Businesses across the world are trying to stay afloat and deepen engagements with their customers across their operational areas.
In West Africa, the challenge is not peculiar. Businesses wish to reach more customers and keep the ones they already have. One company that is truly committed to helping businesses engage with their customers better, faster and in a more affordable way, is Kirusa.
Kirusa is a global leader in providing communication solutions over data networks for consumers and enterprises. In Africa, especially in Nigeria and Ghana, Kirusa has been collaborating with telecommunications networks to create tech platforms that enable enterprises to engage with their customers through messaging and voice.
Citi Business News caught up with the Chief Executive Officer of Kirusa, and he revealed how Kirusa is working tirelessly to make communication between businesses and their target customers or audiences, more seamless, purposeful, engaging, productive and interactive.
Citi Business News: Would you kindly introduce and give a little background about yourself?
Inderpal: My name is Inderpal Mumick, and I am the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Kirusa. I have been working in the telecom industry for about 25 years. I started with Bell Labs, which used to be a subsidiary of AT&T. Bell Labs was a premier telecommunications research group in the United States. The company developed the transistor and made landmark inventions in the telecommunications industry. I hold a PhD in Computer Science from Stanford University. Prior to establishing Kirusa, I formed a company which was into telecom billing. Kirusa is the second company that I established, which was specifically in the area of trying to make telecommunications easier to use for people from their mobiles.
Citi Business News: Tell us about Kirusa. How was it established, when and what is the story so far?
Inderpal: We started working in Africa in the year 2011. One of our initial services which was called the voice SMS took off very well, and we got a very high level of adoption/monthly consumers in this market. The services have evolved a lot and today, the updated version is called InstaVoice, and it generates over 3 billion calls and messages every month. Ninety-five percent of these, are in Africa and it is popular in Ghana, Nigeria and about nine other countries in Sub-Saharan Africa including the Democratic Republic of Congo, Malawi and Swaziland.
Citi Business News: So, with the successful entry into the African market and the rapid change in the way people and businesses communicate, how has Kirusa’s products evolved to remain relevant and vibrant?
Inderpal: Couple of years ago, we started working on a new product – Kirusa Konnect that caters to the needs of the enterprise market: businesses in general. We have noticed that several enterprises are used to communicating with people using SMS. You must have seen that even in the Nigerian and Ghanaian markets, especially, banks, insurance companies, airlines, bus companies, retail, e-commerce companies, all send SMS messages to their customers. For the needs of the consumers and business effectiveness, you can actually go beyond plain SMS, and add various voice and data channels to the communications. This means that instead of just sending SMS, businesses can further incorporate voice, rich media messaging, and even AI-powered bots.
An example of a voice channel is flash calling. With flash call, an enterprise can simply give out a number and ask people to flash it. Pre-recorded information about the business will be automatically relayed to people when they flash. The messages could be text or voice, depending on the business’ preference or suitability.
An example of a data channel is WhatsApp. Brands can send messages to users inside their WhatsApp and provide customer support within WhatsApp.
Citi Business News: Businesses are always looking to reach more people, including those that are marginalized, how do you help enterprises reach everyone? And who can use your services?
Inderpal: Our Kirusa Konnect product is very dynamic. Messages sent via Kirusa Konnect could be text, voice, images, or video. This means that for a population that may not be able to read text messages, Kirusa Konnect empowers enterprises to send voice or video messages in a cost-effective way. To add to that, we put together a platform with a capability that combines Messaging, Voice and Data Messaging, which is also called as IP Messaging. IP Messaging works with data, and it includes things like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and RCS. An example of the voice channels is phone dialing. Instead of sending an SMS to consumers, the enterprise may send a pre-recorded phone call to consumers or customers, all at once. Any business that seeks to reach its customers or audiences can use our services. Banks, insurance companies, entertainment companies, agri-businesses, retail businesses, FMCGs, manufacturing companies and even religious or government agencies like the Ministry of Health, could use our services. Some notable companies in these sectors are already using our platform.
Citi Business News: Looking at the various communication solutions and platforms that Kirusa has created, wouldn’t it cost an arm and a leg to use these services? You know businesses are always looking at maximizing cost.
Inderpal – Indeed, our communication solutions are developed to help businesses spend less while reaching wider audiences. Our pricing is very transparent and available on our website: konnect.kirusa.com. A message could be sent for as low as 3 pesewas or 10 Kobo or 1cent. And businesses could log on to our website for self-service or reach out to our team of professionals that are always available to tailor-make communication solutions for their business needs. Our services are very affordable, highly efficient and result-oriented.