Akshay Shah’s unique experience both in Kenya and abroad led to the development of the Ratemyservice technology.
Mr Shah studied at Warwick University in the UK and briefly worked in the country before moving to South Africa as a corporate management and board advisor.
After a decade, he returned to Kenya to work at a corporate management consultancy which enabled him to travel across East Africa, interacting with board members of corporate firms and major shareholders.
“I realised that most directors, company owners and top management teams hardly understood what their customers needed and I looked forward to improving their experience within the firms,” Mr Shah recalls.
The 37-year-old spent some time shopping for a favourable online bank but details available lacked essential input from bank customers. This ignited the Ratemyservice web application idea which he developed and tested at two local firms. He quit employment to concentrate on his IT startup.
“Today’s customer is highly fluid, seeks bargains, special treatment and is always shopping for innovative services that define how they transact their business on-the-go using mobile gadgets,” he says.
Mr Shah says he refined his mobile app enabling customers to give feedback on what they felt about bank services. They were also given an opportunity to suggest changes to enhance their experience.
He invested about Sh1 million to enhance his platform’s interactiveness. The new portal also gives companies access to a private interface where they view comments about their business as well as engage ardent customers keen on seeking responses on certain product issues.
“One of my clients sells electronics and has created a nationwide contacts database for all those using its products which it uses as an after-sales platform. It has helped to build loyal customers who have become oral ambassadors,” he said.
While he has earned Sh1.3 million from his venture, Mr Shah says he has kept his operational costs low by outsourcing services but plans to establish an internal product development team as his clients grows.
The technology provides a customer with an online “suggestion” platform to rate a company’s quality of service, staff, communication, and value for money. Customers have an opportunity to give a score for their satisfaction or dissatisfaction with any department including accolades for select officers.
Mr Shah says that some firms needed their IT systems customised where customer feedback is noted and unsavoury comments acted upon thereby helping restore the dissatisfied client’s trust.
He said that ratemyservice.co.ke is registered and mans customer feedback services for 10 firms dealing in takeaway meals, auto-services, electronic after-sales and a retirement benefits management firm.
“A restaurant client of mine planned to stop making coconut rice with curry since they were unsure of the recipe and the cooking process. But clients protested and it was retained. This earned them new clients and higher sales,” he said. The service also gives firms a chance to engage customers on online platforms where feedback on products and services dispensed is monitored.
The site was this year’s overall winner in the e-commerce and business services category during the Nairobi Innovation Week, an event organised by the University of Nairobi for business startups.