Q&A with Bronwyn Pretorius, Head of Marketing at Mukuru

Media 7 | September 17, 2021

Bronwyn Pretorius, Head of Marketing at Mukuru, is a seasoned marketeer with over 14 years of experience. In her current position as HOD Marketing for one of the largest Remittance led FinTech's in Africa, she has entered into a new industry of Financial Services where she aims to bring a positive change with strategic planning, implementation and leveraging her innate interpersonal skills with the focus of delivery.

Understand your customer and their respective pain points, by understanding their needs and challenges, it is easy to offer them relevant products that would benefit their lives.



MEDIA7: Could you tell us something about your career journey so far, and what made you want this position at Mukuru?
BRONWYN PRETORIUS:
I have over 14 years' experience across Retail and Financial Services. I started my career working for one of the largest Retailers in Africa where I was able to learn valuable lessons about best marketing practices, strategy, team management as well as customer behaviour. After more than a decade in the retail industry, I wanted to work for a respected organization that makes it their priority and responsibility to make a difference in people’s daily lives. Mukuru is just that. The core of the organization is to help emerging African consumers on their journey towards financial inclusion.


M7: Could you give our readers a sense of the demographic of Mukuru and tell us a little about your culture?
BP:
At Mukuru we have a customer base who are from over 20 countries across Africa, UK and Asia. For this reason, our staff are also very diverse coming from various parts of the world. Mukuru is a melting pot of different cultures – an example of this relates to our Contact Centre where the staff who speak to our customers on a daily basis speak a total of 35 different languages. The culture is very progressive, dynamic and promotes high delivery with a sense of fun and family as key values that make our organization a fantastic place to work at.


COVID-19 has accelerated digitization around the world and created a very sharp incentive to speed up innovation and bring products to market.



M7: You have recently launched Mukuru Groceries, what are your best practices for creating an ideal customer experience?
BP:
Mukuru groceries actually launched in 2020, at the time of the Covid 19 pandemic launch. Prior to launch, the Mukuru customers had been asking us to launch a grocery service and as an organization that places the customer at the core of everything that we do, the decision was made to implement a grocery offering. The time of launch happened to be the early stages of the Covid 19 pandemic and a time where Zimbabweans were facing the uncertainty of whether certain goods would be available on the shelf as well as price fluctuations on commodity products. Mukuru then introduced a pre-packed basket of staples at a set price so that customers would rest assured that the products would be available and that the pricing as advertised would not be changed upon collection. Mukuru Groceries, especially at the time ensured that families would be provided for and given the best chance to remain healthy throughout the crisis period.

Recently, though the same concept was launched for Malawi, where customers who live and work in South Africa, are able to purchase a pre-pack basket of products for their families in Malawi. In terms of best practices when it comes to customer experience, there are two main ones that I live by:
 

  • Understand your customer and their respective pain points, by understanding their needs and challenges it is easy to offer them relevant products that would benefit their lives. I never try to force a product on a customer but rather look at the customer behaviour to determine which products and services are the best fit for that specific customer segment.

  • Capturing customer feedback – as with the Mukuru groceries example, our customers had been asking for a grocery service for some time and after evaluating the viability of the request realising the natural fit within our organisation it was an easy decision to make. The Mukuru business aims to innovate to help improve our customers' daily lives and the Mukuru groceries offering is just one example of how we do this.

M7: How has COVID-19 affected the FinTech industry? What was Mukuru’s strategy to recover from that?
BP:
Some customer segments were exceptionally hard hit during the lockdown, presumably because their ability to earn an income was acutely affected however there was a large core of transacting customers who turned out to be resilient; sending regular amounts throughout lockdowns and restrictions. We believe this is the result of the purpose underpinning remittance flows – the need to support families in the country of origin. COVID-19 has accelerated digitization around the world and created a very sharp incentive to speed up innovation and bring products to market. We developed new access points and we drove new partnerships and launched new products in an exceptionally productive period during the hard lockdown May-June 2020. For example, we launched Mukuru Groceries through a partnership with a grocery-focused retailer in Zimbabwe. We brought our skillset and expertise in terms of remittances and partnered with the retailer to create grocery packs. That addressed the friction points our customers were experiencing in terms of the availability and affordability of food staples in Zimbabwe at the time. It was an amazing example of innovation with a limited requirement for deep investment in new technology. We took modular “Lego blocks” or capabilities that we already had and began putting them together.

