USSD has become widely accepted for services including banking, surveys, special offers and news updates, especially in countries in Africa, where internet access is often unreliable or scarce. What makes USSD ideal for use in Africa?
When marketing to an audience in a “3G blind-spot”, it is important to consider what your end users can or cannot access. Parts of Africa often have limited 3G coverage and a lack of broadband connectivity, however, USSD is available on more than 99% of mobile handsets currently in use around the world.
Banking / Secure Account Management
Offering customer the opportunity to access their bank account or other secure information as well as editing it on the go is key for customer retention, but in African countries with a lack of internet coverage, security can be an issue.
Updating details online can be secure, however, when if this is not an option, we need to look at alternatives. SMS is generally not secure enough as when the customer receives a text message, it is stored in their inbox. USSD menus, however, are not saved. By using USSD menus for account editing and USSD messaging for notifications (e.g. account balance), you can offer a high standard of customer experience without compromising security.
Surveys and Interaction
USSD menus can work well as a cost-effective form of two-way communication. Whether you would like quantitative customer data or to increase interactivity and relationships between your brand and customers, USSD allows you to do this more smoothly than SMS and on a mobile connection.
Offers and Alerts
USSDnotifications can be used to inform customers of an offer or a time-sensitive piece of news, and can reach a wide audience cheaply, uninterrupted by a lack of internet coverage. From a customer service point of view, the notifications don’t fill up the user’s inbox either.
One of the quickest developing mobile markets, Africa has seen access to mobile phones climb five-fold in the last five years. There is huge potential for reaching customers across the continent, and USSD can help your business do that.