Bilal Ahmad Bhat
Kong Posh Industries
Being an entrepreneur in an SME often requires one to be in the thick of the action, and this is something that Bilal Ahmad Bhat knows very well. as the proprietor and Managing Director of Kong Posh Industries, Bilal has created B2Sstores – a first of its kind reference platform for companies to promote their brand to prospective clients and investors. He also takes a keen interest in the manufacture of the wicker rattan furniture for which his company made its name, and also in their retail-which is done through subsidiary DECON Designs.
Speaking to International Business Review SME, Bilal reveals that name DECON – the brand under which Kong posh’s creations are marketed- is an acronym for Durable, Elegant, Cosy and obviously nice.” more than just a catchy gimmick, it is a promise to customers that he takes very seriously.
As such, he is often to be found, either in the workshop-casting a discerning eye over the production process-or in the DECON Design boutiques, personally helping customers make their choices. A firm believer in the value of customer service, Bilal Ahmad Bhat explains that one of his methods is to work closely with the customer and help them choose the right furniture for the right occasion.
“Customer service is an art,”Bilal states.”You need to have the right balance. On one hand, you cannot dismiss the customers “ideas or act like you know better than them. On the other hand, you need to give them proper service, and that means using your knowledge and expertise to guide them to something that will suit their needs.”
Product is just as important as customer service for Bilal Ahmad Bhat. Sharing his views on furniture manufacturing and retail, he says, ”There is too much focus sometimes on aesthetics that often, functionality takes second place. I don’t think that is the right idea. Yes, you have to make furniture that is beautiful, but also you need to make sure it is practical, and can be used.”
Like any good business owner, Bilal understands that the key to success is to ensure repeat business. Thus he holds that a good retailer is one whose after-sales service is as good if not better than their pre-sales and at-sales service.”Sometimes, retailers forget to follow up with their customers after making a sale, and so instead of securing a repeat client, it is just a one-off sale, “he explains.
Being at the helm of an SME, Bilal knows that promoting your brand is key and passionately believes in championing the cause of businesses-whether emerging or established. Through B2Sstores, Kong posh provides an online and offline facility that serves as a comprehensive business networking platform. Bilal explains, “Our goal is to create a compendium that allows a business to promote its brand, such as corporate history, personnel and its products and services. The website, B2Sstores.com provides a free social media and blogging network as well as a chat room. The database is constantly growing – just as your business should.”
Expounding on his views on the retail sector, Bilal Ahmad Bhat ends the interview with some words of wisdom.”When you are a niche retailer, you need to create a relationship of trust with your customers, “he says.”You have to encourage them to give Feedback, and more importantly, deliver what is promised on time. In this line, reputation is extremely important, and a reputation for poor service or unreliability often spreads faster than a positive one.”
Published in, International Business Review, SME Volume1, page no.29, 48 & 49