In an exclusive interview, Mr. Karim Aly, CEO of the newly launched app Task Spotting, talks about how this innovative app benefits both consumers and businesses in the Middle East. He highlights how businesses can assess valuable customer feedback through the app to improve the retail experience and customer retention rates.
Q: How did the idea of the Task Spotting app evolve?
Karim Aly: After exiting my last venture, I was exploring new opportunities and an area that seemed ready for transformation was retail intelligence. The idea first started brewing as a result of my own experiences with the challenge of getting quick, unbiased and reliable data in the region. After speaking to many friends and colleagues, it turned out that this issue existed across the board, irrespective of industry or scale. Ultimately, this is why the project was conceptualized – to help solve this very real business challenge.
Q: How is Task Spotting different from other available apps?
Karim Aly: Well, for one thing, it’s the app that pays! I believe it’s the only smartphone app in the region that actually provides users the opportunity to earn. It’s also the only app in the Middle East that offers a platform for businesses to collect real-time intelligence using the crowd. For the first time, businesses in the region can gather information that is timely, reliable and accurate – allowing them to take quick and decisive action in the interest of improving their retail performance.
Q: How does this app benefit both consumers and businesses in UAE?
Karim Aly: By combining crowdsourcing with mobile technology, we are helping retail businesses gain a competitive advantage by enabling local visibility. Imagine being able to reach out to thousands of consumers, ask them for the information you need and receive it back in real-time – all at the touch of a button. With Task Spotting, businesses can do just that and experience their brand from the perspective of a customer, track retail performance against targets and react in near real-time to fix issues. That’s a considerable competitive advantage.
Consumers of course, receive cash rewards for helping businesses collect this intelligence. Moreover, it is ultimately the consumers who will be the beneficiaries of the improved retail experience which businesses will be able to deliver as a result of their contributions.
Q: What actionable information does Task Spotting offer to businesses which can be deployed to improve customer service?
Karim Aly: Businesses can collect insights on any stage of the customer lifecycle, whether it is pre-purchase sentiment, in-store experience or post-purchase customer service. This information can then be used to identify, track and improve key performance metrics.
Q: How can users embed Rich Media (Images, Videos and Audios) to share their experiences with business organizations?
Karim Aly: Businesses are able to augment their insights even further using rich media delivered by the crowd as part of their missions. Consumers can submit photos of promotional displays, video testimonials, voice notes of their conversations, etc, all directly through the Task Spotting app. These rich media items are also geo-tagged and time stamped so that the businesses can know exactly when and where they were taken.
Q: What are some of the key areas covered by the analytics dashboard in the Task Spotting app?
Karim Aly: We’ve built some very rich analytical tools into the dashboard that offer businesses much deeper levels of insight. These include the ability to filter and segment their data across multiple dimensions such as location, gender, age, answer, etc. as well as to create custom statistics for internal purposes. This functionality enables business to immediately drill down and identify the root cause of issues in order to be able to take prompt and effective action. Additionally, we have also integrated trending capabilities into the dashboard. This feature allows our clients to track metrics over time and monitor whether they are improving, deteriorating or holding steady and more importantly, be able to recognize cause and effect, essentially answering the crucial question of “why is this happening?”
Q: How can this app empower mystery shoppers in sharing their experience with businesses?
Karim Aly: Task Spotting gives consumers the opportunity to offer instant feedback on the brands and experiences that they feel strongly about. Also, because the feedback is incentivized, consumers are motivated to share even their “ordinary” experiences, those that they would otherwise not have felt compelled to share. What this means for businesses is that they get a realistic, balanced view of the spectrum, not just the extreme experiences that make up the outliers.
Q: In your opinion how can innovation and technology be used in the future to raise customer service standards for consumer satisfaction and business development?
Karim Aly: Absolutely – up until now, businesses have had to rely on traditional research firms to collect data on their products and service levels, however, data accuracy and relevance is a point that is often criticized. By combining crowdsourcing with mobile technology, Task Spotting has eliminated many of the conventional challenges and made it possible for brands to witness the experience through the eyes of the consumer. This enables businesses to closely monitor the actual consumer experience and track it against the target experience. As a result, they now have the opportunity to address breakdowns, concerns or complaints about the experience in near real-time. Business development works hand in hand with this: as service and satisfaction levels improve, retention rates also naturally increase as well as a brand’s share of customers’ wallets.
Q: What are your future plans for this app? Are there any particular features that you will be adding to it?
Karim Aly: Of course! We’re just getting started. Although, we have a lot of ideas for the evolution of Task Spotting and are eager to get the wheels in motion, we are taking a step back to observe. Now, that we’ve successfully launched Task Spotting 1.0, we want to first receive insights and feedback from our business and Spotter communities before embarking on the next set of developments.
Profile: Mr. Karim Aly
Karim has over 14 years of investment, strategy and entrepreneurship experience. His professional background cuts across a variety of industries and geographies, spanning both the public and private sectors.
Karim is Founder and CEO at Task Spotting; a technology startup that is combining crowdsourcing with mobile technology to enable businesses to capture real-time market intelligence.
Earlier, Karim has also served in a project origination and strategic advisory role with the foreign direct investment agency in Dubai (DD1A), contributing to over a dozen mega-projects now sitting under the Dubai Holding umbrella. Karim began his career in Mergers and Acquisitions with Merrill Lynch in North America.
Karim received an MBA degree from INSEAD in France and holds a Bachelors of Commerce with a Major in Finance from the John Molson School of Business at Concordia University in Canada.