Aircel’s Extra-Credit Service Earned them Revenues of 180 mn

The service offers consumers extra talktime during emergency situations which is compensated later when these consumers recharge their talk-time or data service.

Aircel is India’s fifth largest and one of the fastest growing GSM mobile service providers with a subscriber base of 65.1 million. The telecom company is a pan India operator with a presence across 23 circles. The company offers voice & data services ranging from postpaid and prepaid plans, 2G and 3G services, broadband wireless access, LTE to VAS. The company conceptualized a project called ‘Aircel Extra-Credit Service’ to provide credit service/loan facility to its low ARPU customer segment having zero talk-time or data balance. This is envisioned considering the hardship of consumers living in remote areas with limited access to Internet or retail outlets at night or even during emergency. Any consumer dialing a specific number can avail the service. The adjustment of extra talk-time is compensated as and when the consumers recharge their talk-time or data service. ‘It creates a trust in consumers of the service thereby helping the company in customer retention,’ says Uttam Kumar, Senior General Manager & innovation Head-IT, Aircel. ‘The company voluntarily provided free service to its flood-hit consumers by giving them added talk time both in Chennai and J&K. The service had brought a new lease of life to the affected community during natural disaster,’ says Uttam. Wextra-credit system The telco faced several challenges which made them come up with a plan like this. Early shop closure by retailers/channel partners leaving consumers without any balance is one, for instance. Lack of Internet facility in remote areas was another trigger to this move. Plus, many consumers can’t use their mobile in emergency situations because of lack of balance. It required organization to come out with a solution that can address above-mentioned challenges, at the same time increase both usage and customer's age on network. The overall cost involved in the implementation of this project is around Rs 100 lac. ‘Certain processes and technology were put in place meet the requirement. It required data exchange and validation at each level to ensure that there is no bad debt arising out of it, says Uttam. Details of the project The project required a technology to be in place and accessible over different bearers, IVR, USSD and SMS to address customer's pain areas. A modular based system was built, deployed and made available to customers to avail the facility anywhere and anytime. The system had been integrated with number of applications and network elements to keep track of low balance customers and accordingly send a request if he/she is interested in availing the service. Checks and balances were inbuilt into the platform to ensure that customers do not misuse the service and Aircel does not account any bad debt due to this. The system would adjust debt amount from customers in parts on a real time basis as and when they transact. Business benefits ‘Rs 180 mn worth of revenue was generated from the system in the year 2015,’ says Uttam. For its users, it offered them a convenience during emergency and natural disaster. It also helped them in ARPU and customer retention. The service has been gradually creating new landmarks in terms of revenue and reach across the country, adds Uttam. The service is now being planned to roll out on other channels such as web and app to bring in more audience, he adds.


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