Our partner did the same and together we were able to create transformative value for our customers. Another example is our partnership with global remittance businesses such as WorldRemit, an online money transfer business with a large global customer base across North America, the United Kingdom, and beyond. Together we’ve forged a connection that leverages their “first mile” — the front of the funnel in terms of engaging with the sender — and matched it with our infrastructure, reach, and customer service capabilities in key African territories (our “last mile”). This partnership unlocked massive opportunities for our customers and allowed remittances to flow at a time when people really needed them. Leveraging our last mile has also seen us become payout partners for large international aid organizations and NGOs looking to distribute much-needed aid across Africa to those impacted by COVID-19 and for ongoing distribution aid cash transfers. Furthermore, we now offer the ability for customers to sign up via WhatsApp. You can send your documents to us electronically, and we verify them and onboard you onto the platform. This means you no longer have to wait on one of our agents to come to you. You can sign up from the comfort of your own home using a standard, ubiquitously available technology.


M7: What else does Mukuru do or provide that clients or potential clients may not know about?
BP:
The foundation of our business was built by providing the continent’s migrant diaspora with safe, convenient international money transfers. From this base we have grown a wide range of products and services that take their cue from our customers’ needs and aspirations for greater financial security and a better life. To this end, we continue to build a highly robust and resilient physical and digital financial payments infrastructure across Africa that unlocks new value-added services for our loyal customers. This includes cash transfers, Mukuru Funeral Cover, and the Mukuru Card which have over 500 000 registered customers.


The very core of the Mukuru business is to help our emerging African consumers to ultimately remove barriers to achieving betterment.



M7: Being one of the largest money transfer providers in Africa, how do you approach branding your company, its products and services?
BP:
The approach that I take is to first and foremost build a connection with my customer. To understand the customer needs, cultural diversity, important dates on their calendars and really remaining as approachable and authentic as possible. The very core of the Mukuru business is to help our emerging African consumers to ultimately remove barriers to achieving betterment. Mukuru is a brand that offers limitless possibilities for our customers by taking away barriers that would normally hold them back from achieving financial freedom.
Mukuru is an African business by Africans, for Africans.


M7: What’s your smartest work-related shortcut or productivity hack?
BP:
Blocking out periods each day in my diary to focus on getting tasks completed and off my list. This helps me eliminate one of the biggest distractions – meetings, meetings and more meetings.


ABOUT MUKURU

Mukuru is one of the largest money transfer providers in Africa and a leading Next Gen Financial Services Platform that offers affordable and reliable financial services to the emerging consumer. The foundation of the business was built by providing the continent’s migrant diaspora with safe, convenient international money transfers. From this base, they have grown a wide range of products and services that take their cue from their customers’ needs and aspirations for greater financial security and a better life. To this end, they continue to build a highly robust and resilient physical and digital financial payments infrastructure across Africa that unlocks new value-added services for their loyal customers. This includes cash transfers, Mukuru Funeral Cover, and the Mukuru Card. As a fintech provider, Mukuru has underpinned its successful customer engagement strategy with the ability to ‘speak the language’ of its users and gain grassroots understanding of the unique pain points that customers face in each market. Their engagement platforms include WhatsApp, free USSD, the Mukuru App, and the website. Customers are always able to speak to Mukuru about any challenges or difficulties with the platform, whether it’s a Mukuru agent in a physical booth, at a branch, over the telephone, or via a virtual live chat function in a language of the customer’s choosing, and often in their mother tongue.

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Mukuru

Mukuru is one of the largest money transfer providers in Africa and a leading Next Gen Financial Services Platform that offers affordable and reliable financial services to the emerging consumer. The foundation of our business was built by providing the continent’s migrant diaspora with safe, conven...

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