There’s a popular saying that business managers are not made but born. And the made ones, it seems, don’t stand a chance against the naturals.
Mark Mwithanji, the Head of Outbound Food at Jumia Kenya, is the embodiment of this saying. The 31-year-old father of one started business while he was 15 years and has not looked back since then.
Mwithanji has tried his luck in three different sectors – electronics insurance and now E-Commerce.
But it is in the customer service industry where he has finally found his stride, his job description at the giant online store is to ensure that food gets to clients on time and for an organisation that doesn’t compromise on its quality he is the man tasked with ensuring that clients keep coming back.
According to Mwithanji, if you want to be successful you must learn to be good with people.
An important thing to note is that Jumia does not cook the food it delivers, it contracts hotels that meet the required standard or hotels preferred by their clients. Jumia then delivers the food to its customers who place orders by calling or via the Jumia app.
It then takes 20 to 33 minutes for the meal to be delivered.
We have perfected the art of customer service because if you don’t wow your customers they will not come back.
It is not an easy job. Mwithanji explains that he faces a raft of challenges daily and has to deal with them immediately because a difference of one minute could amount to a late delivery. He works with agents who receive orders from the clients and riders who deliver the meals.
Sometimes riders get punctures or wrong directions en route to delivery because the app they use saves the last location of a client. The riders might go to the saved location whereas the client is ordering from a different one.
“This is a business where you have to be on top of your game. We have perfected the art of customer service because if you don’t wow your customers they will not come back. But I am glad that so far we have managed to keep adding to our list of clients and the feedback has been amazing,” says Mwithanji.
Mwithanji recalls one instance that defines the character of Jumia. A client was unhappy with their services after a late delivery. The meal had been ordered by a mother of two for supper but by the time the rider delivered, on time, the kids had already slept. The mother was not happy.
“When I learnt of the development I was keen on that never happening again. I called her in the morning and promised her a complimentary meal that evening. The rider made sure to get there about twenty minutes before delivery time. Luckily he got her as she was just coming from work and was about to enter her home. You can almost guess how she felt at that time,” says Mwithanji.
Mwithanji says that at that point he felt like he had handled the matter well, a feeling that was justified when the mother called him and thanked him for his efforts.
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He is also not your typical kind of manager, he is outgoing, he loves traveling, farming and watching news.
“When I am not working I like to hang out with friends. I also like farming. In the past few years I have been selling pawpaws as a side hustle which is lucrative but you must be hands on in order to get a good harvest,” says Mwithanji.
The man capable of adapting three different personalities is not quite done yet. His eyes are firmly trained on the prize as he anticipates that he will become a household name in the near future.