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Automatic Top-Up - Alphacomm Solutions - Reloads

Automatic top-up: future-proof or passing fad?

An interview with Alper Altan.

We recently sat down and talked shop with Alper Altan. As the business development manager for Alphacomm Solutions’ top-up platform, Altan has a pretty good idea about where the industry is headed.

To many, top-up is as old as time itself. It’s quite likely that your very first mobile phone was prepaid. In a way, little has changed from the days of the old prepaid Nokia 5110. For most people, topping up credit still means buying scratch cards at the supermarket. Still, one wonders what the next chapter in the evolution of prepaid top-up will be.

That’s a question we all want to know the answer to. As for Alper Altan? He’s convinced the answer is automatic top-up.

What is automatic top-up exactly?

“Automatic top-up is exactly what it sounds like. The credit, is topped up automatically, without any human intervention. It’s completely frictionless and saves users a lot of time.”

Why does automatic top-up matter?

“Automatic top-up is an amazing tool, especially in the prepaid phone market. It makes the entire top-up process a lot more convenient. Let’s be frank, nobody likes to top-up their phone. The process can be quite cumbersome. Say, you’re in the middle of a call and your phone runs out of credit. That’s bad enough, but now you need to leave the house and visit a store somewhere, just to get extra credit. Annoying right? You never really know when you’re going to run out of credit. This is the dilemma that automatic top-up solves.”

So how does automatic top-up work in practice?

“Well, that depends on your credit usage and behaviour. If a user’s usage pattern is rather unpredictable, she could opt for a trigger based on her credit threshold. In other words, once the available credit drops below a certain amount, the payment order for extra credit is automatically placed. Similarly, the automatic top-up can be triggered on a recurring weekly or monthly date. If you know you get paid on time, just set automatic top-up to coincide with that date.”

Why do you feel this is a game changer?

“Automatic top-up gives mobile phone providers the ability to make ‘prepaid’ users more ‘postpaid-like.’ One of the main differences between the two is that postpaid users have signed contracts. Whether he or she uses the phone or not, is totally broke or currently travelling abroad, a postpaid user is required to pay a bill every single month.

A prepaid user with automatic top-up can rest easy. There are no financial consequences of a failed top-up. If the account balance is too low and the payment fails, nothing happens. The user would simply have to do the top-up manually. The next time an automatic top-up is triggered, the system will go ahead and try again.”

So automatic top-up is good for the consumer, but is it good for business as well?

“Of course. You know, one of the biggest challenges facing the prepaid phone market is customer churn. Since top-up is such an inconvenient experience, many users postpone topping up their phone credit for undefined periods of time. Many, influenced by special promotions, may switch SIM cards, opting for the flavour of the month, just to take advantage of temporary benefits.

Automatic top-up flips the script. We’ve seen that for users with automatic top-up, switching SIM cards simply isn’t worth the effort. They become more like postpaid users and stick around a lot longer.”

Any other benefits besides the reduction in customer churn?

“That’s cost reduction. How? Let’s take another look at the example of the postpaid user. If the monthly bill isn’t paid, consequences will follow. First of all, payment reminders are sent. After a couple of months, perhaps they block the phone’s mobile network access. After that, company personnel will have to chase down the user and try their best to get the money owed. If that doesn’t yield positive results either, a bill collector will be tapped to takeover the process.

By this time, the company would have spent considerable human and financial resources in its attempt to collect the outstanding payment. This is rather unfortunate. The last thing a mobile phone provider should be doing, is asking their personnel to chase after unpaid bills.

Offering automatic top-up is a means through which businesses can reap the benefits of having postpaid-like clients that pay on a recurring basis, without any of the risk associated with postpaid.”

At the moment, automatic top-up is mostly used in the mobile phone industry, but where else do you see it being used in the future?

“In theory, automatic top-up can be used in just about any branch of industry with products or services that rely on credit. Public transportation, car parks, school or office cafeterias and online gaming, to name a few, would all be more convenient if we didn’t have to think about reloading prepaid credit. I truly believe the possibilities for automatic top-up  are limitless.”

 

Alper Altan is business development manager for the Alphacomm Solutions top-up platform.

 

 

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 »


Related articles
Automatic Top-Up - Alphacomm Solutions - Reloads

Automatic Top-Up - Alphacomm Solutions - Reloads

Automatic top-up: future-proof or passing fad?

An interview with Alper Altan.

