In November 2021, InnBucks was officially launched. It came onto the scene as a closed-loop customer rewards and loyalty programme for selected Simbisa Brands (e.g. Chicken Inn, Pizza Inn, and Bakers Inn) customers. I had the privilege of getting hired by InnBucks to draft the press statement and two speeches for their official launch. Despite InnBucks being a customer rewards and loyalty service it gradually morphed into a money-sending service. This was through one of the InnBucks features called BFF. You could buy for a friend or family (BFF) member via your phone (either using money loaded prior or change loaded prior). Instead of it being a buy for a friend or family (BFF) member function most people started using it to send money.
Cessation Of InnBucks: Just To Jog Your Memory
It has been roughly 4 months since the InnBucks service was discontinued. On the 20th of April 2022, the RBZ issued a press statement part of which read: ‘The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (the Bank), advises the public that it has ordered Simbisa Brands (Private) Ltd to cease operating the money transfer service branded or styled InnBucks, with immediate effect. In November 2021, the Bank directed InnBucks to apply for and obtain the necessary approvals to continue offering the service. To date, the company has not yet regularized the service as directed, hence the regulatory intervention by the Bank.’ The issue was InnBucks operating as a money-sending service without an ADLA license.
Official Press Release Of InnBucks’ Return
A joint press release was recently unveiled indicating the launch (or return) of the InnBucks product or service. It read as follows:
Launch Of InnBucks Product
We are pleased to advise all our customers and stakeholders that the Regulators have authorized the launch of the INNBUCKS product. Existing InnBucks account holders will have their accounts automatically reactivated.
INNBUCKS now operates as a product of Ndoro Microfinance Bank Limited, a registered Microfinance Bank. This arrangement will bring additional services and benefits to INNBUCKS customers.
Members of the public are therefore able to transact and enjoy the services and benefits of Zimbabwe’s favourite, low-cost, platform through the network of over 260 Quick Service Restaurants of Simbisa Brands Limited.
Thank you for your patience and we look forward to your continued support and use of the enhanced INNBUCKS product offering which you can explore at www.innbucks.co.zw
Thank you to our Regulators for the constructive engagements which have resulted in the licensing of the INNBUCKS project.
By Order of the Boards
Ndoro Microfinance Bank/InnBucks/Simbisa Brands
InnBucks Tariffs And Charges August 2022
Deposits And Withdrawals
Deposit to InnBucks – FREE
Cash Withdrawal – 2 Percent Charge
BFF (Send To Another InnBucks Account)
Up to US$5 – 1 Percent Charge
Above US$5 – 5 Percent Charge (includes 4 percent IMTT)
Account And Transaction Limits
Account Limit – US$500
Per Transaction (BFF) – US$250
Transaction Per Month (BFF) – US$1000
A Second Chance To Correct And Do More
Intermittent Service Outages
InnBucks’ previous run must serve as a learning curve. The fact that they are back in business should be an opportunity to cross their t’s and dot their i’s. One of the major disappointments in their previous run was their intermittent service outages. It started off as occasional outages the kind you can find for any tech-based service. Over time those service outages fast grew into a norm. This time around this is something they must ensure is a thing of the past. The competitive edge they enjoyed prior is no longer quite as before. Even back then most people would resort to other service providers because convenience is non-negotiable. Intermittent service outages this time around would seriously hurt their competitiveness in the industry.
Addressing Customer Complaints, Enquiries, Or Queries
The other issue is that of addressing customer complaints, enquiries, or queries. It started somewhat satisfactory but it degenerated over time. This stemmed from two variables, one being intermittent service outages and erratic service performance. This resulted in the number of customer complaints, enquiries, or queries being too overwhelming. This led to their customer service team is overwhelmed. This implies they also have to work on their customer service team this time around. From my understanding, the team was quite small then. It is important to have a customer service team that is proportionate enough to avoid inconveniences.
Marketing – Cast A Wider Net
When it comes to social media marketing, InnBucks was doing quite well. They managed to establish an appreciable digital footprint on social media. This was augmented by the various challenges (i.e. contests) they would run every week. Plus the specials they would offer also helped in marketing their brand. Worth mentioning as well is that their content was characterized by alluring visuals. That was all well and good but I feel not much was done in terms of marketing via other channels. You find that even today countless people still do not know about InnBucks. This is particularly so for those who are not (or are not active on social media); the majority.
There is a need to cast a wider net concerning marketing. Now that they are licensed service they need to consider having brand ambassadors stationed at strategic spots in CBDs or shopping centres. Last time such brand ambassadors were exclusively stationed at Simbisa Brands outlets. To reach a bigger audience they have to go beyond that this time around. That is just one way but there are several others channels they can consider.