Project Everest


[Channels]: SoCon Malawi - Tech and Community Based - December 2018

Throughout the month of December, the Social Consulting Team has been engaging with multiple channels to optimise customer interaction. From an overarching perspective, business to customer interaction is the primary channel SoCon engages with. When subdivided into individual channels, SoCon utilises mobile money, community meetings, key stakeholders, door to door sales, the USSD system and Village Banks.


Mobile Money

Mobile Money throughout December functioned as the primary channel for receiving payments for customers that opted into the loan repayment plan for Solar products. In the Blantyre region, there are two prominent carriers; Mpamba Money and Airtel Money. The Social Consulting Team was able to discern that Mobile Money would function as a foundational element of our loan repayment system. Therefore, it was critical to our operation that we validate the assumption that mobile money is an accessible and viable repayment system to engage with. Through conducting 90 surveys for two experiments on access and knowledge, it was validated that Social Consulting should continue to use the mobile money system as a core channel in current and future loan ventures.


Community Meetings

Community Meetings presented themselves as a channel that instantly facilitates customer - business interaction. Throughout the course of the month, SoCon collaborated with Energy and attended community meetings.  As a channel, community meetings had two core functions. The first was to gain expressions of interest for individuals interested in payment plans. The second was to get sales upfront, requiring a deposit to be made that day. Through pitching the product-based loan at these meetings, we were able to take upon new customers into our repayment plan.  Whilst these meetings were predominantly directed towards solar sales, they functioned as a key channel to access customers who presented a need for the product, but are unable to afford it upfront.


Key Stakeholders

A number of key stakeholders were of high value as a channel for December SoCon. Watson, our key stakeholder with Nancholi Youth Organisation (NAYO), was of immeasurable value and assistance to SoCon in connecting with current and future customer segments. Watson provided significant support to SoCon in organising community meetings, village bank meetings, and individual surveys and interviews with defaulting customers. Further, the assistance of our field guides cannot be quantified. Whilst not only translating our surveys, meetings, and pitches, they themselves possessed strong knowledge of our ethos and methodologies, which they were able to communicate to our customers.


Village Banks

Village banks, whilst functioning as a valuable customer segment for SoCon, also operate as a channel for which SoCon can reach customers. At present, access to loans from MFIs and commercial banks for individuals within Blantyre present distinct barriers for customers due to very high-interest rates, high collateral, and competitive selection criteria. Village Banks, from our research this month, are for the most part composed of individuals within the community with the most ability to repay loans. By partnering with Village Banks, SoCon can access the individuals within the communities that present themselves as the most creditworthy. In terms of asset lending, for SoCon, Village Banks are a critical channel that should be engaged with over future project months in order to access customers that possess less risk.


edited on 28th January 2019, 14:01 by Ella Grier

Ella Grier 11 months ago

Status label added: Channels

Reply 0