Two factors were critical to M-PESA’s success story; effectively managing the agent network and creating a superb product or app that compels usage.
Creating a unique product.
Initially, the product can’t be a one-size-fits-all, it should be one that addresses the actual need of the people. Every mobile money provider is different, for M-PESA, their approach focused on person-to-person transfers with the unique value proposition ‘send money home.’
The right product offering and value proposition for the target market are capable of bringing in a sizable number of loyal users, after which the mobile money provider may decide to include a suite of other offerings to attract a wide range of other users and generate more demand.
Managing the agent network
It is imperative for a provider to carefully select the best agents, train and monitor them. Good agents are trained, especially in the use of the technology involved with mobile money. They are trained regarding fraud prevention and gaining users trust. They can manage liquidity, by generating enough business to maintain their electronic float and cash balances. They educate users about mobile money and are able to market the provider conveniently.
NOWNOW is a mobile money provider that is actively involved in understanding its business from the Agent’s point of view. We provide agents with a manageable path to profitability, analyse their day to day operations, and help them through points of difficulty. We help our agent see the value of being mobile money agents, thus empowering them to represent the brand well enough.
We understand the need to build an expansive agent network as this will increases access points for users. However, with too many agents in a location, it becomes difficult for an individual agent to generate enough business. Our approach for every community is to always maintain balance such that the users are not frustrated from lack of access points and our agents remain profitable.