In last-mile distribution, getting products into consumers’ hands is only the beginning. Client loyalty is the key to sustainable, long-term sales growth. Clients who receive timely and appropriate reminders and rewards are more likely to make payments on time, purchase from a given last-mile distributor in the future, and refer their peers. Read on below to hear four best practices for building a smart client loyalty program that transforms new clients into long-term advocates.
1. Have a testing mindset
Developing the right incentive for your clients is an ongoing process, requiring you to test and iterate to achieve optimum results. Angaza’s newly released Promotions feature makes it simple to test the effectiveness of different incentive programs, allowing you to experiment with timing, targeting different clients, and variations in your message. When creating a Promotion, distributors can define the accounts they want a promotion to be applied to, and set the time frame for how long the promotion will be active. When a client with an eligible account fulfills the terms of the promotion during the designated time frame, the promotion will automatically be applied to their account and the client will receive a confirmation of the promotion via SMS.
Use the Angaza Hub to determine the right offers for the right audience. You can use Angaza data insights like repayment risk to identify clients who could most benefit from a nudge.
To generate buzz and notify your clients of your promotion, use Angaza’s Bulk SMS feature. To capitalize on urgency, send follow-up messages when a promotion is about to expire. Angaza enables distributors to experiment with messaging, timing, and audience segments to determine what works best. Text messaging is one of the most personal means of communication, so both the offer and the message should feel personal. To make the message feel more relevant, distributors can personalize the SMS template with client name, account details, and other information. Creating relevant offers and messages is easier with Angaza too. Client information can be used to identify those who are most likely to be willing and able to take advantage of a promotion.
Promotions are a new feature and Angaza will continue to make improvements. Currently, two types of promotion terms are available. Our initial promotion term Installment Bonus goes beyond rewarding clients, it encourages safer payment practices by letting distributors give clients additional days of free credit when a larger payment is made. The recently added Installment Discount promotion reduces the full price of the device when an installment payment over a given size is made. Together, they allow last-mile distributors to experiment and discover which rewards feel most valuable to which clients.
One Angaza distribution partner, Mwezi, has already successfully used promotions to encourage clients to prioritize making payments during the COVID-19 pandemic. Mwezi observed that many of their clients rely on informal businesses for their livelihoods and have had to make difficult decisions about what to prioritize given their more limited resources. Mwezi was able to identify accounts that had likely fallen behind on payments due to containment measures. By increasing how far their payments go, Mwezi made it easier for these stressed clients to prioritize access to clean energy and saw a marked increase in repayment from those accounts.
2. Make communications timely and convenient
Open lines of communication with clients are essential to ensure customer satisfaction and consistent payment habits. There are many reasons a client may miss a payment. Clients are juggling many obligations and concerns, including uncertain cash flow. In many cases, clients may fail to pay on time simply because they are unaware that the payment due date is approaching. Using SMS communications to prompt clients before a payment is due can prevent the frustration of having their devices shut off suddenly. Removing the potential for a client to become frustrated leads to smoother relationships between clients and last-mile distributors, and more consistent repayment. Angaza pricing groups have configurable SMS reminders that let clients know before their payment is due.
A missed payment can also be a signal of inadequate post-sales care. Emerging market consumers are often unsure about the value of new products, and many find it easier to abandon them should they run into any problems. Automated SMS messages sent after initial purchase are a powerful way to check in with new customers and let them know that you are still interested in their success. By communicating with clients at key moments, you can increase product usage, repayment rates, and client satisfaction.
3. Surprise and delight with bonuses
Angaza makes it easy to show appreciation to customers by sending Bonuses. Bonus credits let pay-as-you-go clients turn on certain keycode enabled products for hours or days without impacting account or payment status. In early 2020 it became increasingly clear that a large number of customers were facing new challenges to making payments, but that maintaining access to clean energy products was still essential. In response, Angaza made it possible to send bonuses to multiple clients at once via the Hub or the Angaza Connects API. Once a bonus is applied, customers can be informed via an automated SMS message. Bonuses can alter the dynamic of text messaging customers from being a series of payment reminders to a channel for providing unexpected value.
4. Turn clients into your sales network
Another powerful client loyalty strategy is to offer referral bonuses. Distributors know that consumers in emerging markets frequently pay attention to neighbor or relative recommendation when deciding if they should buy something. In fact, one study indicates that 92 percent of buyers of solar home systems and 60 percent of improved cook stove consumers cite peer referral as the most important factor in their purchase decision. Angaza’s referral program will automatically generate bonus credits when a current customer refers someone else. Distributors can set up referral programs on a pricing group level, and customize what bonuses referrers receive.
At Angaza, we believe that satisfied clients are a last-mile distributor’s most important asset. We would love to hear how distributors want to incentivize their clients. Contact us to discuss how we can expand Promotions to fit the needs of your business and clients, making it easier to nurture loyalty throughout your clients lifecycle.