Recently, the Chillr app team conducted promotional events in the IT park where I work. Chillr is basically an app that lets you send money from your bank account to anyone in your phonebook even without having to know their account number. While some of the stuff they did were good but some were downright not acceptable. Read on to find out the good and bad
1. Incentivize users
First time around, there was a booth set up near the food court with volunteers handing out pamphlets and hoardings trying to grab user’s attention. A lot of people including myself walked away without batting an eyelid mostly because we see a stall for a new app almost every week. The second time the Chillr team set up stalls, they had loads of chocolates stacked up and were handing them out to people who tried the app. Now instead of volunteers chasing down people with pamphlets, a lot of people gathered around the stall to enquire about the app. Though most people were interested in the chocolates but still word spread around and people started calling their friends to visit the stall.
2. Go beyond app installs
When a stranger offers you a candy he expects you to do something for him. The catch here was people not only had to install the app but also perform a transaction on it to get a Cadbury Silk. This is a very smart move given the fact that an average smartphone user has several apps lying dormant in his phone and not even remembering when he installed them. Besides setting up the app for the first time requires considerable time and effort and having help does make the process a bit better.
3. Setting up is a pain
As I mentioned earlier setting up the app for use the first time around is a real pain. It involves accessing netbanking site of the bank and generating the MMID and MPIN, waiting for the SMS to receive the PIN and then modify it in the Chillr app. Promoting an app that promises a seamless cash transfer experience but having a convoluted signup process is a letdown. I understand that security measures are vital when it comes to banking applications, perhaps it would be better if the user were guided through the steps one at a time when the app is opened for the first time. I was able to jump through all the hoops only because of the help from the volunteers at the stall. For a person trying to check out the app on his own, this process might be a dampener.
While the volunteers were quite helpful, I feel they were over-stepping their limits. For instance, I did not know how to generate MMID and MPIN and asked a volunteer for help. Once I logged into my bank’s netbanking site, he started navigating around on the website to open the respective window. While I appreciate help, I do not like anybody else looking at my account details. Though not on purpose but still I feel volunteers would just keep their hands off my phone!
5. Better onboarding process
The main reason to take assistance from volunteers is because the pamphlets and the displays do not explain the steps to follow easily. Given the fact that Chillr app currently only supports HDFC bank, I see no reason to not list the steps to follow with screenshots. This would also ease my concerns about other people peeping into my bank details.
6. Crowd control
The presence of chocolates attracted a lot of crowd and though the Chillr guys tried their best to manage the crowd but there was a lot of chaos. I hope next time they plan it better the next time.
7. Better app experience
The iOS app is definitely not going to win any design awards but I hope it would be more intuitive, especially while logging in for the first time. I have not tried the Android app yet but from a distance it looked better than the iOS counterpart.
8. No WiFi near the signup area
The stall was set up in the basement and the mobile coverage was not good. Given the fact that users need to access internet to use the download and use the app and also to login to netbanking, I wish there was a WiFi hotspot. Some people had trouble accessing internet. And my poor friend had no signal at all. So he had to go out to receive the SMS pin and then come back in a couple of times.
9. Compromising user’s security
After making a transaction on the app, the helpdesk folks were not convinced by looking at the transaction history but they wanted more information. They were collecting the customer id and the registered phone number used for netbanking before handing out the chocolates. This really pissed me off. This information is supposed to be confidential and sensitive. I wouldn’t feel comfortable disclosing this in private let alone in front of 50 other people peering at my phone and over-hearing the conversation. A chocolate is not worth my sense of security. Each transaction has a unique transaction id, why not just collect that? Given the fact that HDFC bank is endorsing this app, I hope they issue strict guidelines regarding collecting customer information to Chillr team. Also what would happen if people started sharing bogus customer id and phone numbers to protect their privacy? There is no way of checking it given the rush at the stall. Wouldn’t that defeat the whole point of
collecting snooping customer information?
10. Why Free Lunch
While I do understand and appreciate the benefits of using Chillr but I keep wondering why I am being offered this service for free. All companies need to make money somehow to sustain themselves, so what is Chillr’s business model? I could not find much information from their website about this. Being a startup, customer acquisition takes priority over monetization but as a customer I believe I have the right to know how my data will be used. Will the personal details collected from me shared with marketers?
My takeaway from this whole episode is that companies should not take their customers for granted. While some people may throw caution to the winds and share confidential information without realising the significance of their act, it is also the moral duty of the company to respect the privacy of the users. I hope other startups would find a thing or two useful to learn from this episode.
of the week!!