Exclusive Interview with Zeynep Demirbilek, Founder & CEO of Service Club Delivery
From online shopping to online services, the system of bike couriers has grown drastically. With everyone wanting fast services, the market for delivery services is now filled with different companies, providing a variety of services. The pandemic has furthermore encouraged this market to grow like a giant. Service Club is a platform specifically designed for motorcycle and bike couriers and it has become a key player in the delivery industry. Analytics Insight has engaged in an exclusive interview with Zeynep Demirbilek, Founder & CEO of Service Club Delivery.
Tell us about Service Club
Although previously established as a training and recruitment platform within the hospitality industry, it wasn’t until three years ago that Service Club became a key player in the Delivery industry. Our main boom and growth phase came about during Covid-19 when as a society we experienced a sharp pivot away from hospitality services and towards delivery. Covid was obviously an extremely tough and challenging time for many but we were luckily able to identify this changing landscape early and took the opportunity that the pandemic presented to improve covid employment rates and keep our essential services up and running through the increasingly popular format of delivery.
Having initially created a brilliant product and on the verge of securing new investment, the onset of the pandemic threw a huge spanner into the works. We lost all investors and clients pretty much overnight however, we are now proud to be reinvented as a ‘Covid product’ as the unforeseen circumstances we were facing enabled the creation of a bigger and more exciting product than what I had originally planned for the hospitality industry at the time.
With demand for our original idea suddenly gone, the shift in focus quickly turned to ‘who is still hiring?’ and for us, the answer was pretty straightforward. It was right in front of us… you only have to look out the window to see all the UberEats and Deliveroo riders on their bikes!
Ultimately, for a time so slow and uncertain for many businesses, the pandemic was an extremely busy period for Service Club, in fact, I have never been busier in my life… reinventing an entire product, redesigning the entire UX, and re-acquiring new users!
To cut a long story short, Service Club is a self-confessed Covid product. Although the company is slightly older, the delivery idea that has become so successful was born during lockdown!
How did you come up with the idea for Service Club?
The Service Club name ultimately came from hospitality. We were still a recruitment platform at the time but instead of delivery personnel, we were working for major hotels like W, Hilton, and Marriott filtering hospitality staff they required at that time.
I guess, the name was always designed with brand ability in mind. We wanted a memorable .com name that was still brand-focused but with two words that were very memorable in order to stand out from our competitors. As mentioned before we were working in the service industry and also had always wanted to be a members club for our users anyway – so, Service Club came to mind very quickly! The other big reason for the name was because we wanted to be a global name. We wanted two very simple English words that everybody could recognise and easily understand.
Once we had identified the opportunity within the delivery market, we took ‘Service Club’ and added the ‘Delivery’ to it to create Service Club Delivery. For us, the sky’s the limit. Once we nail delivery we are going to go back to hospitality so ‘Service Club Hospitality’ then maybe ‘Service Club Telecommunications’? You know, the logic behind it is a training and recruitment platform for low-skilled workers and they’re not only in the delivery industry! That is why we did not change the foundational ‘Service Club’ name but instead added ‘Delivery’.
We are keen to turn our attention back to hospitality in the future as well as any other industry that does mass hiring of workers that don’t have specialised skills. The logic behind using Service Club for this recruitment is that when you are hiring skilled staff or experts on a particular topic, you know what to look for. You look at their education, their experiences, what tools they have and what companies they have worked for. There are a lot of criteria that you can assess the people with, whereas when you’re hiring for a low-skilled job you don’t have sufficient or satisfactory filtering methods because what are you basing it on?
With Service Club, we wanted the focus to be on education and equipping our users via the academy to pass on any necessary knowledge for the job, therefore we offer microlearning modules. Our rider’s qualifications are irrelevant to the job and our rider’s past experiences have very little to do with delivery, so we create a brand new filtering method based on training to filter people who are working a job that they haven’t done before. Basically, we are more focused on filtering people according to their soft skills, personality, beliefs, and work ethic rather than whether they can use Excel or not.
How has the company evolved during the pandemic?
As a company, we saw an opportunity during the pandemic to be useful and to be helpful. Delivery is the new normal now. It was something before of course, but it has become something else after the pandemic. Covid changed what we believed was normal and it changed delivery from being a luxury to being essential – delivery people are now considered essential workers.
Due to unprecedented circumstances, delivery drivers instantly became a lot more valued than they had been before but until Service Club, there was no special product or service out there that was looking after them, upskilling them, and filtering them for jobs.
So, the shift happened very quickly but improvement in quality of delivery people was still very much behind. In that sense, and as we talked about before, we are very much a Covid product. We saw the opportunity to be useful in the new normal, asking ourselves, ‘What does the world need right now?’… The world didn’t need more recruitment platforms for hospitality, the world needed more niche products.
What can we hope to see from Service Club in the future?
We recently closed our seed funding round and secured some government funding on top as well. Last year was all about creating and validating the products but this year is about scaling and growth. In 2022, we’re not planning to expand to more countries, we are already in seven of them! But what we want to do is increase our market share in every one of these countries that we are in.
This year is about improving the product and our market share in every single one of these markets but at the same time making the members club side of Service Club a lot more comprehensive for delivery people. We would very much like our riders to have access to all sorts of tips, tricks, support, guidance, forums, and training. Our aim is upskilling and giving delivery drivers assets that they can take with them into the future, 2022 is all about keeping the promises that we have given to them last year!
We already have 85 different training modules for delivery people. People think these modules are about a delivery, and a few of them are of course, but the majority of them have nothing to do with it. We’ve got training models for basic coding, public speaking, how to prepare your CV and so much more. So the way we invest in delivering peoples’ lives is not just about making them better at deliveries, which for some of them is a temporary job, but also showing them other opportunities while they are working as a delivery person; allowing them to discover what skills they have and what else they can do in life.
The good thing about the way we train delivery people is that we use very interactive, gamified microlearning modules featuring a lot of humour to make the experience as fun as possible. Our microlearning modules are almost addictive because once you start you keep completing another module and then another module! People can do 5 minutes or 5 hours a day; they can stop whenever they want and continue whenever they want. Delivery people work all sorts of hours, they might have a job at 9 am and then another at 11.15 am and you can’t really do anything between 9 and 11.15 other than your deliveries so what do you do with that dead time? What do you do when you’re waiting outside a restaurant for a package? That’s why we did this very sort of Duolingo microlearning module because people can complete these whenever they want even in the shortest periods of time when waiting for a package.