On Bikky’s 1 year anniversary (woo hoo!), I thought I’d share what we’re building. Much has changed in the past 12 months. We started as a simple third-party delivery provider, hustling around the streets of Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx at high velocity, trying to satisfy orders on-demand.
We officially launched in September, and after 6 calorie-burning + stressful months (i.e. my exercise via delivery was offset by much snacking), we were doing >1,000 deliveries a week and >$20,000 in recurring revenue. But rather than accelerating on our progress, my co-founders and I realized our business lacked one (minor) detail:
We weren’t solving the core problem for our customers.
Fulfillment is a problem, but it’s not the problem.
So What is Bikky?
Cheers is my favorite sitcom. Others may rival it in terms of the quality of the jokes or story lines, but nothing quite matches the show’s sense of belonging and togetherness.
You knew the characters intimately: Norm was a beer-guzzling accountant who wanted to avoid the troubles of the world, Cliff was a know-it-all postal worker, and Carla was the scrappy, cynical waiter who didn’t take crap from anyone. They delivered on the promise of the title song week after week, and that little bar in Boston became the place where we both knew everyone’s name, and were always glad we came.
I think about this show now — the characters, the setting — in the context of the way in which the world is unavoidably heading. The idea of going to any communal space other than our offices day after day seems like a strange notion. Instead, the way we interact with the world now is based more on convenience — the restaurant, the bar, the grocery store, even people we may potentially date (swipe right!) come to us. And yet, we still retain our need to feel like we belong, to be a part of some greater community that recognizes our individuality (like Norm’s or Carla’s) and welcomes us for it.
But if we’re not physically visiting these spaces anymore, how do we recreate that feeling?
That’s why we founded Bikky — to help businesses identify, communicate with, and reward customers they can’t necessarily “see” anymore. By equipping businesses with the tools necessary to adapt to where the world is heading, we want to help every business bring back that Cheers-like feeling.
“Where’s my order?!”
How we got here though was anything but a straight line. We learned much along the way from our early partners and (for six roller-coaster months) operated on the front lines of customer service and engagement: delivery.
By physically connecting the business and the end-customer, we got a complete view of the entire process. We saw how orders come into the kitchen (most of our early customers are restaurants), how long it takes to prep an order, how to efficiently dispatch multiple orders, and even the best way to hand customers their order.
Ultimately, we learned that a successful delivery operation is rooted in transparency. On days when the kitchen was backed up, or the weather was particularly heinous, we simply had to call a customer to warn them that their order was delayed. A heads up that the delivery estimate from the third-party online ordering provider was incorrect was enough to turn potentially angry phone calls into understanding conversations that mitigated the damage caused by bad public reviews.
But this is still a manual process. And when it’s raining hard and orders are spiking, there’s little chance a business has the time or resources to call every customer and provide that superior level of service.
“The beginning of a beautiful friendship.”
The second thing we noticed is that we often delivered to the same people and places day after day. By handling fulfillment, we had a real-time look at our partners’ entire customer base. More importantly, our partners weren’t doing anything to reward regular customers (aside from ensuring that the fulfillment process was as efficient as possible). And when we asked why that was the case, most didn’t even realize they had a built-in, loyal customer base that so clearly loved their brand.
If the old rule of thumb is that 20% of your customers provide 80% of your business, then our partners were blind to that 20%. And if you don’t know who your customers are, how can you possibly communicate with them? How can you understand their expectations and preferences? And — most importantly for any business — how can you use that knowledge to improve your business and grow revenues?
We took these lessons to heart, and (with further input from our partners and prospective customers) we’ve built something that solves these facets of customer engagement. Through Bikky, businesses now have the tools to proactively engage, listen to, and reward their customers. It’s a digital solution for an increasingly digital world, and one that we hope can modernize how a business understands its customers.
We still have much work to do to truly solve every aspect of customer engagement, but we view this as the first stop in bringing back that Cheers-like experience. It shouldn’t matter if a business can’t “see” you anymore — at the very least, they should know your name. 🚀