be profitable, ”he says. While the book gives plenty of business advice related to productivity and efficiency, it does highlight one point that particularly struck Srikanth – namely that the customer service experience involves tradeoffs – some things can be done right, but not all.

Great for some things, not all

When HomeLane launched in May 2014, the company experienced the kind of buzz that most startups would give an arm and a leg for. In the five months since its launch, sales have grown 100% month-over-month and investors have flocked to participate in that growth. Investors led by Sequoia Capital injected $ 4.5 million in Series A funding in 2015.

However, the company was quickly unable to deliver and its Net Promoter Score (NPS), a key metric for measuring customer loyalty and satisfaction, fell to -40. Srikanth is blunt when he shares that execution of the increasing number of orders had become a nightmare.

Srikanth Iyer, co-founder and CEO of HomeLane

Drawing key lessons from the book, Srikanth says: “The pursuit of global excellence leads directly to mediocrity. Achieving service excellence requires underperforming on the things your customers value least, so that you can over-deliver on the dimensions they value most. Decide what compromises you will make – where you will do things badly or even very badly in the service of good, ”he adds.

Post this, he has decided that HomeLane will excel at customer service, and the company will follow the “less is more” concept. “We have reduced our catalogs, concentrated our services and focused on our ability to deliver beautiful homes to predictable costs, predictable quality, and more importantly, predictable schedule, says Srikanth.

The brand’s NPS now stands at 67, which means eight in 10 customers rate the company 9/10, or 10/10. “Second, our margins are the best, the prices are much better, so is the economy of our unit and we are profitable, delivering 25 to 30 homes per day,” says Srikanth.

Earlier this month, the company even announced that it had raised a Series E worth $ 50 million led by the Late Stage Tech Fund of IIFL AMC, OIJIF II and Stride Ventures. Its existing investors, including Pidilite, Evolvence, NuVentures, Sequoia and Accel, also participated in the investment round. HomeLane has raised a total of $ 104 million in funds over the past seven years. In August, the company also announced a three-year strategic partnership with cricketer ace Mahendra Singh Dhoni as a financial partner and brand ambassador.

The startup claims to have created a community of more than 20,000 clients in 18 cities and will soon expand to 25 cities, recording an annual run rate of Rs 850 crore and aiming to reach Rs 1,500 crore annually by March 2022 .



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