The Consumer Experience Initiative: Driving a step change in PAYGo performance and impact

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This blog was published on 5 March 2024.

GOGLA and partners have launched the Consumer Experience Initiative to increase consumer satisfaction, usage, ownership and protection. This initiative will support companies with technical assistance, tools and research to improve portfolio quality and boost profitability. And it will guide investors on how to promote impactful and sustainable business practices.

Off-grid solar (OGS) companies, large and small, have demonstrated over the years that PAYGo asset financing can be a viable model to electrify millions of consumers and transform their lives. Research by 60 Decibels shows that a solar home system (SHS), lantern or appliance almost always improves the life of the customer and their family.

However, making the PAYGo business model work for consumers at the “base of the pyramid” in rural areas suffering from energy poverty is not easy.  Whilst market leaders display high levels of payments and ownership among their customers, there are also many players that are struggling to achieve this.  As a result, too many people are not benefitting fully from using their products.  The difficulty faced by OGS companies is due to many external and internal factors such as access to appropriate financing or a volatile local currency, finding balance between quality and quantity of sales or the availability of necessary skillsets in local markets.

The uncomfortable conclusion is that companies encountering these challenges must swiftly adapt and emulate the success of market leaders to survive.  GOGLA, as the voice of the industry, recognizes that a systemic issue needs a systemic response and has therefore launched the Consumer Experience Initiative (CXI).  This initiative builds on the work done to date to strengthen consumer protection; good standards of consumer protection are the foundation but getting the consumer experience right needs a holistic, end-to-end and self-reinforcing approach.

Holistic because to achieve higher levels of consumer satisfaction, usage, ownership and protection companies must continuously strive to improve the performance of their people, processes and technology.  End-to-end because the relationship with the different market segments using their products and services has to be managed efficiently through all stages of the customer journey “from cradle to grave”.  And self-reinforcing because financial health in the industry is not possible without a positive feedback loop between company performance (i.e. outputs such as profitability, sales volumes and portfolio quality) and investor confidence (i.e. inputs such as capital, targets and incentives).

GOGLA has developed an industry roadmap that defines five workstreams to support companies in creating a better experience for their consumers:

  1. Investment Strategy Drivers
  2. Credit Reference Systems
  3. Operational Best Practices
  4. Managing At-Risk Customers
  5. Standardised KPIs & Data Insights

There are opportunities for companies to access technical assistance (TA) from industry experts, benefit from innovative tools, participate in research and gain new insights.  Investors are invited to join working group calls and roundtables to explore how they can practically support companies with governance, targets and incentives.

GOGLA’s vision is that within the next four years (2024-2027) the CXI Roadmap will help to promote best practices and establish benchmarks (for example in agent models and credit risk management) that can bring about a step change in industry performance and, ultimately, in the day-to-day experiences of PAYGo consumers.

Companies, investors and donors must agree what exactly success will look like.  We are, however, proposing the following key performance indicators to gauge improvements in consumer satisfaction, usage, ownership and protection:

  • Increasing the Net Promoter Score (NPS) for SHS
  • Raising the collection rate (as an indicator for product usage)
  • Boosting the completion rate (as an indicator for product ownership)
  • Monitoring the 60 Decibels Consumer Protection Score (CPS)

If OGS companies can consistently demonstrate that the PAYGo model is viable in their core business, this will firmly position it as the preferred asset financing method for a diverse range of other essential products (cookstoves, smartphones and other appliances) enhancing the lives of consumers.

Making our bold CXI vision a reality and achieving measurable results within the given timeframe will require buy-in, guidance and funding from key industry stakeholders:

  • Companies should engage with the TA, tools and research, and strive to improve their operational and financial performance
  • Investors should adapt their financing strategy and incentive structure to promote portfolio quality alongside growth
  • Donors should fund capacity building (TA, training, tool development and research) to help improve operations

We encourage you to join the Consumer Experience Initiative, and get in touch with us to see how you can benefit and contribute.


Member-only benefit: GOGLA members have access to the Consumer Experience Initiative Launch Presentation and Recording.

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