July 11, 2016

Business Talk with Grab’s Marketing Head Khriz Lim

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    Grab is one of, if not, the biggest transport applications in South East Asia. It helps out both taxi drivers and operators in making their operations more efficient. Other transport apps like Uber have made it to Philippine shores, but Grab still dominates the scene. What makes Grab tick? We talked to Khriz Lim, Grab’s Country Marketing Manager, to know more.




    What were the expectations when Grab (then GrabTaxi) was introduced in the Philippines? How has it changed since?

    When I joined Grab, there were only 20 employees in an old building along Pasay road. In the Philippines, we now have over 300 employees. We only had GrabTaxi in Metro Manila; now we are already in seven cities, along with having GrabCar, and Grab Express.

    We were expected to comply with the government, which we always do. Ever since we launched, or even before we launched, we made sure we coordinated well with LTFRB (Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board) and the taxi industry.

    We were also expected to help ease traffic and the lives of our partners back as GrabTaxi. Before GrabTaxi, they would just drive around, hoping to find passengers. With Grab, we have helped them save time and gas because they know where [the destination is].

    What were some of the biggest challenges you faced with Grab (accessibility, competitors, and regulations)?

    When we launched in the Philippines, we had very low data penetration, especially with the taxi drivers. How would you convince them to purchase a smartphone and get data for it? We had cases where they panicked when the screen was locked. It took time.

    The second challenge is regulations. It’s something new. It’s something that’s meant to disrupt the industry. It’s new not only to the  government but to everyone, especially when we launched GrabCar. We got everyone thinking “how are we supposed to regulate it?” When we were accredited, it was so fulfilling because we’ve been working with them for the longest time.

    We like competition because it pushes us to be better. What makes us different from other transport apps is that we’re very local. We may have people coming in from the regional team, but everyone else is Filipino. We know the market, we talk to the drivers.

    How has Grab helped ensure commuters’ safety while still helping drivers?

    First is the sign-up process, next is the training. Third is the tracking. Once the driver has the app and it has GPS, it’s in our system. Aside from that, we have the driver’s phone, photo, and even a sketch of where the driverlives. If in case an investigation is needed, we have all the details. They know that if they drive with Grab, we can track them.

    We have a very rigorous and strict application process for drivers. We make sure they submit proper documents like NBI Clearance, PNP, vehicle registration, plus they undergo training. We also require that you have comprehensive insurance both for passengers and drivers.

    Our Grab Peers get most of the fare from the passengers. We just get a cut from it, like a fee for letting them use the app. But the phone is already theirs; it’s like they bought it. Taxi drivers/operators get most of the P40 booking fee.

    From your experience, what has made the most impact on your role as a manager?

    Working for a start-up is very different. I came from a corporate company. I saw how structured an aged company was and how a start-up works. After seeing how Grab was when we were just 20 (with 3 in the marketing team), it made me realize that even if the company has grown, you always have to be grounded.

    Ever since the growth of the company, we made sure the organization is very linear. Nobody on my team calls me boss, not unless I’m angry. I treat them as friends. Instead of giving them sermons, I usually give them advice. Instead of giving them directions, I teach them how to do it so later on they can do it on their own.

    I have a team of 27. It’s a huge team, but regardless of your title, if you’re capable of handling a big project and if you prove to me you’re worth the project, I give it to them. There are a lot of personal projects that we launched in GrabPH, one of which was Grab Bibingka.

    Values are important to us, one of which is “your problem is my problem.” If your teammate has a problem, you stand up and you help. Even our mall staff can pitch in during brainstorming.

    Who are the people you look up to? What are the things about them that left a mark on you?

    I look up to our CEO, Anthony Tan. I saw him building Grab from nothing. I also look up to one of our managing directors, Brian Cu. I saw them go from one taxi operator to another, convincing them to try the app and then getting turned down a lot, but they never stopped. Now we have almost all the taxis in all the cities we operate.

    They’re still very humble. We can visit them in their house for a meeting, we can send them random emails, we can joke around… That’s what I really like. They’re very humble, and they’re very determined on what they want to do.

    Can you describe a typical work day at Grab?

    Usually, my team comes in between 9 to 11 a.m. [depending on the] traffic. I use Grab all the time; I’m even a peer. Most of the time, I don’t mind what time they come in or leave as long as they get the job done. Everyone has their own lunch. If I feel it’s very stressful, we joke around, play Cards against Humanity, play charades; we even involve other teams.

    Other people leave at 6 p.m.; others stay until 8 or 9 p.m. to avoid traffic. You can leave earlier if there’s an emergency or if you feel like you can work better from home.

    What does the future hold for Grab in the Philippines?

    We have a lot of projects this year. We have campaigns; our most recent being GrabPay. You can now use your credit card or debit card to pay. If you’re new, you get P50 off your rst four rides. We also have a lot of projects that are focused on our drivers: improving their lives and up-skilling them. We also launched World Bank project this year.





    Khriz Lim

    Marketing Head of Grab Philippines

    Khriz Lim is the Marketing Head of Grab Philippines. She manages the country’s marketing team which drives marketing and publicity campaigns, and establishes strategic partnerships for all of Grab’s business verticals.

    Favourite Quote: “Disrupt or be disrupted.” I want to always disrupt the industry we’re in. Always make people realize that you don’t have to settle and do not ever settle because there’s always something new you can explore.

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