As the saying goes, the customer is always right. And for Nakul Sharma, the commendation of one punter had more impact than he could have ever imagined.Operating in hospitality in particular means that there are certain expectations when it comes to customer service – a factor Sharma is well aware of. After years of working with large hotel chains, climbing the ranks along the way, he founded Hostmaker after noticing the rise of Airbnb and felt there was a niche service he would be able to deliver. That service arrived in the form of housekeeping, creating a network of cleaners that can perfect the homes of Airbnb hosts to provide their guests with a great first impression on arrival to set the tone for the stay. Following launch in 2014, Sharma said of the company’s rapid scale to present day: “We have teams on the ground to ensure services are carried out and we support 500 homes across the four cities. Growth is double digit month-on-month and, as Airbnb expands, our niche is growing.” Hostmaker secured the title as one of our 30 Digital Champions, a campaign we ran in partnership with Microsoft, which has spanned months. We searched up and down the country to find the 30 businesses operating in traditional sectors, while using technology to help stand out from the crowd. In the beginning though, tech wasn’t the be all and end all for Hostmaker. “For me, the housekeepers are my developers. Every four days they’re the ones turning a home around for the night. It doesn’t matter if I have beautiful website if customers come back to find dirty homes,” Sharma explained. In fact, Sharma achieved the praise of Airbnb and secured an invite to San Francisco within months of launching – all thanks to spending three hours talking with a customer, which resulted in a positive review. These days though, Sharma is very keen to embrace digital. “If I look at building teams, virtual teams, video calls, managing calendars online and shared drives on the cloud, [they’ve all been] incredibly helpful getting us to this stage in the last 18 months,” he said. Sharma’s story is part of a wider digital guide, produced in partnership with Microsoft, which features the inspiring stories of four other companies embracing digital to grow. Don’t miss out on their valuable insights – visit the guide here. Catch Sharma’s video interview below.
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