Understanding the success factors behind Safaricom’s M-PESA
This case study discusses the lessons learned during the pilot testing phase of M-PESA. The pilot test was conducted for 18 month period prior to the commercial launch of M-PESA in 2007. Under the test, Safaricom supplied low technology handsets to selected groups of customers of Faulu Kenya, an MFI. Teams from the MFI, Safaricom, and MicroSave then taught group members how to use M-PESA and their new phones. The brief suggests that the lessons learned during the pilot test were some of the least recognized factors for the success of M-Pesa. Some of the key lessons included:
Agents need careful training and support to be effective and they need to be encouraged to be part of the communication mechanism with existing and potential users;
Value of M-PESA to Safaricom customers’ could not be assumed but it could be observed, and could be communicated back to customers;
Using mobile money for repayments involved developing training for customers and would involve re-examining and designing new procedures to support loan repayments;
Core customer value proposition needs to be developed and explained in terms which are relevant to the core customer market;
It is extremely important to monitor agents and to develop mechanisms to help agents manage their float.