In Conversation With > Dr Iwona Bisaga, Group Research Manager at BBOXX
By Katie Mountain, Manager at 60 Decibels
In a nutshell: BBOXX used Lean Data to educate customers on payment plans & invest in the right sales channels
· Insight: Customers were struggling to understand the payment fees for their BBOXX solar home systems
· Action: The company invested in building scripts to clearly educate their customers on the payment fee, and are simplifying it to increase repayment rates and customer satisfaction
· Impact: With more customers understanding the payment fee, customers will be in a better position to manage their finances and service outages will likely decrease.
At 60 Decibels, we are passionate about raising up the voice of customers so socially-oriented customers can serve them better and create more impact.
This month, we spoke with Dr Iwona Bisaga of BBOXX, a tech company bringing clean, affordable, and reliable energy solutions across Africa and Asia. Iwona shares how BBOXX, and their investor KawiSafi Ventures, used Lean Data to support their growth and strategy in scaling operations to 12 countries.
> Q: What insights did you get from using Lean Data?
Iwona: The first Lean Data study was done in Rwanda in 2016, and we’ve had multiple studies conducted since then.
In the early days we used Lean Data to understand our customers better. It gave us insight into who was buying our products, what they think of the products and service, and what more they want from us. Over time, as our customer base grew, we used Lean Data to help us get insights into specific areas such as our acquisition channels, the challenges that our customers face and what they need from us to help overcome them.
Some of the insights validated for us what we intuitively thought but hearing it directly from our customers gave us the confidence we needed to adjust our offering. But it also highlighted some key things for us that we didn’t know from our customers about their experience with us.
> Q: Why did you decide to use Lean Data services?
Iwona: Originally Lean Data was offered to us by our investor, KawiSafi Ventures. This was back in 2016 when we were in the early stages of our operations and were also in the process of setting up a research department. We didn’t have any expectations of Lean Data at the time — but we understood it would help us to learn more about our customers.
All knowledge brings value when you’re growing a business, especially about your customers, so we decided to take up the opportunity.
> Q: When you got this insight, how did your operations change?
Iwona: We developed a plan of action for the things we wanted to take forward, and we fed it into our quarterly planning cycle. This was important to ensure it became a living document for us and not just a one-time report.
There were three key changes we made as a business as a result of the Lean Data studies:
The first was as a result of getting repeated feedback that customers didn’t understand our payment fee. We’ve invested in better educating our customers. All our customer-facing teams, the call centres and technicians, now have scripts to ensure it’s clearly explained. We’re also looking more broadly at how we can simplify it for our customers.
Secondly, the Lean Data studies helped us identify our most important sales channels and we’ve now really invested in growing them.
Third, we learned interesting interview techniques and creative ways to show the data from the Lean Data team. This sparked the creation of our research department that conducts customer research to support our operations in every country.
> Q: Was there anything in the Lean Data results that really surprised you?
Iwona: I wouldn’t say it surprised us, but carbon offset was something we’d never measured before, so it was particularly interesting to get that data. It has triggered real interest internally and we’re now looking at this more to help us measure and understand our environmental impact.
The other interesting things for us is the benchmark and where we sit in the benchmarks of companies.
> Q: Was there anything else you used Lean Data insights for?
Iwona: Generally, we use the results for reporting to our board, investors and externally on our impact.
Lean Data offers valuable insights, and some of these may start to show links and correlations. Then to understand causal impact we undertake more academic studies. We’re lucky enough to have institutions interested in doing research with us.
Lean Data has helped us to be clear about what areas we want to understand better with research, and not just respond to opportunities that come our way.
> Q: What advice would you give to other organisations to get the most value out of Lean Data?
Iwona: Firstly, my advice would be to take the time to look at the survey questions. It helps if you’re really clear about what you need to understand from your customers and therefore ask the right questions. Secondly, act on what you learn from the results! There are always opportunities for improvement and Lean Data offers insights which can inform your strategic decisions in a straightforward manner.
 A part of Lean Data’s offering is that we’ve developed benchmark indicators across 150+ companies speaking to 80,000+ end-beneficiaries globally, across regions and across sectors. These help firms identify how they compare to peers to help give context to the data. To read more on our benchmarks, check out our White Paper.