Yoco Technologies pioneers financial inclusion for small businesses in South Africa with Salesforce
Yoco, the African Technology company, has turned the Small Business payments model on its head. Its inclusive criteria aims to accept as many merchants as possible where it operates in South Africa, meaning small businesses can modernise the way they take payments—and grow faster.
Yoco provides card machines that are widely available, affordable and easy to use, whether or not you have a mobile device. It also provides online and in-store payment solutions and access to capital advances based on the business’s trading history, offering finance to more people than ever before. Businesses only pay back the capital when they transact, so there’s no added worry during a difficult month of trading.
Every Yoco product is geared around helping small businesses stay on their feet, but this diverse range of services still needs to feel like one cohesive business to its customers. As Yoco is set to scale, this has never been more important. “We want to be the best practice in financial support for small businesses,” Ronald Makomba, Head of Customer Success at Yoco, said. “With Salesforce, we can have one journey and one story, so we can meet our merchants where they’re at.”
Keeping the customer journey front of mind
By implementing Salesforce, Yoco has been able to marry its sales and support experiences into a single journey, as well as gain essential insights into how it can improve its products and services.
“We needed a customer journey that was well-defined and would act as a guiding star for the whole company to follow,” said Ronald. “It’s easy when you’re smaller to give great service to 10 merchants, but when you’re acquiring close to thousands of merchants a month, you need to have a well-defined customer journey to stay consistent in delivering great customer experiences .”
Salesforce helps Yoco better understand the customer journey, he said, so the company can make sure it’s helping as many small businesses as possible. Salesforce Marketing Cloud in particular enables the team to have a clear view of where their customers are in their engagement journey. “We use Marketing Cloud journeys to inform customers of what’s available to them,” Ronald said, helping them to grow and scale. “We use channels like WhatsApp to tell people when their account needs to be updated and the cloud voice solution Natterbox [found in the Salesforce AppExchange] for callback features so they don’t have to waste time.
“It’s a game changer, moving the company from a reactive support model to a proactive model using Natterbox, Marketing Cloud and Service Cloud together,” Ronald explained, “So you know you’re having these conversations at the right level at the right time.” It has helped orient the business around its customers, keeping them front of mind for the product managers.
As a tech company, Yoco has found a way to leverage this journey into their product development. “We use this data to identify what we need to do, what we should invest in and whether there’s a skills gap internally to develop the product,” underlined Ronald, “Africa is a continent of storytellers, and Salesforce allows us to tell our story with a unified customer journey.”
Revolutionising the customer (and employee) experience with Slack
It helps to understand customer pain points to define that story, explained Ronald, and using the communication platform Slack has been the best way to do this.
The company has used Slack for over five years, but since integrating with Salesforce, it’s become the spinal cord of the organisation, where the channels mirror the company’s structure. “As a communications channel, it’s just so efficient in getting what we need down and ensuring conversions,” said Ronald.
It’s the centre of knowledge and digital HQ for the organisation, without the need for any manual input. “If I need any kind of information as to how many businesses we signed up today, there's a Slack channel for that. If I need to know how many transactional errors we had, there's a Slack channel for that — and it’s all automated.”
Through Slack, the company has created workflows for its external resellers when they need support, giving them access to shared channels. “Slack Connect helps us to move conversations out of email threads,” Ronald explained. “If there is a support request we can use emojis to trigger a workflow. “A superman emoji will trigger a message to go to the support team and when something has been resolved a tick emoji pushes it back.” The platform is used for merchant queries and case management, as well as notifying internal teams where customers are in their journey.
Implementing Slack has provided a much-needed bridge between Yoco’s customers and its business, which makes it a great enabling tool. “It gives customers access to information without having millions of meetings,” Ronald explained, giving Yoco the confidence that it can seamlessly help businesses achieve their goals.
Creating a consistent customer service
Things resonate better when there’s a story, Ronald explained. “We can use Salesforce to identify the emotions of our merchants...then we can identify pain points and we can fix the gap.” For small businesses who are time- and resource-poor, this is critical.
Yoco uses Service Cloud to deliver personalised support for merchants using data from the Yoco app, devices and website, in order to give them a better experience and increase customers’ satisfaction with its services. “Having this single source of truth for customer data lets us create the user stories we need to build the right products and fill the needs of our customers at the right time,” said Ronald. Using Service Cloud together with Marketing Cloud, Yoco can create a feedback loop that provides a circular seamless journey that helps identify any problems and provide the right comms at the right time.
For example, using Salesforce, Yoco could identify that a certain percentage of customers signing up to its service weren’t handing in their IDs, causing approval delays. “We could make sure the moment they signed up, we sent them messages every day,” Ronald explained, “based on this, we could identify which channel worked best, so we moved from email to SMS.”
This process also reduces manual fixes, for example during onboarding customers, Ronald said. “We know this problem happens to 70% of people, for example, so we can send them an email or an SMS and measure conversions.” Keeping track of this in Marketing Cloud ensures people are engaging properly with Yoco’s onboarding content and getting the help they need. “A big KPI for us is also how many people go to our Help Centre and self-service, so we try and measure that as much as possible.”
This granular view gives the product team all the information they need for fixes, new product launches and keeping their customers happy.
Scaling with Salesforce
“The more you know about your customer and about their engagement journey with your brand,” Ronald said, “the further you have the visibility and confidence to scale.” It’s that confidence, he said, that drives innovation in the space and gives more small businesses access to the financial services they need.
“I’m no longer worried about getting the right information to scale,” he said. And with an aim of reaching 1 million merchants by 2024, that’s an essential part of the puzzle, especially when it comes to new territories and markets.
“At some point we want to break that barrier to move beyond the South Africa frontier. We do want to become an African company,” Ronald said. “ With that comes all sorts of different complications like languages and cultures. We need to make sure we’re being inclusive and our customers understand where we’re coming from.”
Salesforce has allowed Yoco to learn iteratively as it expands and moves into new segments with new product releases. “Technology helps us learn new things and communicate in new ways,” Ronald said. “Salesforce is at the centre of that.”