We want mobile money customers to sign up for a new “keep” product so that they can access cash when an emergency strikes.



An opportunity to design a new financial product

Zoona, a leading mobile money service provider in Africa was expanding their services to meet the growing demand among Zambians for a safe place to keep their money. In 2017, 60% of the Zambian population did not use regulated financial products and services – due to distance, distrust, or not meeting the criteria to set up an account. Through a flexible “keep” account, accessible at all Zoona outlets, customers would be able to easily store and take out their money through their mobile wallet.

Under UNCDF’s Mobile Money for the Poor (MM4P) Programme, UNCDF hired 17 Triggers to help Zoona test and refine the value proposition that addressed the needs and motivations of Zambians, and test and iterate on how best to introduce the product in an effective, customer-centric and customer-centric and sustainable way.

Banking on customer’s trust

Zoona had already made a strong name for itself based on reliability and transaction speed. Yet, the “keep account” product required account and authentication details, a laborious multi-step process which would be unfamiliar to many of its customers. Leveraging the unique trust that Zambians already had in Zoona, the new “keep account” product had to be introduced with minimal friction, with high appeal, and without breaking customers’ trust in the company’s promise of speed. It needed a strong value proposition to get the customer to agree to invest the extra time it would take to sign up.

Tellers are the heroes to make a new product work.

Saving for the expected unexpected

To hone in on the appeal of the product, 17 Triggers’ research showed that Zoona’s target market was less motivated by long-term saving goals (e.g. building a house) than keeping money for “the unexpected” (e.g. car troubles, emergency medical costs, surprise school expenses). 17 Triggers tested messages with consumers, refined the value proposition, and prepared marketing tools for the agents and customers.

When Zoona launched a 3-week pilot test of the Sunga account (“to keep” in local Bemba language), 17 Triggers also organized multiple rapid trials with 20 teller outlets to understand which package of ideas, product pitches, and tools would lead to uptake and usage.

As the frontline, tellers were trained to deliver a convincing script, always refer clients to the product, quickly fill in customer details to support easy signup, and ensure people placed a deposit. Tellers ultimately became the experts on the product, and customer needs.

Scaling the pilot, nationally

The Zoona team achieved its pilot target of 1000 sign-ups in only 21 days. They have since continued to iterate and hone their “keep” account , incorporating 17 Triggers’ recommendations from the trials, and further launching the product in additional provinces. UNCDF was able to share with other service providers lessons learned from 17 Triggers and Zoona’s use of human centred methods to achieve solutions that fit users’ needs.

Customers line up to sign up for their new Sunga account.