Barriers to Customer Activation: A case study from MTN Uganda


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  • What we have seen with mobile money is that the customer journey is complicated. The customer begins of course completely unaware – they have never heard about your specific mobile money product and in most cases have never heard of the mobile money concept. I think most of us will be able to remember when we first heard about mobile money and just how complex a concept it was to grasp. We have heard some stories from the field that explaining mobile money to someone can take up to 30 minutes. As we go through the customer journey, we see there are really three critical steps before the consumer becomes comfortable with mobile money.The first is awareness, where the customer hears the name of your program, but more importantly comes to understand what is mobile money and what does it do.Following this, the consumer needs to actually understand why mobile money is relevant for them. In what way can mobile money be useful to them.And finally the consumer needs to understand how mobile money actually works. And specifically what are the steps necessary to transact. Once the consumer know what is mobile money, what does it do, why is it useful and how does it work, they are ready to try the product. And through a few positive trials, they will become convinced the value of the service and become a regular user of the service.
  • Mobile money is associated with sending and receiving money very fast through the use of a phone – its clear most people are aware of the main function of what mobile money is all about (including non users). However, it came out strongly from the progressives that it is more like a banking service than what MTN has advertised.
  • Trendies: The key reason that trendies are not using mobile money is because of the long registration process and fact that one needs an ID to register which some do not haveTraders: For traders the key reason coming out is the fact that they see the system is not reliable, when one needs to receive money and system is down they are not able to get their money – they do not trust the system yetSurvivors: They still have trust issues of how the system works and therefore yet to be convinced on how to trust their money to be sent via mobile phones Progressive: They find the registration process to long and some see the mobile money performing banking services yet they prefer using the banks as they are more reliable and trustworthy. Mention of the location of agents being in insecure places was strongly perceived as a system that one cannot trust or feel safe
  • The research showed that these inactives had stopped using the service due to one really terrible experience or from mounting frustrations
  • Barriers to Customer Activation: A case study from MTN Uganda

    1. 1. Barriers to Customer Activation:<br />A case study from MTN Uganda<br />M. Yasmina McCarty, MMU Manager<br />June 2011, Singapore<br />
    2. 2. Agenda<br />Project background<br />Customer journey framework<br />Research results<br />Non users – barriers to activation<br />Active users – areas of satisfaction / dissatisfaction<br />Inactive users – what caused inactivity<br />Conclusions<br />
    3. 3. Project background: MTN Uganda<br />MTN Uganda launched their product “Mobile Money” in 2009<br />Format: E-wallet service on STK<br />Services offered: Money transfer, airtime topup, bill pay (water, cable TV), school fees<br />Registration process: Registration is a 2 step process 1) ID + application form submitted to agent or field agent 2) application vetted by back office and then account activated <br />Today MTN Uganda boasts one of the largest mobile money subscriber base with 1.5 million registered users<br />MTN wanted to drive customer activation, both continuing to sign up new customers as well as encourage existing customers to be more active on the platform<br />MMU worked with MTN to identify optimal marketing strategies for customer activation by better understanding customer segments<br />
    4. 4. Project background: Research objectives<br />MTN Uganda & MMU commissioned Synovate to conduct qualitative research to:<br />Identify high potential segments of nonusers to be activated <br />Determine non users barriers to trial<br />Identify knowledge gaps which discourage trial & areas of distrust which may limit use<br />Identify the areas of dissatisfaction and satisfaction for users<br />Platform - reliability, ease of use, and price<br />Usage experience - agent, user interface, and customer care<br />Identify what limits inactive / lapsed users from being active on the platform<br />Identify formal/informal competitors that consumers prefer over MTN Mobile Money and understand the value proposition<br />Research was followed by action planning to implement findings<br />
    5. 5. Project background: Consumer segments<br /><ul><li>Prior to conducting the research, market segments were selected based on existing customer behaviours as well as hypothesis on customer behaviours
    6. 6. All segmentation was aligned with core marketing strategies so results would be directly applicable</li></li></ul><li>Customer journey framework<br /><ul><li>MMU & MTN Uganda had strong hypothesis about the customer journey and where customers might be getting bogged down</li></ul>Unaware<br />Awareness<br />Understanding<br />Knowledge<br />Trial<br />Regular Use<br />Customer has heard of mobile money and knows what it does <br />Customer understands how mobile money could be useful to them<br />Customer knows the steps necessary to transact <br />Customer has never heard of mobile money<br />Customer tries the service<br />Customer habitually uses the mobile money service<br />
    7. 7. Non users - Awareness & understanding of Mobile Money<br />Awareness was very high & had been created through different sources<br />Advertisements through media – TV, radio, billboards, newspapers<br />From friends and relatives who are already registered <br />Through promotional activities<br />Field agents who were educating people<br />Receiving messages from MTN<br />MTN Mobile Money trucks<br />Users and nonusers alike had a clear understanding of what the service was for:<br />It’s a fast and easy way of sending and receiving money<br />It’s a cheaper way to transact compared to the banks<br />You can save and buy airtime with it<br />You can make payments with it, e.g. paying water bills<br />
