Starting a new venture is always hard work and more often than not, risky. It takes guts. But for Azarol Faizi, the fear of losing was never part of him. His passion for the automotive industry has driven him to start Astra Group – progressing from supplying parts to delivering value-added services that champion sustainable power solutions. In a recent chat with the Top 10 of Malaysia, Azarol Faizi, Managing Director of Astra Group talks about his latest venture, Bateriku.com, and how it differs from those of other similar organizations.
Growing up in small town Bota, Azarol has always dreamt of being an entrepreneur. The Perak native graduated with a Bachelor in Engineering (Mechanical) from Universiti Teknologi Malaysia and started his career as an Estimating Engineer at Cleveland Bridge UK-EON, a joint venture steel fabrication company. He has also worked with an oil and gas company, Unimasco Sdn Bhd and later joined Hyundai Corporation in 1999. In need of a fresh start, Azarol took a leap of faith when he established Astra Simfoni Sdn Bhd six years later.
After a successful nine-year run, Astra has its own battery pattern registered under Intellectual Property Corporation of Malaysia (MYIPO) and a facility in Nilai as a certified original equipment manufacturer (OEM). The Astra Group is also ISO-certified and is now a part of High Performing Bumiputera Companies (TERAS). The group comprises three business entities: Astra Simfoni Sdn Bhd, Astra Manufacturing Sdn Bhd and Green Initiative Sdn Bhd.
Being one of the leading battery-centric companies in Malaysia, Astra Group deals with everything from manufacturing, sales and marketing to waste management as well as research and development in green battery technology. Not only does it produce affordable automotive batteries, Bateriku.com (under Green Initiative) also provides direct delivery and installation services in any location within the Klang Valley. The battery brands include Century, Yuasa, Hitachi as well as their own brand, ASTRA.
“We have toyed with the idea of a car battery delivery service for a while now. This discussion with my team cropped up over coffee last year,” he says. “It is indeed a time-efficient service for stranded motorists. I realised that there is a huge potential for this kind of service especially when the number of vehicles on the road is increasing.” Azarol and his team started this service in March 2014 with about five delivery requests a day and currently has gone up to an average of 30 in just a span of six months.
The Bateriku.com service is available all year round at its customers’ convenience – be it on a busy highway or at their homes. All batteries used are ensured to meet manufacturers’ specifications in order to maintain its sustainability and good quality. When in doubt, customers can also verify with Bateriku.com if they are in need of a battery change at no cost at all. Azarol mentions that they are only required to pay for the parts or battery as Bateriku.com provides free delivery, checking as well as installing.
What sets them apart from many of its competitors is its good marketing strategy. “Security and safety are also our utmost concerns for both Bateriku.com troopers and customers, especially among women,” Azarol says. When requesting for assistance, customers will be provided with Bateriku.com Trooper’s contact details. “We ensure that our customers identify them properly by checking their credentials before allowing them to proceed. The customer is also advised to always stay at a safe area while waiting for their arrival,” Azarol adds. The mechanics wear safety uniforms and have a complete set of tools with them.
With over 21,000 followers on Facebook, Bateriku.com continues to create a positive buzz. “We always encourage our customers to share their honest feedbacks on our social media platform by rating or perhaps, write us a brief review of their experiences. That way, we can learn and improve as we go along as well as to give only the best service to the customers,” he says.
Aside from that, Azarol is particular when it comes to the quality of Bateriku.com’s customer service. “It is crucial for our staff to be well-equipped with right knowledge and exude positive attitudes – everyone from the help desk to the runners. First impression is always key,” explains Azarol. He tries his best narrow the gap between him and his employees. “I try to remain as accessible to them as possible. I make it a point to participate in morning briefings and listen to everyone’s feedbacks. We even started with the practice of rewarding the top three riders instead of just one with attractive incentives,” says Azarol.
Azarol hopes his latest endeavour, Bateriku.com, will someday match the successes of its sister companies under the Astra Group. “Anything that provides a great experience for the customer is worth doing well,” smiles Azarol.