Most people can relate to the frustration of poor after-sales service. However, one telecommunications boss is fighting the good fight when it comes to making sure people leave his store with not only a product but also a promise of a relationship that extends beyond the shopfront.
For Indonesian businessman Hasan Aula, providing solutions is just as important as making sales. Hasan’s core values of integrity, respect, growth and learning underpin Erajaya Swasembada’s business mandate. He has combined his broad industry knowledge and extensive experience in the telecommunications realm to create a business philosophy that is future-proofing the industry, with his customers the main beneficiaries. For Hasan, it is not just about profit; it is all about trust, fairness and deliverability.
Hasan Aula's philosophy of future-proofing
“The company has an extremely sound philosophy. It invites a strong business foundation in the market, which encourages growth. I learned this during my 12 years at Nokia which, at the time, was leader in the mobile phone industry,” he says. “I decided to join the Erajaya Group in 2010 because it was shifting from a distribution company to a retail company. I thought Erajaya was one of the greater companies.”
“The industry is very exciting because of growth, technology development and the shift to the smartphone. Of course, particularly in the past seven years, the industry has been met with challenges due to the technology itself. We need to get up with the technology development and move with the dynamics of the industry. One of the main challenges we are facing is, of course, in human resources.”
At the core of Hasan’s philosophy of future-proofing Erajaya are the personnel tasked with implementing his core values. To Hasan, his staff are more than just salespeople; they are at the coalface of Indonesia’s technological evolution, are open to the changing rhythms of the industry, and are able to articulate this change to the consumer.
“One of the foundations important to the Erajaya Group is the building of the Erajaya training and development centre. This is to equip human resources in the company to be able to keep up with the industry trends in the future. We’ve had this model of training for many years,” Hasan says.
Erajaya Swasembada provides solutions not just products
It is no secret the telecommunications business is highly competitive, with hundreds of new products flooding the marketplace every day. Being at the forefront of innovation and development in this dynamic industry is paramount for Hasan. Customers are the driving force behind this concept and, according to Hasan, customers want to do business with a company that can provide solutions, not just products. “We are developing not only the selling of the device; we are also providing the solution, so we want to be the leader in the mobile business by providing solutions for the customer. This is our aim.”
In keeping with a future direction and being solutions-focused, Hasan has embraced the Internet of Things (IoT) concept in a way that many competitors have not. Merely selling mobile phones is a thing of the past; the device is material but its capabilities are not, he explains.
“We are selling the ecosystem plus the IoT. This is a new industry, and in our view it is going to be big in the future because, today, connectivity mobility is related to efficiency and productivity. This is a healthy trend. It is something that is needed by people. For example, you can control your air-conditioner before arriving home. You can control the lighting in your house even before you arrive. It relates to lifestyle activity.”
Indonesia is the ideal environment for this innovative philosophy, offering both opportunity and challenge. The variance in the demographics acts as a testing ground for Hasan’s astute business principles. “We have 13,000 islands in Indonesia,” calculates Hasan. “Indonesia is a very broad country and an open market with many people having two phones. People need a variety of coverage and tariffs depending on where they live.”
Turning the concept of selling on its head
It is with this complex market in mind that Erajaya Group has built the biggest retail shop in the market: a megastore through which a variety of products are provided. With its head in the present and its eye firmly on the future, the point of difference between his company and other telecommunication businesses is the close monitoring of the market and its trends.
“We document what is happening in the market very closely so that we can use new trends to predict what’s going to happen in the future,” he explains. “Doing the same thing is not enough because the industry is moving forward to different challenges in the future. We need to be close to the market and talk to the government about changes in regulation.”
We document what is happening in the market very closely so that we can use new trends to predict what’s going to happen in the future.
Hasan has turned the concept of selling on its head. He begins with service, solutions and the customer as a way of travelling through the buyer’s purchase process. When customers buy into his vision, they are assured of a level of certainty that other businesses do not provide, aided by sales personnel who are considered experts in the area and are at the cutting edge of the industry.
Hasan’s willingness to embrace the future as an agent of change satisfies his motto of growth and learning. This future-focus is paying dividends, as the company makes plans to expand into Singapore and Malaysia.