After sales service is important everywhere, whether it is a least developed or developed country.
Faizur Rahman Khan completed his graduation from Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology. He also served Asset Developments & Holdings Ltd and ABC Real Estates JV as the managing director. He was also a member of the advisory committee of Real Estate and Housing Association of Bangladesh. Currently the Managing Director of bti, the mastermind behind their success shares the formula that worked so well for the real estate company.
BTI (Building, Technology & Ideas) is a trusted and well respected brand in the real estate sector in Bangladesh. The company currently has more than 5000 customer profiles and has plans to take that number to 8000. This not only shows their position in the Bangladeshi market but also shows their ambitious vision to become a major international real estate developer in South Asia.
Starting their journey in 1984, BTI introduced after sales and customers care services for its clients. These features which were unique in the trade at that time.
Recently we caught up with Faizur Rahman Khan, bti’s Managing Director and renowned real estate marketing guru to get an account of his vision for bti when it first started out and how it has become such a success story. Khan holds a Masters in Engineering from Asia Institute of Technology (AIT). He started his career from Eastern Housing and worked with Late Mr. Jahurul Islam, Chairman of Islam Group and late Major General (retired) Amjad Khan Chowdhury, at Property Developments Limited.
Having started bti in 1984, during the formulation stage there was a gap between what was initially dreamt of achieving and the processes by which it was taking place which is common in every sector. However quality control issues make the real estate sector one of the hardest in terms of implanting processes. There are 12000 thousand products which are associated with it and at least 12 industries are directly involved with it.
He described the period from 1984 to 1990 as a nascent stage for bti. The company’s growth accelerated after 1990 before which it was only involved in two or three projects per year. After 1990 they started coming up with out of the box solutions, which led to the involvement of more and more people. In 1988 the first commercial project was created, Celebration Point, where they also shifted their head office (from TMC Building). bit has always practiced delivering quality services to their clients but it was through a non-governed system. Governing your own self is very difficult so the expertise of people in accounting, auditing and etc is essential. Having followed this notion it was discovered that in Hong Kong the ISO (International Standard Organization) was playing a major role in quality management systems and they helped determine that bti will be the first ISO 9001 certified company.
According to Khan, bti got the ISO 9000-98 version in 1998 which was just not a certification, rather a process. There are five core divisions: Vision and mission, Policy implementation, Management Representative, then the procedure and processing of checklists and other things. Audits were being done every six months and the ISO authority checked whether compliance issues were being maintained strictly. Khan went on to speak of non-compliances from a very nascent stage which were minor however, no false information, was provided.
Khan stayed in the UK for three years and after coming back he fixed a Unique Selling Proposition (USP) for the company which hewas sure would win over their customers. They wanted to achieve bigger feats to satisfy their customers and even occasionaly try to go beyond their expectations. However, that proved to be quite challenging as it was a long process which started from land procurement and construction. Nevertheless, bti nabbed the niche with such aplomb that its burgeoning customer base speaks of its remarkable position in the industry.
After sales service is important everywhere, whether it is a least developed or developed country. He cited about brands like Toyota and Rahimafrooz, which have made a strong position in the market, not only because they provide quality products but also offer good after sales services.
He spoke of the difficulties they faced while developing a brand name and mentioned that providing backward services requires massive home work planned designing and equal level of commitment from all employees including the management level like managing director, advisor or chairman, each of whom have their very own dynamic role to play.
As such, Khan visited each project every week at least twice or thrice. Reports were made regarding observations and the positive aspects were encouraged while trying to correct the negative ones at the same time. Different types of tests were conducted such as soil tests, engineering tests and different programs for designing, development (procurement of land), then construction and finally after sales services.
Without compliance and certain level of diligence success cannot be achieved. The bti deed of agreement states that if there is any inherent problem regarding the construction or design of what was provided to customers then bti will take the responsibility for the building’s life time. Due to the promise of such services, people are paying a premium price to acquire their services.
Chronicling on the past and the present, he went on to say that from the 90s up until the 2000s, the enterprise was offering a classic to premium product range. However, nowadays they have started providing standard sized apartments for price range of Tk. 45 lacs to Tk 50 lacs which is very affordable.
Highlighting the private sector’s dramatic achievements in vertical living he said the government is yet to offer the best deals for the real estate sectors. In Japan they privatized the railway and telecommunications industry which produced losses earlier but later led to profits. In Uttara, the government tried to occupy land and sell apartments at Tk,3,500 per sft. Their failure led to the eventual abandonment of the project and due to incidents like these people don’t have as much faith in the public sector. People trust the private sector more because time and again, it has proved that it stays true to its commitments. Human resources is one strength bti and Khan can certainly boast about. They engage qualified people in work and try to nurture their talents so that they can render their best services.
Regarding the facilitator role of government and foreign investment in this sector he mentioned that Sahara is not coming but other international players may come due to the logic that there is a market here and we have much more to achieve. What the country need is a roadmap to success, not road blocks. We must not forget that local company is far better than any foreign company and a level playing field will ensure that they flourish even in the face of strong competition.