Meet Anna Durai, also known as Auto Anna, an auto rickshaw driver from Chennai. If you take a ride in his auto, you will almost get a five-star experience.
The 37-year-old provides a variety of services to his customers – from Wi-Fi to refrigerated water during their ride because he believes “customer is the king”.
Why is Anna Durai’s auto rickshaw unique?
His ride fares are similar to what other auto rickshaws charge in the city, but what sets him and his auto rickshaw apart are the world class facilities on offer.
Anna Durai offers the commuters a variety of services such as a mini TV, Wi-Fi, an iPad pro to surf internet, magazines, some chocolates, hand sanitiser and more.
In 2013, Anna Durai became an overnight celebrity after being invited to give a public lecture on his business vision for his auto rickshaw owing to the care and attention he provides to his customers.
How Anna Durai became an auto rickshaw driver?
In an interview to The Better India, Anna Durai said he had no plans to become an auto rickshaw driver but it all just happened to him.
Anna Durai describes the job as an accidental one. He told The Better India that his original plan was to become a businessman and earn enough to solve his financial crisis. But the very same crisis forced him to drop out of Class 12 and start working.
He further said that he chose not to complain, and instead bring his passion into what he was already doing. He said he began with placing newspapers in the backseat and gradually introduced new services.
He says one may think an auto ride is just about transporting a passenger from one area to another, but it can be so much more. Anna Durai said traffic jams in the IT corridor are frequent, so passengers tend to feel irritated while waiting. The WiFi keeps them engaged.
He said how he felt bad when a customer urgently needed a laptop and he couldn’t help him. So, the next day he had a laptop and a tablet. These gadgets led to social media selfies which in turn increased his customers.
He even realised that the office crowd often skipped breakfast and complained about it during the ride. So, he decided to create a snacks section with fruit, wafers, chocolate and more. His auto rickshaw also has a small refrigerator with fresh drinking water and a bottle of coconut water.
The Auto Anna follows some tips and tricks to nurture the relationship with the customers.
Contests and prizes
Interestingly, he even organises contests and announces one lucky winner who receives Rs 1,000 as prize money. Additionally, he also awards coupons to commuters if they take more than 20 rides.
The customers can redeem the coupons for Rs 250. If the customers take more than 30 and 40 trips, they will earn Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 respectively.
So next time, look out for TN 07CT 5058 if you want to take a comfy and fun auto ride in Chennai.
In a noble gesture, Anna Durai also offers free rides to teachers, doctors and nurses.
Taking it to Twitter, Devang Sanghavi, an Intensivist at Mayo Clinic said: “Meet Anna Durai, an Auto Driver with a big heart from Chennai, strong customer focus with his auto being most tech enabling. He also wants to give back to the society by providing free rides to front line health workers and teachers.”
Auto Anna impresses Anand Mahindra
Auto Anna has also managed to impress business tycoon Anand Mahindra with his customer management skills.
The industrialist called him a “Professor of Management”. He wrote on Twitter: “If MBA students spent a day with him it would be a compressed course in Customer Experience Management. This man’s not only an auto driver… he’s a Professor of Management. “