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Staying Loyal: Prashant Khattar Wants To Help Your Business Retain Customers Businesses work tirelessly to fortify and maximize their consumer loyalty. It's more relevant than ever today, with competition more intense than ever.

By Kareem Chehayeb

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Infinia Managing Director Prashant Khattar

Businesses work tirelessly to fortify and maximize their consumer loyalty. It's more relevant than ever today, with competition more intense than ever. Infinia Managing Director Prashant Khattar describes the need for consumer loyalty using what I think is the most accurate word: "crucial." After over a decade of work experience in the financial industry, Khattar established Infinia Services & Solutions in 2011 in the UAE, hoping to become the ideal consultant for consumer loyalty and payment solutions for businesses. But what inspired Khattar to start this B2B service? Simply put, it's the current state of affairs in the MENA region's flourishing markets that led to the establishment of Infinia. "The current customer has a privilege to shift very easily between brands, and so, retaining a customer is a constant effort," explains Khattar. "It challenges marketing strategies to innovate in communicating with a customer."

Developing Infinia was definitely capital-intensive. Khattar says that the development process, which took over a year, required "heavy investment in terms of time, effort, knowledge and capital," especially given that the initial team consisted of just him and his two partners. He now has a much larger team, which he describes as being "highly talented and motivated," with its members spread across different countries. "Infinia is headquartered in UAE," Khattar explains. "We have a business team of 30 professionals in sales and marketing." And the rest? "Our technology, delivery and operations team is based out of Mumbai and includes over 100 personnel." Despite the massive growth in such a short period of time, Khattar tells me that Infinia required no angel investors, and that he isn't considering the idea for the foreseeable future. That's quite impressive.

I asked Khattar to talk more about Infinia's different solutions it offers for potential clients. The founder tells me that the company's offering of "redemption content" is most preferred by customers, noting the importance of having a "versatile" loyalty platform. He uses technology as an example of an avenue that can be taken to improve a loyalty platform. this particular service covers everything, from marketing to e-commerce. Khattar also claims that Infinia's payment platforms stand out from the e-commerce and m-commerce crowds, and one main element stood out for me: the consultation factor. As hired consultants, Infinia helps set up and manage the payment platforms. But that's not all. Inspired by the "growing adoption and usage of social media applications" across the MENA region, Khattar seems to be true to his word about wanting to stay innovative, mentioning social media payments via Facebook and WhatsApp.

With this kind of activity with online and mobile payments, I asked Khattar about how he thinks the "dreaded" Cash on Delivery (COD) payment method could be eradicated from the MENA region. However, I had to rephrase the question, given that he wasn't part of what I thought was a region-wide consensus- he actually believes that COD plays a vital role in the ecosystem, and it can be reformed to become more convenient. Khattar adds that COD is an "integral" method of payment, saying that for some products, customers would want to pay after they have "received and inspected the product." For its part, Infinia offers a reformed COD solution, where customers could pay with credit card rather than cash.

With Infinia's services appealing to several markets and industries, it appears that the financial sector makes up the vast majority of their clientele. that said, despite building a strong relationship with banking and other financial institutions since 2012, Khattar says
that Infinia has also been able to make "very strong inroads into the telecom and the retail services sectors in 2014." He also hopes to build stronger ties with businesses in the hospitality and travel sectors. Having said that, they're already quite busy, with over 30 clients to date.

This year is a big year for Infinia, with Khattar sharing some of their big expansion plans, both within their platform and their geographic presence. He lists "Africa, South Asia, South East Asia and Eastern Europe" as areas being considered for Infinia's expansion, and he also mentions the hard work being put into expanding Infinia into the telecom, retail, and hospitality sectors. Despite the plans to regionally expand, it is questionable whether Infinia would move their headquarters away from Dubai- after all, Khattar believes that the emirate is the best city in the MENA region to be an entrepreneur.

Kareem Chehayeb

Former Columnist & Online Liaison, Entrepreneur Middle East

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