A convenience truth; how automation makes mobile top-up a more profitable experience

Pre-paid phones are very convenient. They bestow upon the customer a sense of control over their finances. Unfortunately, phone credit doesn’t last forever. For many people, being aware that they can always run out of credit leads to better awareness of their spending habits. On the flip side, topping up mobile phone credit isn’t exactly what you call fun. In fact, every time your customers run out of credit, you’re asking them to choose you all over again.

Topping up credit is boring

Common ways of topping up credit are rather tedious. Traditionally, one would have to leave the house and visit a supermarket or a local shop. For the lucky few, it’s a matter of crossing the street. For most people, it requires a lot more time.

Contrary to postpaid users, prepaid users constantly need to choose whether or not they want to continue. In a sense, the main benefit to the user, is also a potential cause of churn. Eventually, some might grow tired of topping up their phones and go a long time without credit. This begs the question. Isn’t there a better way? After all, whenever customers decide to reload their phone credit, they’re actually choosing you and renewing their commitment to your brand.

At Alphacomm Solutions, we’re always on the lookout for new and innovative top-up methods that take into account what users really want. This is where modern top-up channels and automation come into play. After all, the goal is to make topping up an easier and quicker experience for all prepaid users.

Topping up mobile credit should be as simple as possible

When it comes to topping up, innovation can be implemented in numerous ways. The very best solutions make topping up a simple activity. After all, what really matters is that reloading phone credit is easy for the customer. From a business perspective, implementing methods that are a natural fit for customers will also help maximize conversions.

1. Top-up via WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger or other chatbots.

Customers can now top-up their mobile phone credit via chatbot. Alphacomm chatbots can be integrated within WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger as well as other platforms. WhatsApp and Facebook messenger are the two most popular messaging apps in the world. Billions of users are spending time on these apps in order to stay in touch with friends, loved ones and colleagues. Similarly, topping up credit via messaging platforms is as simple as starting a chat with an old friend. Via an automated question and answer system, users are able to recharge phone credit in a way that comes naturally and suits their preferences.

2. Pay Later

If you know who your loyal customers are, why not reward them by offering them the choice of postponing payment? This is useful in various cases. For example, what if you run out of credit, but need to wait another week for your salary? With Pay Later, you get the credit when you need it and pay for it when you’re able. This also works particularly well in the case of families. With Pay Later, kids can recharge their phone credit, while parents pay the bill. But wait….. Thankfully, we made sure that parents always need to validate these purchases before they are processed. This way parents can avoid unexpected bills.

3. Automatic top-up

By activating automatic top-up, phone credit can be recharged automatically. For example, whenever the available credit drops below a certain threshold, or similarly, at a recurring weekly or monthly date. On the surface, this sounds quite similar to postpaid. However, since no contract is involved, if a payment fails, the worst that happens is that the user will have to try again manually.

4. Paylinks

Another form of automation within the top-up industry is the automated paylink. This method takes advantage of the fact that in general, users always buy the same amount of credit for the same phone number and pay via the same payment method. In practice, users receive a paylink that has already been prepared with data from their frequent purchases. This means they no longer need to navigate a website to find the right product or fill in their personal information at checkout.

5. Top-up via dash button & voice assistants

What if all your customer had to do, was just press a button on the fridge? Dash buttons were first introduced by Amazon as a means to make shopping for repeat purchases like toothpaste and laundry detergent more convenient. A dash button is a small physical device can be stuck on any surface in the home. Simply tapping the button is enough to order a new batch of the product in question.

Better yet, a dash button can also be digital. Imagine an icon on the home screen of a phone or tablet that automatically redirects to a shopping cart.

Another promising channel is that of the voice assistants. Need credit? Just ask! In fact, you wouldn’t even have to say please. Voice assistants are quickly finding their way into homes all across America and Europe.

Convenience is key

The decision to top up is a critical moment in the customer life cycle. A moment that can be simplified or made redundant by the introduction of automation. In fact, automated top-up customers have a 20% longer customer lifetime and 10-20% higher average revenue per user (ARPU).

Just as is the case with their postpaid counterparts, prepaid users also expect and demand convenience. The benefits of automation aren’t limited to the users.

Users who opt for automated channels generally spend more and remain clients for a longer time. In fact, opting for services such as automatic top-up makes the leap to postpaid a lot less intimidating.

Sure, reloading phone credit might never become fun. Nonetheless, the liberating power of having choice and being in control can make the top-up process as painless as possible and perhaps one day, a pleasant experience.

