Communicating with customers in a timely, cost-effective way is crucial for any business. Because we maintain long-term relationships with our clients, communication is a top priority for Juhudi Kilimo. Our loan officers often travel long distances to reach rural farms, and information gathered from our farmer clients can get lost, if it is not captured quickly and correctly.
In 2010 Juhudi decided to improve its client communication and data collection using text messaging, a mode of communication that is well established and very popular amongst our rural clientele. To do this, we chose to support the development and deployment of Echo Mobile, a then early-stage platform for messaging and data collection via SMS.
We began by using Echo Mobile for informational question-and-answer campaigns with our farmers. We also started conducting SMS surveys to gather data about our farmers and their needs. Juhudi paid for sending text messages, but farmers could respond free of charge. Farmers also self-registered for the service and were able to communicate with us in their own language. The feedback and practical experience we gained from working with Echo Mobile have been used to make changes and improvements to the solution.
Echo Mobile has proven very popular, both amongst Juhudi staff and our clients. For our staff, it provides a fast and far-reaching channel for sharing news and information with current and prospective clients, as well as a tool for collecting client feedback and other data. The benefits of using Echo Mobile outweigh its costs, reducing the amount of money spent on logistics and customer acquisition, and increasing the speed with which data from the field becomes available for analysis and decision-making.
For farmers, who can subscribe easily to the service by sending a keyword to Juhudi’s private shortcode, Echo Mobile is both a free source of information and a convenient customer service channel, helping them feel more connected to Juhudi Kilimo and improving their customer experience.
Developed and tested to meet real business and customer needs, Echo Mobile has grown alongside Juhudi Kilimo and today is an independent company with over 30 organizational clients, using the platform to reach over 400,000 mobile respondents in sectors such as education, finance, healthcare, energy, and agriculture. Needless to say, we at Juhudi Kilimo and Juhudi Labs continue to be active users and enthusiatic fans of Echo Mobile.
To learn more about Echo Mobile, visit http://www.echomobile.org