We talked to Arief Imran of SERV about serving people through innovation and technology, and he had the following to say:-
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Arief Imran: Thankfully, both my family and I are doing good, safe, and healthy despite these trying times. However, I hope that everyone else is doing just as well, if not better.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded SERV.
Arief Imran: I’m an outgoing and dedicated serial entrepreneur with over 14 years of experience on my belt, which means that I’ve dealt with many trials and tribulations through my many years in the field of business and entrepreneurship. As a result of said experience, I founded SERV with the core purpose to serve the people through innovation and technology because I came to realize that the automotive sector is currently facing a multitude of setbacks that need to be addressed in order to truly innovate our nation. I believe that where there are problems, there are solutions and SERV serves as one of the solutions towards enhancing the vehicle ownership experience as well as digitalizing the workshop operations.
How does SERV innovate?
Arief Imran: SERV entered the market by analyzing the potential innovation of the overall vehicle ownership experience by developing a one-stop platform that allows vehicle owners to truly own their vehicles, search for various services, make payments, and track their vehicle health report in the digital space.
SERV first launched an on-demand feature that provides a door-to-door car maintenance service but soon introduced the Drive-In feature during the pandemic, which allows workshop merchants to get connected with customers via the SERV app.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Arief Imran: At the peak of the pandemic, it was quite a tough moment since we were busy ensuring that our system is actively assisting workshops in abiding by the Government’s SOPs for their customers’ safety. We also received tremendous support from our registered workshops that are willing to migrate to digital space in order to keep both their customers and workers safe while adopting contactless transactions on their premises.
The interstate travel restrictions during the peak of the MCO also posed a challenge for us. However, we began hosting frequent virtual training/webinars for our registered workshops in order to guide them through the digital experience while also providing marketing for them to our many app users.
Did you have to make difficult choices and what are the lessons learned?
Arief Imran: In this line of business, especially as a startup growing during uncertain times, there will always be difficult choices and tough calls to make. However, as difficult as they are, they are choices that have to be made. After all, one of the major lessons I’ve learnt while building SERV is that you must always stay aligned with the constitution of the mission as driven by tangible data.
What specific tools, software, and management skills are you using to navigate this crisis?
Arief Imran: The team at SERV is quite fluent in managing work remotely, and we have a frequent catch up over virtual meetings on a weekly basis in order to get in touch with one another while keeping track of the current work progression.
The MCO has also allowed us to engage with our first batch of registered merchants on a deeper level by hosting virtual meets and online chats whenever they have concerns or feedback about both the system and the app.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Arief Imran: Within the automotive sector alone, we’ve identified a few competitors such as GoMechanic, Carsome, and CARFAX, which are each split into 3 separate categories. We recognize that as our platform evolves, more players in each focus area will become our nearest competitors. However, we have identified a way to maneuver through various challenges within this sector, and it all starts with our advanced community building and scaling features with a head start in the aftermarket services. There are also other up and coming platforms, which could expand to include the whole experience of vehicle ownership. This is always an inevitability with technology, which is why we are also venturing into cutting edge technologies through our R&D arm. We also offer our technology to the businesses near free, so we can corner the market and take oxygen from a large number of merchants that are in need of digital tools.
Your final thoughts?
Arief Imran: We want to emphasize the importance of our core mission, which is to serve the people, and how we always put the user first. We have created a platform for drivers nationwide to simplify the vehicle ownership experience while also empowering the greatly underserved aftermarket sector with a dashboard that can help familiarize the locals with the digital transformation that is swiftly surfacing during the era of a global pandemic.
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