Let me say this first, I’m not the regular Founder/CEO of startups you know. I detest and abhor the rigour associated with fund raising — not done so much, though, I don’t go around with the CEO tag — my business card carries no title, same as everyone else on my team. One might consider those as weaknesses but I let other people worry about that for me. I’m an hands-on founder and I focus on my area of strength.

At ProTeach, we have had an amazing growth from selling 500 tutoring hours MoM in September 2016 to 4000 tutoring hours as at February 2017, and that I know will balloon into great numbers in the nearest future. We have also had a fantastic customer retention rate that stood at 95% as of the last quarter of 2016 and a life time value at an average of 6months, and we have kept pushing the boundaries to reach 99.9% CRR. And that I’m particularly excited about.

My daily job as CEO revolves around maintaining a certain level of quality assurance for all our tutors, ensuring that parents and learners get what they want when they use our services, map out innovative ways to stay ahead of the competition and above all a constant communication process for all our customers. I’m beginning to think my greatest strength as a founder is the ability to relieve my customers of their pains by speaking with them through phone calls, strings of emails with average response time at not less than 10 minutes — this shocks new leads and converts them into sales almost immediately, and personal visits.

This kind of email affirms the kind of founder I want to be

Backstory to the email shared above, parent calls to ask for a private tutor months ago and we made the necessary arrangements, tutor starts and it was going well — 100% punctuality recorded and tutor goes extra mile to achieve set learning goals. But after 3months of lessons, learner remained a B-student (we pride ourselves with improving grade scores two steps higher after meeting a ProTeach tutor for 3months). At the end of January 2017, parent sends mail notifying cancellation of patronage and that was when my founder-instinct swung into action. I followed up immediately by asking why and thanking the parent for her patience and promised to send her a couple of tutor profiles who have higher success rate with grade improvement and at common entrance preparation. I also promised a refund if we don’t deliver (but trust me, I did my homework well recommending Mr Solomon, he’s a performer).

So back to my post title, and thinking why I should share this while trying to find sleep — it’s past midnight already, I have come to the ultimate conclusion that your customers are your biggest investors and opening a constant line of communication with them is what will make your business scale to higher proportions; no amount of marketing spend will keep them in your door if you haven’t mastered the art of solving their pains through constant communication. I’m not superman and won’t definitely continue like this especially when we meet our target of 30,000 tutoring hours MoM by the December 2017. But I’ll continue to lay down this standard with my operations and tech teams as we continue to grow our numbers and letting nothing change about our core purpose and the modus operandi.

Let me end it here and go get some sleep. We continue killing it in the morning.


Editor’s Note: This post was written by Obasolape Abiola, founder and CEO of ProTeach Nigeria and it first appeared on ProTeach’s blog.

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