 

Interested in driving changes in prepaid phone plans to your company? Contact sales to arrange a free consultation.

If you have any question about our reload services please let me know. I’ll be happy to answer!

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.

More about Alper »


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The rise of mobile commerce; the case for mobile dunning solutions

“Speak to me in a language I can hear. Humour me before I am to go.” The opening lines to the Smashing Pumpkins’ 1995 hit Thirty-Three is more than an artistic expression of adolescent angst. It’s also a basic principle of customer service.

At Alphacomm we aim to keep our finger on the pulse of society and develop solutions that meet both the expectations of consumers as well as the ever changing challenges of doing business. One such challenge is the rise of mobile commerce.

A recent report by Smart Money People further underlines this fact: in Britain, apps are now the preferred way of banking.

In the UK, apps are the preferred way of banking

In 2018, fewer people prefer to call or physically visit a local branch of their bank. Whereas in 2017, 45.2% of Brits preferred online banking, in 2018, a survey by Smart Money People showed that when it comes to banking, across the board, the only rising statistic is the consumer preference for banking apps. The report also goes on to conclude that 77.6% of British banking customers are now partial to online channels. This trend isn’t limited to Gen-Z and Millennials. Gen-Xers have also traded online banking for apps.

Why this matters?

The rapid shift from online banking to in-app banking isn’t an isolated case. Hindsight may be 20/20, but at present time, the writing is actually on the wall. Consumers prefer convenience and when it comes to mobile commerce, screen-size isn’t a deal breaker.

The same can be said for shopping. With predicted annual growth of 19% for the next five years, mobile commerce in the UK will be valued at an estimated £243.7 billion by 2022 as users warm to the idea of purchasing services and retail items with their mobile phone.

We’re doing more business with our phones and this trend is likely to continue. In 2018, Facebook rolled out WhatsApp payments in India, enabling users to send and receive money through the popular chat app. Further evidence that consumer expectations will continue to align with mobile commerce. It’s only a matter of time before WhatsApp payments are introduced in Europe and other parts of the world.

Are you speaking the same language as your customers?

While change is inevitable, each generation is moving at its own pace. Clients are anything but homogeneous. This makes the case for personalised contact ever more pressing. Are you speaking the same language as your customers? Are you contacting them via methods that come naturally to them? Or are you actually making it difficult for your clients to pay you on time by not implementing a multichannel approach?

As more people start using apps over websites, they will also purchase services and retail items within these apps. Similarly, traditional dunning methods soon will no longer suffice on their own, but instead should be enhanced by a multichannel approach that takes into consideration user demographics and technological preferences.

Food for thought

How are you coping with this ever expanding theatre of operations? In 2018, Alphacomm Solutions introduced WhatsApp reminders, interactive video and QR codes as means of simplifying dunning challenges by meeting consumers halfway.

After all, if your customers no longer care for paper money, traditional post, traditional banking or phone calls, it’s probably a good idea to speak to them in a language they understand.

 

Alphacomm Solutions whitepaper: how automated payment reminder systems boost your credit management performance

Andrew Collins
New Business Development Manager


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Mobile phone users in Germany can now top-up their phones via WhatsApp

ROTTERDAM, December 2018 – Alphacomm Solutions and Alphacomm Digital Commerce team up to launch brand new WhatsApp top-up service In Germany. The service has been made available through the popular Aufladen.de platform.

Prepaid phone cards have always been popular in Germany. In 2016, approximately 23 million Germans used a prepaid card. However, while prepaid phone cards allow for freedom and financial control, topping up often meant visiting a store or memorising a dedicated phone number. In recent times, this has gotten easier, but it has never been as convenient as with the introduction of top-ups via WhatsApp.

WhatsApp top-ups on Aufladen.de

Payment experts at Alphacomm Solutions recently teamed up with Alphacomm’s Digital Commerce division in the launch of a brand new feature on Aufladen.de; one of the most popular mobile phone top-up websites in Germany. Mobile phone users all across Germany can now top-up their phones via WhatsApp by simply engaging with the Aufladen.de chatbot.

How it works?

The mobile phone customer can enter the chat via a widget on the Aufladen.de website. The conversation is easily initiated by either typing ‘Aufladen’ or ‘Hello’. As the conversation proceeds, the bot presents the user with a list of available prepaid providers, asks the amount (in euros) the user wants to top-up with and eventually provides the user with a link to the payment method of choice. After the payment has been verified, a confirmation follows and the credit is quickly added to the account.

