Each and every mobile credit provider struggles with customer churn. So how do we keep prepaid customers coming back? The answer lies in giving more power to the people.
Topping up is a tricky moment in the prepaid customer life-cycle. Unlike with postpaid, prepaid users are constantly faced with the question of whether or not they want to pay. When prepaid customers run out of credit, they may choose another provider, switch over to Wi-Fi for an extended period of time.
Automatic top-up = Power to the people
Many people with mobile phones choose prepaid because of the savings and the control it affords them. Many financially conscious consumers are wary of contracts and may not want to enter into a two-year binding agreement with a mobile phone provider.
It is true that some prepaid users, e.g. the elderly or very young, are provided with a phone by someone else. This person carries the responsibility of making sure their loved one can make calls or access the internet.
However, the stereotypical prepaid user or sponsor is aware of her spending habits. She checks her balance on the regular and tends to buy just enough credit to last a couple of days or weeks.
So how do you give a loyal yet financially conscious prepaid user more power? You do so by rewarding her with the choice of opting in for recurring payments, without binding contracts. Automatic top-up is a win for the user as well as the provider. The user is able to top-up automatically without binding commitments while the provider stabilises the prepaid revenue stream.
How automatic top-up works
So how does it work? Automatic top-up is simple. Whenever a user’s credit dwindles below a certain threshold, the credit is automatically purchased. Automatic top-up can also be set up as a recurring payment that occurs on a weekly or monthly date. If there’s no money in the bank account at the time of top-up, there’s no harm done. The user will just have to do it manually, that time.
Since automatic top-up is nonbinding, customers won’t have to stress about whether or not they can afford it and the legal/financial consequences thereof. Moreover, unlike with a postpaid contract, prepaid users with automatic top-up never have to worry about out-of-plan charges.
Get to know your customers
The direct monetary benefit is obvious. If prepaid customers opt-in for automatic top-up, that translates into a more stable stream of revenue and a higher ARPU overall. But what about other benefits?
One of the main differences between prepaid and postpaid customers is there’s a wealth of information on the latter and little on the former. Prepaid phone users are generally anonymous. The person who originally bought the sim card might not be the person using it.
Not knowing how your customers think will lead to ill-informed business decisions. If you don’t know who your customers are, how are you ever going to reward them or make them personalised offers?
Making prepaid customers more postpaid-like is a surefire way of bringing anonymous users in from the shadows. Registering for automatic top-up gives your customers the opportunity to provide you with valuable marketing insights like demographic data and behavioural context.
Nowadays customers value convenience above anything else. Improve customer loyalty by treating them like royalty. Give them the tools necessary to lead easier lives and in return, they will become better customers.
About the author
Alper Altan – Reload Services
Business Development Manager
I’m Alper Altan, Business Development Manager at Alphacomm Solutions. I make sure that Alphacomm maximizes profit on existing customers as well as new business.