We recently sat down and talked shop with Alper Altan. As the business development manager for Alphacomm Solutions’ top-up platform, Altan has a pretty good idea about where the industry is headed.

To many, top-up is as old as time itself. It’s quite likely that your very first mobile phone was prepaid. In a way, little has changed from the days of the old prepaid Nokia 5110. For most people, topping up credit still means buying scratch cards at the supermarket. Still, one wonders what the next chapter in the evolution of prepaid top-up will be.

That’s a question we all want to know the answer to. As for Alper Altan? He’s convinced the answer is automatic top-up.

What is automatic top-up exactly?

“Automatic top-up is exactly what it sounds like. The credit, is topped up automatically, without any human intervention. It’s completely frictionless and saves users a lot of time.”

Why does automatic top-up matter?

“Automatic top-up is an amazing tool, especially in the prepaid phone market. It makes the entire top-up process a lot more convenient. Let’s be frank, nobody likes to top-up their phone. The process can be quite cumbersome. Say, you’re in the middle of a call and your phone runs out of credit. That’s bad enough, but now you need to leave the house and visit a store somewhere, just to get extra credit. Annoying right? You never really know when you’re going to run out of credit. This is the dilemma that automatic top-up solves.”

So how does automatic top-up work in practice?

“Well, that depends on your credit usage and behaviour. If a user’s usage pattern is rather unpredictable, she could opt for a trigger based on her credit threshold. In other words, once the available credit drops below a certain amount, the payment order for extra credit is automatically placed. Similarly, the automatic top-up can be triggered on a recurring weekly or monthly date. If you know you get paid on time, just set automatic top-up to coincide with that date.”

Why do you feel this is a game changer?

“Automatic top-up gives mobile phone providers the ability to make ‘prepaid’ users more ‘postpaid-like.’ One of the main differences between the two is that postpaid users have signed contracts. Whether he or she uses the phone or not, is totally broke or currently travelling abroad, a postpaid user is required to pay a bill every single month.

A prepaid user with automatic top-up can rest easy. There are no financial consequences of a failed top-up. If the account balance is too low and the payment fails, nothing happens. The user would simply have to do the top-up manually. The next time an automatic top-up is triggered, the system will go ahead and try again.”

So automatic top-up is good for the consumer, but is it good for business as well?

“Of course. You know, one of the biggest challenges facing the prepaid phone market is customer churn. Since top-up is such an inconvenient experience, many users postpone topping up their phone credit for undefined periods of time. Many, influenced by special promotions, may switch SIM cards, opting for the flavour of the month, just to take advantage of temporary benefits.

Automatic top-up flips the script. We’ve seen that for users with automatic top-up, switching SIM cards simply isn’t worth the effort. They become more like postpaid users and stick around a lot longer.”

Any other benefits besides the reduction in customer churn?

“That’s cost reduction. How? Let’s take another look at the example of the postpaid user. If the monthly bill isn’t paid, consequences will follow. First of all, payment reminders are sent. After a couple of months, perhaps they block the phone’s mobile network access. After that, company personnel will have to chase down the user and try their best to get the money owed. If that doesn’t yield positive results either, a bill collector will be tapped to takeover the process.

By this time, the company would have spent considerable human and financial resources in its attempt to collect the outstanding payment. This is rather unfortunate. The last thing a mobile phone provider should be doing, is asking their personnel to chase after unpaid bills.

Offering automatic top-up is a means through which businesses can reap the benefits of having postpaid-like clients that pay on a recurring basis, without any of the risk associated with postpaid.”

At the moment, automatic top-up is mostly used in the mobile phone industry, but where else do you see it being used in the future?

“In theory, automatic top-up can be used in just about any branch of industry with products or services that rely on credit. Public transportation, car parks, school or office cafeterias and online gaming, to name a few, would all be more convenient if we didn’t have to think about reloading prepaid credit. I truly believe the possibilities for automatic top-up  are limitless.”

 

Alper Altan is business development manager for the Alphacomm Solutions top-up platform.

 

 

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 »


Related articles
Automatic Top-Up - Alphacomm Solutions - Reloads

Auto top-up for prepaid; the benefits of postpaid without the hassle

Auto top-up for prepaid; the benefits of postpaid without the hassle

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.

 

Auto top-up for prepaid; the benefits of postpaid without the hassle

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.

More about Alper »


Related articles
Automatic Top-Up - Alphacomm Solutions - Reloads