Organisations should step up their use of mobile communications to get their bills, statements and other vital communications to their customers, particularly given the unreliability of postal services in South Africa.
“Even before the postal strike began, sending a statement through the post did not necessarily mean it would reach the intended recipient. What’s more, the costs of paper, printing and postage are constantly climbing. For these reasons, many organisations have been looking for electronic alternatives to the postal service – and this strike will hasten their migration to electronic channels,” says Jacques Swanepoel, MD at Cellfind.
Most companies have used email and the Web to reach high-LSM customers with bills and other communications for several years. The benefits include speeding up the payment cycle by getting the bill to the customer faster, taking paper costs out of the monthly statement run, and reducing the carbon footprint.
However, most organisations still have many customers who do not have an email address or Web access. With low penetration of internet-connected PCs in South Africa, the reach of email or online statements is limited. This is where mobile statements can fill the gap.
“At nearly 100% penetration of mobile phones in South Africa, mobile statements can reach everyone. Companies can use standard technologies such as USSD or SMS that are available on all cellphones, so customers don’t even need to have a smartphone to view their statements.
“Mobile statements reach customers from a township dweller or a person living in a rural area, through to suburban South Africans. They are ideal for reaching people who have no fixed address, since most people will carry their cellphones with them wherever they go. Customers often forget to update their address details when they move. But most of them will keep their cellphone numbers constant.”
Tracking delivery of information
Even among customers with internet access, mobile statements offer some aantages. Companies can easily track whether their statements have been delivered to a consumer’s handset or not. Customers cannot claim they did not get the bill, it got lost in the post or it did not get through to their email address. What’s more, a spam filter will not chew it up.
Bills can be dispatched on the same day they are compiled without the need for printing and postage delays – a big benefit to customers and companies alike since the statement the client receives, will be completely up to date, he adds.
Customers are able to access current and historical statement data from their mobile phones at any time. This adds a level of ease and convenience to the relationship that improves customer satisfaction.
“The postal strike has had a devastating impact on many South African organisations – from retailers to municipalities and Telcos. Yet organisations do have affordable alternatives for getting important information into their customers’ hands on time,” concludes Swanepoel.
For more information, go to a href=”http:www.cellfind.co.za” target=”_blank”www.cellfind.co.za.a
Source : Biz-Community