Case Study: 25 years with one accountancy firm
If there’s one thing that unites highly successful businesses and entrepreneurs, it’s a deep and detailed understanding of their customers.
And wisely so. At a time when we have unparalleled choice both online and off, marketers are willing to invest heavily to take the guesswork out of what makes individual consumers tick.
In such a climate, it’s little wonder that market research data specialist Infocorp is not only thriving, but has also recently posted the most successful financial results in its 25-year history. Counting some of the most well-known market research firms in the world among its clients, Infocorp is relied on for services that range from data collection and analysis, right through to online data delivery.
A 25-year relationship
There’s a lot we can learn from the Infocorp story, and the journey it has taken since Managing Director Chrissie Agnew remortgaged her flat to finance the company in 1987. At the time, she had been working for some of the big players in the market research world, but then decided to team up with three others to distribute a specialised Australian software package to UK market research firms.
They called the new company Infocorp and the software was so successful that the firm later bought it from its original owners, subsequently selling it on to IBM. From that point on, Infocorp moved into fieldwork, helping major market research companies gather data via methods such as surveys, face-to-face interviewing, telephone polling and more.
From the earliest days THP was there to help Infocorp steer its growth and direction, as Chrissie explains ‘when we set up Infocorp, we needed an accountant. My dad recommended his – Adrian Hart at THP – and suggested I got in touch. At the time, Chris Johnson had just joined THP and he became our principal contact for the next couple of decades.’
Their working relationship soon developed into a highly productive one. ‘The great thing about Chris is that he knows our business extremely well,’ say Chrissie. ‘Over the last 25 years he has attended our board meetings, given us strategic and impartial advice on our development and been an exceptional sounding board for new ideas. He provides us with a highly personal level of service – and has been invaluable through tough periods as well as good times like the one we’re currently experiencing.’
“In very safe hands with THP”
With an eye to the future, Chris has over the past two years managed a careful handover of Infocorp’s affairs to his eventual successor, Andy Green.
‘I’ve been really pleased with the process,’ Chrissie enthuses. ‘There’s been plenty of time for us to get to know Andy, and we’re all impressed with him. He’s really getting to know our business, and he’s playing an increasingly vital role. The handover period has left us feeling that we’re in very safe hands.’
There’s a pleasing symmetry about providing great customer service to a firm that helps others to serve their own customers better. Andy has also begun working with Infocorp at a time when it is changing fast and carving out a promising position for the next 25 years.
The magic ingredient: understanding the customer
Infocorp undoubtedly owes much of its success to the quality of its products and services, but the magic ingredient has to be its own understanding of its customers. Every aspect of the company’s offering is shaped to meet the needs of clients who never accept second best. Each account is worked on only by highly-experienced staff (they’re the only ones good enough to be hired), and Infocorp guarantees that all research they undertake is painstakingly done and yields robust results.
As Chrissie puts it: ‘Clients buy into our services and software because we make solving their problems simple and straightforward – and we deliver the right results.’ Little wonder that the company has longstanding relationships with major-name clients like Ipsos MORI and Hall & Partners.
As Infocorp looks to the future, Chrissie is keen to provide an even better range of services for existing clients, encouraging them to use the company more – as well as encouraging new customers to take a fresh look at what Infocorp can do for them.
And after all this time, we’re still proud to be there to help and advise along the way.