Bengaluru-based online home services marketplace HouseJoy is transforming the service landscape of many building categories such as plumbing, paint, hardware, furniture & fittings, and electrical appliances. The startup is emerging as a service arm of an increasing number of homegrown and global brands in India, by bringing ‘skilled professionals’ to the doorsteps of customers with just a few clicks and taps on the Internet. In an exclusive interview with SH, HouseJoy’s CEO Saran Chatterjee (Right in Photo) and VP-operations Kumar Saurabh speaks about the e-way to service.
By Mrinmoy Bhattacharjee
Whom have you partnered? What is the nature of your partnerships?
We have joined hands with leading brands like Hindware, 3M and CLEO. As an installation partner of Hindware, we fix their bath fittings such as faucets in the customers’ homes. Customers are able to reach us via our website www.housejoy.in and our iOS and Android apps. When a customer calls the toll free number of Hindware, they are told to log their call directly with HouseJoy. Besides, if a customer passes on data such as telephone number and address, and the desired time of service to the brand, their leads are passed on to us. With regard to 3M, we not only offer installation service but sales too. We list their products such as water purifiers, water filters, air-conditioners and air conditioner filters on our website for sales. We also offer product sales and installation in a package to customers. We have a similar partnership with CLEO; we provide sales and installation service of the company’s shower filters, tap filters, and washing machine filters in one shot from our website. Also, we have partnered with Amazon for fulfilling the service side of their orders.
Which other categories are you eyeing?
In the summer season many air conditioner manufacturers find it difficult to provide timely and quality installation and other services to their customers as demand of the product rises. Since summer is approaching, we have decided to tie up with the category players to address the issue. We are already in talks with Carrier. Under this partnership with the AC giant, HouseJoy would offer installation service and the brand would sell its products. However, we will be their non-exclusive installation partner. We are also in talks with Reliance resQ. We will not only provide our installation service but also offer demonstration for a range of appliances such as refrigerators, air-conditioners, semi-automatic washing machines, and micro ovens sold through the one-stop solutions platform.
How are you planning to expand?
We believe that the next level of ourgrowth will come from going deep into the existing categories, by launching more relevant sub-services. We are exploring high ticket items such as interior designing, home renovation, and movers & packers. We are also looking at polishing, mirror work, tiling, masonry, and false ceiling services. HouseJoy wants to launch new top-level categories. Besides, our growth will come by expanding into more cities in an asset light manner that is driven by more technology adoption and low-cost professional acquisition. Our services are available in Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Chennai, Delhi, and Mumbai. At present, we are piloting our services in Pune, and we expect to launch our services in the city soon.
What is your approach to skilling? How do you train plumbers, carpenters, electricians, and others?
Skilling is an integral to HouseJoy. As a part of our on-boarding process, our subject-matter industry experts conduct a pictorial-based written test and verbal test for servicemen. We train them on soft skills, specific technical skills, and on our process and technology. Our supervisors keep an eye on the newly hired folks through their first three jobs. We hire servicemen through the secondary market such as Justdial, references, and our online application. We have tied up with the Sector Skill Councils on Furniture & Fittings and Beauty & Wellness, as well as joined hands with NGOs and brands for the purpose. Talks are also on with Indian Plumbing Skills Council. We have trained close to 10,000 providers till now, and we are looking for similar additional numbers in the next two years.
What is the structure of your customer service? How do you ensure a superlative customer experience?
Our team comprises of a city-level operations team which handholds the orders with the help of service providers during the processing of the job. For the completed jobs which have not fully satisfied the customers, we have an escalation management team which supports the customers till the time the complaint is completely addressed. This helps in bonding with the customers and creating a wow experience for them, so that they return to our platform in the future. To ensure the safety of our customers, we undertake the KYC of all servicemen. A third party agency has been engaged to do a background check which includes document verification, address verification, court check and police verification. We have served two million customers in five cities since our startup was founded in 2015.