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Navigating Downtime on Cowrywise

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Navigating Downtime on Cowrywise

In 1964, John Donne delivered a thought-provoking sermon that included the famous quote:

‘No man is an Island’.

This has remained an undeniable truth throughout human history, owing to the fact that people rely on one another and collaborate to benefit from one another’s individual strengths.

Businesses, in particular, have similarly realized the importance of mutually beneficial relationships, as partnering with complementary companies allows for mutual profits.

The World of Fintech and the Expected Interconnectedness

The Fintech industry also operates in a way that no company can function independently.

Companies rely on partners like banks, payment gateways and other Fintech players to deliver effective products and services to customers. These partners are considered vital components of any Fintech entity.

Payment companies make payment gateway systems available for businesses, to ensure seamless integration between businesses and the customers paying for their services. These gateways act as an interface between the two parties and guarantee a reliable and secure relationship.

Moreover, these payment companies are not in direct contact with the customers, the relationship is strictly between the business and the payment company. For instance, at Cowrywise, we are able to provide different means of payment collection, such as card payments and bank transfers, this is possible via partnerships with different trusted payment partners.

Payment Systems and Business Downtime: The Nexus

Using an example from Cowrywise, an incident in the payment service or systems can affect the performance of any of our payment processors, leading to downtime.

For instance, if a customer tries to make a deposit to Cowrywise via a generated virtual account and the bank experiences disruption, the following could occur:

  1. The user is debited, yet does not get a reversal
  2. Cowrywise might not receive the payment.

In such a scenario, Cowrywise would then contact the partner payment processor that issued the Virtual Account, which would then contact their associated bank.

Depending on the situation, the sequence of communication may need to be broadened to the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS) which is tasked with managing the transfer and settlement of funds between banks in Nigeria.

If the downtime is minor, then the communication process should result in resolution in a short time frame, such as a few minutes or hours. However, if the downtime is with NIBSS, it will be more complicated since it can have a great impact on the overall financial services industry.

How We Manage Periods of Service Interruptions

During our interactions with our partners, we prioritize the customer experience and stress this point when addressing requests that have an impact on our customers.

Depending on the nature of the escalation, interactions between third-party partners may necessitate a phone call or the involvement of the customer’s bank in the process.

When encountering an issue beyond our control, but with the help of our third-party partners, the first thing we do is:

  1. Communicate that we will escalate the issue to our partner and provide feedback when there is an update.
  2. Reassure the customers that we will remain proactive in attempting to reach a satisfactory outcome.
  3. Contact the customers and keep them informed of all progress, assuring them that we are fully committed to delivering a positive service experience.

Unfortunately, this does not always placate all customers, as their expectations have not been fully met. If the situation is not handled appropriately, it could likely lead to a churn.

At Cowrywise, Customer Satisfaction Obsession and Empathy are at the center of our core values. We see with the eyes of our customers, listen with their ears and feel with their hearts.

This is possible because of the homogenous experience we are able to provide across all of our touch points. Thus, we take great care to ensure we can bring their issue to a satisfactory resolution.

Within the Cowrywise network, internal systems are configured to send notifications of any downtime within a minute. This enables our technical team to promptly address any internal issues.

For downtimes beyond our control, we are intensifying efforts to receive early notifications, allowing us to inform customers in real time and reduce the number of escalations related to payments, disbursements and other matters.

Ultimately, this effort will help us to provide a better user experience.


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