All transactions on the Aufladen.de platform are secure thanks to the integration of Alphacomm Solutions’ payment systems and anti-fraud measures.

At present time, the service only covers direct top-ups, with support for third-party prepaid credit providers slated for 2019. Participating providers are Base, Callmobile, Congstar, E-Plus, Fyve, MTV Mobile, Netzclub, O2, Ortel Mobile, Otelo, RTLMobile, Simguthaben, Telekom, Vodafone and Vybemobile.

Alphacomm

Alphacomm is a trusted global partner in all reminder dunning and payment challenges. Alphacomm was founded in 1997 by CEO Huub Sparnaay on the promise of securing revenue for companies around the world. Currently, Alphacomm is striving to become the world number one in securing payments by the year 2025. Alphacomm is based in Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

Happy new year to the FinTech industry from Alphacomm Solutions

Here’s to 2019! A message from Alphacomm Solutions

2018 has been a great year for FinTech. Never before has the industry been so rife with opportunities. Consumers are going digital at a mind-bending pace. With so many advancements being made in AI and an increasing abundance of APIs, we can’t pretend we’re not totally excited for what’s to come. Besides, why would we?

Another year, another win for the consumer

In recent times, making payments has increasingly become easier for the consumer. But make no mistake about it, the quick and seamless omnichannel experiences of today are the result of unrelenting hard work and unwavering commitment by visionaries and developers in the FinTech industry.

Automated personalised payment reminders via chatbots and mobile phone credit top-ups via WhatsApp are just the tip of the iceberg. Completing online payments via mobile phone is fast becoming the new normal and mobiles are steadily becoming the preferred online banking platform as well.

In 2019, the payment experience will continue to evolve as banks make contact-less technology more seamless and user identification in third-party apps becomes more secure. In the coming year, we will also see a further integration of payment methods within existing apps as well as IOT devices, spurred on by the increasing availability and complexity of APIs.

Mo’ FinTech, Mo’ Problems?

No matter how advanced the tech becomes, there’s always a dark side. There’s a correlation between easier experiences for consumers and the complexity of tech. Also, the more complex technology becomes, the smarter fraudsters become. Will there be more challenges in 2019? Sure, definitely! But how about more solutions?

Better solutions equal fewer problems. We’re called Alphacomm Solutions for a reason and we’ll be there in 2019, tackling all issues as they arise, supporting our partners in every way and securing payments for our clients. Why? Because we simply hate missed revenue!

A rising tide lifts all boats

To you, our friends, partners, colleagues and fans, we raise our glass. As the saying goes, a rising tide lifts all boats. With that in mind, in 2019, let us rise together. We’d like to wish you a happy, productive and highly innovative new year.

Champagne wishes and FinTech dreams from the entire team at Alphacomm Solutions!

 

Alphacomm Solutions whitepaper: how automated payment reminder systems boost your credit management performance

Chris Baars is CCO of Alphacomm

Chris Baars
Chief Commercial Officer


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Canadians trade traditional payment channels for speed and convenience

Payment Canada’s 2018 Methods and Trends Report came out this week. The report, written by Payments Canada in collaboration with PSPs, payments consultants and researchers, aims to shed light on the Canadian payments landscape in 2017.

Unsurprisingly, the overall conclusion of the report is that Canadians are increasingly opting for digital methods of payment as well as the adoption of new payment channels such as mobile. The key factors here are speed and convenience.

Key takeaways from the Payments Canada report:

  • On the whole, 2017 was a great year for electronic payments. Canadians made 22 billion payment transactions, many of these were electronic.
  • In fact, 2017 saw a 48 per cent volume increase in online transfers.
  • Contactless payments are also on an upwards trajectory and have increased 55% in both volume and value since 2016.
  • Debit card use increased in 2017, primarily due to prevalent use of card (contactless) and mobile tap.

In Canada, credit cards are king. A key driver of credit card use is their integration into convenient and fast emerging payment channels such as mobile phones, game consoles and smart speakers.

  • 90 percent of Canadians own credit cards and their use have increased by 33 per cent since 2012.
  • Credit cards account for 64 per cent of the volume of payments made in person, online or at POS.

The data shows that consumers are putting more stock in the payment experience. The quicker the better. They are also eager to make use of innovative payment channels as long as these are convenient in use.

To read the complete Canadian Payment Methods and Trends (CPMT) report, visit the Payments Canada website.

 

Alphacomm Solutions whitepaper: how automated payment reminder systems boost your credit management performance

Andrew Collins
New Business Development Manager


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