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Business News/ News / India/  ‘Let’s learn from him': Anand Mahindra thinks this Chennai auto driver is a professor of management

‘Let’s learn from him': Anand Mahindra thinks this Chennai auto driver is a professor of management

Durai is a class 12 dropout but has addressed employees of Vodofone, Hyundai, Royal Enfield, Danfoss and Gamesa

Anna DuraiPremium
Anna Durai

With over 10,000 followers on Facebook, 40 speeches at corporate offices and six TED talks to his credit, Chennai's favourite auto driver Annu Durai has now also caught the eye of industrialist Anand Mahindra

Durai is a class 12 dropout but has addressed employees of Vodofone, Hyundai, Royal Enfield, Danfoss and Gamesa. The 37-year-old comes across as any other auto driver at the first glance, but can talk to you about the economy, startups or even Stephen Hawkings’s ‘Brief Answers to the Big Questions’.

However, his first claim to fame back in 2012 was the way he had bedecked his three-wheeler with magazines, snacks, books, laptop, tablets, a mini-television set and refreshing drinks to give his customers the best experience at no additional cost. 

His auto is wifi enabled and post-pandemic, even offers masks and sanitisers to ensure a hygienic and safe ride. He plays the day’s important news clips on the TV set, which he normally records during the lunch break at home. 

Digital media platform The Better India recently published a story on the personality that is Durai, and quoted him as saying that he had initially planned to become a businessman to earn enough money and solve his family's financial issues. 

"But the very same crisis forced me to drop out of class 12 and start working. I chose not to complain, and instead bring my passion into what I was already doing. I began with placing newspapers in the backseat and gradually introduced new services," TBI quoted him as saying. 

Not having a formal business degree, he said that his education began the day he started identifying and prioritising ideas to win over customers, which required him to be exceptionally good at observation without coming across as intruding or over-friendly.

“One may think an auto ride is just about transporting a passenger from one area to another, but it can be so much more. Traffic jams in the IT corridor are frequent, so passengers tend to feel irritated while waiting. The WiFi keeps them engaged. Once a customer urgently needed a laptop and I felt bad for not being able to provide him with one. The next day, I had a laptop and tablet. These gadgets led to social media selfies which in turn increased my customers," he said. 

Now, it is this quality of his that led Mahindra to call him a “professor of management" on Saturday. 

“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 (sic)," wrote Mahindra in a tweet while sharing a video story about Durai.

Further, he tagged Suman Mishra, the CEO of Mahindra Electric, and said: “Let’s learn from him."

Durai replied to the tweet saying: “Honoured to see this message sir, thank you."

Later, Mishra too posted a response to tweet, and said that Mahindra Electric is keen to collaborate with him. 

“Indeed @anandmahindra this is customer centric innovation at its best! We @MahindraElctrc are keen to collaborate, learn and scale this mindset @Amazingauto5758 (sic)," she wrote. 






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Published: 22 Jan 2022, 10:35 PM IST
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