Why Kenya’s Largest Enterprises Need to Listen to their Customers

Nov 05, 2019

In the past six years, mSurvey, a Nairobi-based customer feedback startup, has on-boarded some of the largest companies in Africa.

There’s a reason why Kenya’s largest enterprises are using mSurvey: Kenyan companies can no longer prosper without listening to the voices of their customers.

Over the last few decades, Kenya has experienced significant economic growth,. In recent years, this growth has decelerated, along with the purchasing power of Kenyans, causing consumers to think more considerably about the value they are getting for their shilling.

Concurrently, the age of information has permeated Kenya, creating market transparency and a keen sense of awareness among Kenyan consumers about the variety of products and services available to them.

With this ecosystem in place, listening to the voices of customers is imperative for the many companies competing in this decelerating market to stay afloat. If customers are not served adequately, they will find alternatives pushing  major incumbents to make a paradigm shift in the way they operate. A national bank can no longer assume its customers will stay loyal as there is little stopping consumers from jumping ship. The wide range of industries and sizes represented by mSurvey clients demonstrates that all companies must pay attention to their customers: no matter your influence or magnitude, listening to customers’ feedback is not optional.

Feedback is key, I get it. But how do I get feedback in traditionally offline markets?

The challenge with getting consumer feedback in emerging markets is access: how do you access the individual who has intermittent internet access? The answer–SMS. Mobile phone uptake in Kenya has reached almost 95%, and while internet connectivity is not constant, 80% of phone usage in Kenya is SMS.

mSurvey leverages this growing reach of SMS by plugging into transaction points and giving companies real-time feedback from their consumers through mobile devices. For example, immediately after a consumer makes a purchase, withdraws money from an ATM, or registers for an insurance plan, an SMS survey is triggered to their mobile device, asking  the customer about their experience. This instant feedback enables companies to quickly identify trending topics (i.e. “Mary was an awesome server!”, “The ATM machine refused my transaction.”) and improve the customer experience, before the consumer has a chance to churn.

Let’s take a look at how our customers have used our platform to enhance customer loyalty and stay ahead of the competition:

How Safaricom successfully expanded into the home internet space

Safaricom remains the highest valued company in Kenya by paying close attention to its customers’ preferences. In 2014, Safaricom released Fibre, a home WiFi service. Safaricom constantly engages with their Fibre consumers, sending mobile surveys (mSurveys) at the time of installation and at periodic follow-ups, allowing them to get actionable feedback to scale the product. As a result,  “Safaricom has gained the most in market share, recording growth in subscribers from just 8,000 in 2014 to 48,000 as at December 2017. This represents a growth of more than 500% and has seen its market share more than double from 6.9% to 16.7% over the same period.” Their recent success in the WiFi space has lead to noticeable decreases in their competitor’s market share, in part due to Zuku’s notoriously poor customer service and inattentiveness.

How Airtel converted a significant portion of dormant users

The second largest mobile network operator in Kenya used mSurvey to grow their reach, particularly in the case of mobile money. Prior to coming to us, Airtel had 5 million registered Airtel mobile money users. Of these, a large portion were dormant. mSurvey engaged their dormant subscribers to understand what was causing their resistance to the platform which  Airtel boiled down into 3 main issues:

  1. Clients did not have record of their PIN numbers
  2. Clients could not locate agents to withdraw/deposit money
  3. The USSD menus did not work

In response, Airtel took 3 swift actions:

  1. Implemented a DIY PIN setup and re-sent a segmented communication on how to reset PIN
  2. Mapped out the location of agents
  3. Fixed the USSD menu

The results were astounding: A large percent of those who were initially dormant were converted to active users, resulting in significant opex savings and revenue increases.

How KCB, CBA, and I&M are raising the standards of banking services

Banking clients constitute almost half of mSurvey’s client base, and are a prime example of how increased competition requires increase dedication to customers.

In one instance, a large bank’s Cash Deposit Machine (CDM) was not taking deposits from customers, leading to dissatisfied and detracting customers. The bank was losing out on a number of transactions, and in turn experiencing high churn from this minor issue.

Enter mSurvey–plugging in at the point of deposit, an SMS is triggered to the customer’s phone asking about the quality of service. From the feedback collected using mSurvey, the bank was notified deposits were not being accepted and in turn  changed the management system of the CDM. This response led to increased usage, customer satisfaction, and trust, demonstrated by an increase in NPS.

A representative from a major bank reported, “We needed to get information from our customers as fast as we could receive it because then we are able to act on the feedback we are getting and mSurvey has done that for us. Previously we were not getting feedback as often or as fast as we would have wanted and [mSurvey is] really working for us in that way.”

How insurance companies are elevating their customer loyalty scores

Insurance companies typically come in close to last in terms of customer loyalty scores. Major African insurance companies–Liberty, Sanlam, Britam–are now using mSurvey to change this. Similar to the banks, insurance companies are able to trace back detractor NPS scores to specific issues, and in turn see increases in customer retention and company revenue. Easily fixable issues such as delayed issuance of policy statements, delayed claim payments, and off-site sticker printing creating a 5-day lag time, are all examples of issues raised and addressed through the mSurvey platform. Simply giving a consumer the platform to be heard, and actioning on that feedback, resulted in major payoffs for these companies.

Don’t fall behind in the information age

The emphasis on customer feedback from Kenya’s largest companies–Safaricom, KCB, and Sanlam–signifies the urgency of knowing your customer. Initially, accesing consumers in emerging markets proved challenging. But now, with almost ubiquitous mobile uptake in Kenya, companies have an immediate and scalable method to reach all of their consumers through mSurvey.

Interested in seeing how mSurvey can work for your business? Request a live demo!

Mobile and Kenya are just the beginning for us, stay tuned to hear about what we’re working on, how we’re doing it, and where we’re headed next.