In the middle of them launching in Nigeria, I managed to squeeze some of Dr. Kenfield Griffith's time to learn a bit more about mSurvey, their launch in Nigeria and some of the insights they are gathering from Afrikan consumers.
iAfrikan: For those who might not be aware, how would you summarize, in a few sentences, what mSurvey does?
mSurvey is a mobile-first consumer experience and feedback platform that uses cloud computing connected directly to mobile network operators. mSurvey enables businesses to connect with, and get feedback directly from their customers. Mobile surveys can be triggered at their customer’s convenience, unlike traditional tools which can be time-consuming to get the feedback needed to act on immediately.
Given relatively low levels of Internet penetration in Afrika as compared to Asia, why did you start mSurvey?
mSurvey was started in response to the low levels of Internet penetration and the growing access to simple mobile phones. Mobile penetration in Sub-Saharan Afrika has surged, with 445 million unique mobile subscribers at the end of 2017, and it’s predicted to increase by 8% by 2025.*
mSurvey was launched in 2012 when I was conducting research in Kenya as part of my Ph.D. dissertation at MIT on automation using computer-aided design and manufacturing. I faced a lot of challenges along the way because of the lack of contextual, credible, and actionable insights in the markets where I pursued my Ph.D. case studies. This challenge inspired me to develop a new way to collect information for my Ph.D. research and subsequently reinvent the way information is used to drive business growth.
*According to GSMA The Mobile Economy 2018 Report.
Does mSurvey rely on an Internet connection or does it work over SMS and USSD?
mSurvey does not rely on an Internet connection to get feedback from people. Respondents receive and answer questions via text messaging, and this gives businesses the ability to analyze this data from their mSurvey dashboards, in real time. In less than five minutes, any business, organization or individual can receive feedback on any topic, at any time and with an audience. The use of mobile means that businesses can gather insights from real people from the largest cities to hard-to-reach communities.
Using mobile as a platform offers reach, accuracy and agility to businesses.
How do you know and ensure that the feedback you receive from consumers is useful and close to honest as it can be?
mSurvey was developed using fundamental medical and social research principles and rigor. As such the technology is used by Harvard and other peer-reviewed research for groundbreaking health and academic research. There is also research, which was published by the University of Michigan, that discussed the truthful nature of the text messaging methodology mSurvey employs vs. face to face and other methods. Respondents are likely to give more honest feedback via mSurvey based on external research and mSurvey’s internal research.
What are some of the interesting consumer insights and trends you've observed in Kenya so far?
For the internationally recognized annual event, Customer Service Week 2017, we used our flagship product ‘Voice of a Customer’ to ask Kenyans what they thought about customer service in Kenya. We found that two-thirds of Kenyans were willing to pay more for customer service. Some of the other interesting things we learned about Kenyans, was that more than half (54%) of Kenyan consumers stopped using a product or service because of bad customer service, and 42% preferred to give feedback via text message. The insights from this particular study were really compelling, as it revealed that good customer service can drive business growth and reduce customer defection.
Lastly, tell us a bit more on the products you plan on rolling out in Nigeria.
Voice Of the Customer is our main product which applies the Net Promoter Score [NPS] metric for businesses. mSurvey is the formal provider of NPS in Africa with the support of the founders of NPS, who are now advisors and investors in mSurvey. To coincide with our launch in Nigeria, we will be hosting the second Customer Loyalty NPS Masterclass in Lagos on March 20th and 21st. The globally recognised bench-marking practice is a consumer satisfaction and loyalty indicator that measures the likelihood of customers to recommend a company, product, or service to a friend or colleague. It has been adopted by more than two thirds of Fortune 1000 companies, including Apple, Sony, Amazon, British Airways and Tesla.
We introduced NPS to the Kenyan market last year and as a result of this, one of our customers recorded a growth of 800%.