Project Everest

Experiment Results

[Experiment Results]: Energy Malawi Dec 2018 - UVP - Customer Engagement and Feedback

Reference to experiment post:

Lean Phase: Unique Value Proposition

Assumption: That our solar product is addressing the wants, needs and affordability indices of the target customer segment. Enabling light, charging of phones and the repayment rates/systems (if on finance) are manageable.

Introduction: The purpose of this experiment was to determine how effectively the business model and product is servicing previous customers. This experiment was to be validated through speaking with customers who purchased units in July and evaluating their feedback. The feedback in was sought through individual surveys with the customers and also through group feedback in community meetings.

Results: Gaining data through community meetings was an efficient method of obtaining feedback however, the team found it difficult to gain detailed feedback in this process. This was because most responses to posed questions in the meeting formed a consensus rather than individuals telling their thoughts. While the individual feedback provided far more detail, it was an extremely time consuming process and customers were difficult to access with many working during this time of year.

The December team has adapted the experiment for satisfaction metric rather than evaluating NPS. The team found it was difficult to communicate the NPS question through our translator, as opposed to asking for their satisfaction. Customers found it far easier to talk about their experiences than evaluate whether they would recommend the product to their friends (NPS). The team also decided that the NPS alone doesn’t provide enough information to validate the assumption whereas the satisfaction more directly correlates to the assumption. 


24 Customers Surveyed

Average Satisfaction: 8.4/10

79% Customers encountered issues with the product

         56% of issues regarding the battery

From individual surveys 81.8% said the system met their needs

From the community meetings 92.9% said the system has had a positive influence on their lives.

From the surveys, all customers found the system useful and were pleased with the features. A higher customer satisfaction was prevented by the diminishing performance of the system over time, with 56% of people sighting battery issues. These issues are likely to have stemmed from a lack of proper care coupled with the highly sensitive lead-acid battery. Additionally, nearly all customers sought more battery capacity to power other electronics or to provide longer lighting.

Theft was another issue encountered in 2 customers surveyed, who had their solar panels stolen. As the panel must be frequently moved around in accordance with the weather conditions, it is difficult for customers to have the panel set in a safer location. If the panel was waterproof, this may lead to roof installations which may deter thieves. The need to move the panel and the resulting long cable length has also resulted in some systems suffering damage. The cable became entangled in bypassers in the house and as a result the panel suffered impact from being pulled from its position.

25% of customers surveyed were using the product to provide light for the children to study. This is an exciting result as this point is emphasised in the sales pitch. It also may facilitate a better relationship with schools as a distribution channel (see schools distribution experiment). Conversely, no customers purchased the system for the torch functionality. 100% of customers suggested that the main motivation for the purchase of the system was for interior lighting. 63% of customers also purchased the system for the purpose of phone charging.

The December team has reconsidered how maintenance information is provided, reverting to a care instruction checklist which is agreed to by the customer before the purchase. The customer keeps this document in addition to the information cards. It is hoped that this may reduce the number of battery related issues. In the long term as PEV looks to import products, batteries with more tolerance to neglect should be looked into. This should improve customer satisfaction in the long term.


Actions On: The experiment requires that 90% of July’s customers needed to be contacted. However, logistically this was not possible. Customers were difficult to find and only the field guides had this information in their recollection of past sales. Additionally, many customers were not home as December is a busy season for farmers establishing their crops in the first rains. Therefore, conducting the surveys was immensely time consuming. Future teams may look into incorporating a feedback into the USSD system. This would be a far more effective way to procure data, rather than travelling and locating past customers.

This preliminary data suggests the experiment will achieve a orange light. It appears there are too many issues with the systems to validate the assumption that the systems are effectively addressing the wants and needs of our customer segment. The data size requirement of this experiment may need to be adjusted for future validation, as 90% will be very difficult to achieve.

Ella Grier 11 months ago

Status label added: Experiment Results

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