Know Your Customer – Khouri & INNOV8

Yulia Khouri and Darren Harris, INNOV8

In the last decade, Cambodia’s meteoric economic growth has attracted a wealth of foreign expertise into the country. Together with a growing pool of local talent, the market has become a much tougher one. “Companies need to up their game if they want to survive. You simply cannot afford to not know your customer,” Yulia Khouri, co-founder and CEO of INNOV8 Group, asserts.

To help companies compete in this increasingly fierce business environment, a whole range of new services are now opening up across the Kingdom. From market research to rebranding, the number of services on offer keeps on growing, while the business consulting industry keeps on thriving. INNOV8 Group, one of the country’s leading research, training and consulting companies, is at the forefront of the sector.

Over the last five years, INNOV8 has lended its services to major telecommunications companies, internet service providers, broadcasting corporations and banks in Cambodia, as well as other countries in Southeast Asia, Africa and the Middle East, helping them readjust their focus to achieve their goals. Its clients in the Kingdom include Smart Axiata, Ezecom, ANZ, Forte Insurance, Cambodia Airports, Prudential Insurance, NRG Radio, among many others.

INNOV8’s Research helps companies improve the experience of their customers through enhanced awareness of their target market. “The overall goal is to answer two basic questions,” Khouri explains. “First, we will tell you what your customer wants, and, second, what your company is lacking from the viewpoint of the market and clients, both potential and existent. The point is that in Cambodia’s increasingly competitive business environment, you have to know your customer as well as your competition.”

With over 70 trained research assistants, INNOV8 Research includes mystery shopping and mystery calling, brand recognition, brand awareness and brand equity surveys, as well as other essential market survey tools. What sets them apart, and one of the reasons why so many big names have decided to retain their services, is their use of state-of-the-art digital technology they are producing in-house. Using some of the most advanced data-gathering software in the country, INNOV8 is able to supply a service few others can match. “Our clients are provided live data, which means that at any point they can either re-check or correlate whichever factors they want. They can use this data multiple times until it becomes outdated or when new respondents are needed,” Khouri explains.

David Parrott, head of retail banking at ANZ, comments on his experience with INNOV8 Research and their use of advanced hardware: “One of the solutions introduced by INNOV8 was to install IPAD-based surveys in each of our branches to give customers the opportunity to rate our service and provide real time specific feedback to the management. This amazing easy to use tool enabled us to recognise individual staff who delivered a great service experience to our customers.”

Mystery shopping is one of the data-gathering methods that Khouri seeks to popularize in the Kingdom, as it can be tremendously effective when it comes to revamping a company’s customer service. “Through our mystery shopping research across the country, we are able to tell our clients exactly where their customer service is failing, and what they need to change,” Khouri says.

INNOV8’s clients have only words of praise for the service. According to Parrott of ANZ, “the quality and timeliness of INNOV8’s mystery shoppers is of the highest standard. Because it is done in real time, a branch can find out its score within 20 minutes of being shopped and use the information to make immediate corrections to any issues highlighted in the online report.”

Thomas Hundt, CEO of Smart, agrees: “INNOV8 helps Smart measure the quality of its customer service and deliver results. One of Smart’s core values is ‘Customer Focus’; we aim for a consistent level of high customer service through every touchpoint. This is a massive exercise that requires constant assessment, guidance and training. In all those areas INNOV8 plays an important role for Smart.”

The use of time-tested data-gathering methods and their reliance on advanced technology are just some of the reasons why so many big players have trusted INNOV8 over the years. However, what lies at the core of INNOV8 success is the quality embedded in everything they do. In a country where research standards often fall far below international levels, INNOV8’s commitment to statistically significant sample sizes and strict adherence to principles of good research practice drives the industry forward, and makes them stand out from the competition.


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