    8. 8. Non users – Top of mind perceptions<br />
    9. 9. Non users – Knowledge as a barrier to using mobile money<br />Non users were aware of Mobile Money and understood the main use of the service<br />However non users did not know how Mobile Money works<br />There was confusion about how the concept actually works i.e. what is digital money, what does the agent do, what does the operator do, what does the consumer need to do on their mobile, what happens if the transaction goes wrong, etc.<br />“Here in the deep village not many people know much about so they should sensitize us more on how it works.” Traders, non user<br />“I do not trust it because <br />I do not know how the money will reach the other person.” Survivors, non user<br />
    10. 10. Non users - Barriers to using mobile money<br />
    11. 11. Active users – Customer journey<br />High awareness: Users were aware the product was for exchange of money using the phone, like a bank for transactions – even savings<br />Clear understanding: The main usage mentioned was to send and receive money, other usages mentioned include savings (e-wallet perceived as a short term secure storage for money), buying airtime, purchasing commodities, paying water bills, Unforeseen emergencies / problems that require money immediately<br />Good knowledge: Learnt to use the service from agents who helped them register, friends/relatives who already knew how to use it, MTN service centres and through the STK menu, which some found to be user friendly<br />Activation: Although consumers had first learned about Mobile Money from a variety of advertising mediums, they only become convinced to take action and register when prompted by a person – the driver of activation was either DST or a friend compelling them to sign up<br />
    12. 12. Active Users – Experience with Mobile Money <br />
    13. 13. Inactive users<br />MNOs have diverse segments within inactives i.e. those who don’t understand the service, don’t need the service, grew frustrated and stopped using the service, etc. <br />MTN conducted research with inactives who knew how to use the service but had stopped transacting for some reason<br />The areas of complaints for inactives mirrored complaints from actives:<br /><ul><li>Network down time when one wants to withdraw money - this has frustrated them the most, especially when they urgently needed the money
    14. 14. Disappointments from agents when one wants to withdraw money and they do not have
    15. 15. Some found it to be expensive to transact – high fees for transactions</li></ul>“The system was always down when I wanted to withdraw money so I decided to stop as I got disappointed.” Inactive / lapsed, Kampala<br /><ul><li>Transaction limit of 1 million shillings is perceived not to be enough
    16. 16. Poor customer care services in the rural area from the agents and service centres</li></li></ul><li>Alternatives to Mobile Money – Non users<br />
    17. 17. Alternatives to Mobile Money – Actives & Inactives<br />
    18. 18. Non users – Requested improvements to MTN Uganda<br />Education: Sensitize / educate people more on how mobile money works especially in the rural areas<br />Registration<br />Make registration process easier with less formal requirements of filling long forms with a lot of information – should be straight forward<br />Activation process should be improved to avoid one from waiting for a long time before using the services<br />Agents<br />Ensure agents are well trained so as to be able to assist the customers all the time–good customer<br />Ensure agents always have enough money at all times to avoid inconveniences<br />Agents should be in secure locations where one can feel safe when transacting or withdrawing money<br />Increase the number of agent outlets especially in the rural areas<br />Network: Improve on the network system to ensure one can always get their money<br />Product features: Increase maximum transaction amount of sending and receiving money<br />
    19. 19. Active Users – Requested improvements<br />Education - Sensitisation of the rural people on how to go about the process <br />Registration & Customer care<br />Train agents to know everything about the activation / registration process so that when they are questioned they can be able to give valid reasons to customers.<br />Should have reliable systems that will speed up the activation process – have back up systems if necessary when system is down<br />Agents should be equipped with all necessary equipments at registration points to ensure fast registration process e.g. having photocopiers machines<br />Should have more mobile centres and agents outlets for convenience so as to reduce on the number of long queues on only few outlets<br />Product features<br />Network: Improve on the network system to ensure that its always up and running when one wants to perform a transaction<br />Price: Reduce on charges for both sending and receiving money<br />Trnx limits: Increase on the amount of money someone can save, send and receive<br />
    20. 20. Conclusions – Barriers to activation<br />For non users, there was high awareness, good understanding but a clear gap in knowledge levels on how Mobile Money works which kept them from registering for Mobile Money<br />Additionally, there were specific barriers to activation which varied by segment<br />For users and inactives, there was common complaints that required urgent attention<br />Network down time<br />Agent illiquidity<br />Customer care <br />These issues created negative word-of-mouth for non users and if left unaddressed, could lead active users to becoming inactive<br />
    21. 21. Conclusions – MTN next steps<br />Knowledge <br />Develop an ATL education campaign on the “how-to”<br />Improve training & monitoring of DSTs for clearer customer communication according to segment needs <br />Agent <br />Improve agent shop fascia & merchandising to portray a more secure environment<br />Train agents on customer care processes, possibly introduce exclusive agent help line<br />Improve agent liquidity, especially in rural areas<br />Open more agent points in rural areas<br />Registration / Activation – improve time lag between these two steps, especially for rural consumers<br />
    22. 22. Thank you for your time.<br />Unanswered questions? Email<br />