Moving from cash payments to mobile money payments brings its own specific challenges, in comparison to introducing mobile money payments to new customers. In this article, we are going to cover some of the elements you should keep in mind when envisioning such a transition.
Manage the expectations of your customers
Depending on your current procedures, switching to mobile money could have benefits or drawbacks for your customers. For instance, if they are used to cash payment collected in their homes by your agents, switching to mobile money will probably increase the friction of the payments. On the contrary, if they currently have to travel to a distant office to make their payments, using mobile money might reduce their pain.
Depending on the perception of customers regarding that question (do they feel enthusiastic, upset or threatened by the new system?), incentives to ease the adoption might be necessary. A customer survey in the early steps of the project can really help answer those questions. “Selling” mobile money to your customers can sometimes be an important step in the process.
Help customers understand the new payment process
With mobile money, customers will be in charge of making the payments themselves, without the direct assistance of your agents. They will most probably either make direct payment using their phone, or go to a shop to transfer money to your merchant account. In both cases, they will need to know their payments details to be able to proceed. This can sometimes be an issue: one of the most common problems is that the customers forget their ID to make the payment, or how much they have to pay.
Different procedures and techniques can reduce the probability of those issues. Those could for instance involve giving cards to your customers, which include their payment details (such as customer ID and biller ID). Another option is to send them SMS reminders that mention all the payments details, and that they can double check at the time of payment, or even show directly to the mobile money agent at the shop.
Consider the impact of mobile money on repayments
Moving to dematerialized payments means that the customers will have less direct contact with your staff. This can generate a feeling of ‘impunity’, leading to falling repayment rates over time.
Keeping in regular touch with the customers can help reduce that effect. For instance, regular phone calls to inquire about the quality of the service and in person visits can be used to keep them engaged. They also provide a channel for them to express any issue that might arise, and that could turn into payments problems if they are not addressed.
Manage the change for your agents
Finally, the new processes will have a strong impact on your agents. Depending on their perception of the project, this may generate some concern, which would need to be addressed. As they do not manipulate the cash any more, they also need to stay aware of the payments and engaged with the repayment process.
Providing them with an online web page or a mobile phone app so that they can stay informed about the payment status of their customers can help keep them informed. Engagement often goes through defining performance indicators that keep them aligned with the payment process.
In conclusion, taking into account those risks early in the transition process will maximize your chances of a smooth transition from cash payments to mobile money payments!