Over the better part of the last decade, I have been very lucky to be part of the mobile money revolution, FinTech as we see call it now. My first mobile money project was in 2009, in the Philippines where a few rural MFIs were rolling out services based on SMS and entry level feature phones, it’s a long way from then to today, where we at PayNet are building a plug-and-play hub for digital financial services.
In this blog I have tried to explore my learnings on creating a successful service platform with a customer centric approach, by tracing the evolution of a typical mobile wallet customer from the moment they are identified as part of the target market segment.
Please feel free to comment and debate on my thoughts.
1. The Customer Acquisition Phase
This is the phase where all the marketing and sales dollars disappear!! The only true measure of returns on these dollars are the the new customer sign-ups numbers. A successfully implemented customer acquisition strategy works on achieving 2 targets :
Gain in market share
Targets and achievements can be further broken down into target segments and geographies. In my experience working in Nepal and Africa, mass market campaigns are often not suitable for PSP’s (Payment Service Providers) who are just launching services. For start-ups, an ideal strategy should be to identify key market segments for whom they have a strong value proposition, and an acquisition campaign based on local ambassadors and influential people in those segments. This gives the PSP time to get some real-world feedback, rework their services/campaigns, and then go for a large scale nation-wide blitz.
Reduced CAO (Cost of Acquisition)
Very often The CAO you create has a direct impact on your customer profitability metric. It is very important for PSP’s to keep a CAO that is not more than 3 months ARPU. To achieve this the tools available are technology and sales management. Technology can help you make registration easy, fast, and free from traditional paper-pushing. While a well thought out sales strategy can create a highly motivated and proactive sales team searching for customers in the field without impacting budgets.
2. The Service Evaluation Phase
The customer expects your service to work. As advertised, as marketed, and as sold to them. This is the phase where you get to build trust with your customer, and in financial services, trust is the catalyst of success.
At this stage if the customer experiences unmet expectations, they will lose interest in the service, and worse may switch to the competition.
Define Your Objectives
Clearly define your service offering and align marketing with the definition. Know why you are offering what you are offering. Click here to check out this amazing talk by Simon Sinek on the Golden Circle and identifying your organisation's purpose.
Hand-holding your new customer
Create multiple channels to deliver help and support for your customers. In-app guides, usage guides, chat bots, help forums, email and phone support.
3. The Customer Growth Phase
A huge number of companies involved in digital payment services are plagued with “inactive users”. Inactive users are a burden on the service providers, forcing them to maintain service and support infrastructures to accommodate for them. The option here is to either disable them or to cajole them in to being active and profitable. In my experience this is one area where the old adage ‘precaution is better than a cure’ applies rightly. Using innovative marketing and customer engagement methods it is possible to reduce the inactivity numbers and in general encourage usage.
Gamification to the rescue
By creating engaging scenarios using loyalty points customers can be encouraged to use the service more often, and as in a game the thought of losing out on progress made can force a return behaviour amongst the customers.
By creating a personal touch to your service it is possible to build a deeper relationship with your customer, and in doing so prevent them from losing interest. Personalised messages can be in form of push services like birthday messages and special offers, or pull services like special offers for a location, or an interest. A mix of marketing measures and technical capability in your organisation.
4. The Customer Maturity Phase
Also called the Churn Phase, this is where your customer service, and product enhancement strategies get to prove their mettle. Here we are dealing with a customer who is well versed with the concept of digital payments and mobile money, has an established usage pattern and is drawing value from the service overtime they use it. Treated well and catered to these customers can be converted to loyal advocates of the service, think of Apple FanBoys!!
The threats here are “Boredom” and “The BBD (bigger better deal)”. The good news is that with good product management they can be avoided.
Enhancing existing services
Constant enhancements to your services keep the customer constantly engaged and excited. Three easy ways to make sure your product evolution is on track:
Make services Faster, Cheaper, and more Secure. Leverage technology to achieve these goals: NFC, Cards, QR codes, AI and Bots, BI, and many more tools and enhancements.
Match the service variants that the competition is offering.
Add enhancements based on market feedback.
Adding New Services
Constantly adding new services to your bouquet has multiple advantages which include sustained customer engagement, brand image of the market leader, enhanced ARPU, and new marketing opportunities. Adding new services is easier than enhancing existing services, and is defined by one-word COLLABORATION!
Collaborate with Banks. Add services like account transfers, ATM withdrawals, credit/debit card cash-in/cash-out, and many more.
Collaborate with Merchants. Pay bills, shop, co-brand loyalty, run promotions, distribute coupons.
Collaborate with Governments. Wages, taxes, fines, application fees, aid distribution, explore the world of public services.
Always aim at building a highly interoperable and open service ecosystem.
5. The Migration Phase
This phase in the customer life-cycle, along with the previous one, forms a repeat cycle. Every time a customer enters this phase, they either go down the slippery slope of inactivity and churn, or they get converted to loyal advocates of your service. It is common business knowledge that retention always trump acquisition, but that is easier said than done.
Here is how your technology platform may help you retain your customers by:
By identifying negative changes in usage patterns of customers the platform can create alerts for the business teams, who in turn can use tools like personalised messages, social media interventions, and special offers to establish a feeling of importance in the customer.
A well-executed loyalty program is one of the most powerful tools a digital business has in its arsenal to define, identify, and reward positive customer behaviour. By adding elements like 3rd party programs (points exchange, redeemable coupons, etc.), gamification, social media integration the Loyalty Program can be made powerful and effective.
At PayNet, we combine our experience in the FinTech industry with technology solutions with an aim to solve a real world business problem for business owners engaged in digital payments services. To learn more do visit our website at www.paynet.pro ( it’s not .com), or drop me a mail at Tushar@paynet.pro.