Frost & Sullivan Recognizes Khayelitsha Cookies with the South African Customer Service Leadership Award for Its Success in Ensuring Customer Satisfaction

Frost & Sullivan recognizes Khayelitsha Cookies with the 2017 South African Customer Service Leadership Award for ensuring customer satisfaction, empowering its employees, and positively impacting the community. The company started in 2007 with four employees, reached 80 by the beginning of 2016, and adds between 10 and 20 annually to help reduce unemployment in its community.

The automated, structured production process used by most biscuit manufacturing companies diminishes customer value because it limits the chance for timely action or innovation based on customer feedback. Fully automated systems also offer fewer employment opportunities than handmade alternatives.

"Companies that use automated systems overlook the impact on local communities, putting productivity and profit over job creation and personalized customer service," said Justin Malherbe, Research Analyst, Frost & Sullivan.

Khayelitsha Cookies is having a positive effect on the community in several ways.

  • Partnerships: The company has partnered with Purity, a company that makes healthy food for infants and children. This partnership and the provision of delivery vehicles has improved sales, allowed for a guaranteed 3-day delivery time, and increased the number of employees the company can hire. It has also partnered with Y&R Advertising to provide high-quality packaging.
  • Employee empowerment: The company is committed to hiring locally, including women from disadvantaged backgrounds, instead of using automated systems. Employees have a daily quota of cookies, after which they are free to leave. Regardless of whether they meet their production target, employees are still paid their full salaries, allowing them to afford shelter, food, basic schooling, and other necessities.
  • Community initiatives: Khayelitsha Cookies runs or participates in initiatives to which every customer contributes by purchasing a product or making donations. They included fundraising for drought-stricken farmers in 2016 in collaboration with SOS 100 and Tygerberg 104FM radio station, and Learn to Earn, which helped the company raise funds to commission a factory in 2017, currently sourcing funding, that will allow it to significantly expand its employee base.
  • Customer satisfaction: In addition to the fast delivery times with the Purity partnership, Khayelitsha Cookies staff is trained in business etiquette and people skills to ensure fast turnaround time for customer queries and complaints, and to keep specific complaint cases from recurring. This system ensures customer satisfaction with the service and purchasing experience, and with the company as a whole.

The company plans to start four more businesses in 2018, under the names Itafile, Amanzi, Intlanzi, and Intsimi. These business ventures range from homemade water saving solutions to alternative, healthy, and different biscuit product ranges, all of which will significantly increase the company's employee base.

"Khayelitsha Cookies goes above and beyond to provide an enhanced and personalised product and purchase experience. In addition to providing consistently high-quality products, the company's values have generated customer loyalty and raised its brand value through customer perception and word of mouth," Malherbe said.

Khayelitsha Cookies has consistently put employee empowerment and customer service over profit to truly make a difference in its community. For all of these reasons, Khayelitsha Cookies has earned Frost & Sullivan's 2017 Customer Service Leadership Award for South Africa.

Frost & Sullivan Best Practices awards recognize companies in a variety of regional and global markets for demonstrating outstanding achievement and superior performance in areas such as leadership, technological innovation, customer service, and strategic product development. Industry analysts compare market participants and measure performance through in-depth interviews, analysis, and extensive secondary research to identify best practices in the industry.

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