Digital experience is winning formula for Circles.Life
Circles.Life, a digital telco start-up, is going strong on word-of-mouth referrals
More than a year after its launch, Circles.Life said it is two years ahead of its schedule to reach 3 per cent to 5 per cent of the post-paid mobile market here.
Mr Rameez Ansar, 35, the digital telecommunications (telco) start-up's co-founder, told The New Paper this week: "I think it is safe to say that in the past one year, we have come to be accepted as the fourth telco in Singapore."
Its growth could be attributed to strong word of mouth - Mr Ansar said the company gets 30 per cent of its new customers via referrals from existing customers. A quarter of its customers "have referred and converted at least one person", he added, with some converting more people.
Its high referral rate is in line with its high net promoter score (NPS) of +54, which it said is an industry leading figure.
NPS measures how much one would recommend a service to a friend, with a score rangingbetween -100 and +100.
Circles.Life, which rides on M1's network, burst onto the scene in May last year with no-contract plans that focused on data and are customisable.
It has no physical stores - users sign up online and get their SIM cards delivered to them. They can manage their accounts via an app. In place of a dedicated customer hotline, Circles.Life has a "live chat" function on its website and on Facebook.
The focus on data seems to have paid off - its customers, who are mostly in the sought-after 20-40 age group, use well over 8GB of data a month, more than what is bundled in some more expensive plans offered by competitors.
"When the norm was 3GB, we started our base plan with 6GB. Then we blew the market away with our 20GB for $20," said Mr Ansar.
Its base plan offers up to 6GB of data, 100 minutes of talktime and free incoming SMS at $28, with an option to add 20GB for $20.
In August and September, Singtel, StarHub and M1 announced, in quick succession, changes to their offerings that mostly included more or unlimited mobile data.
Circles.Life itself upped the ante in October when it announced it was going to offer a try-before-you-buy scheme, where potential customers can get 20GB of mobile data free until the end of the year, in a bid to entice customers to switch over.
Although Circles.Life has quickly gained traction, the telco has also come under heat.
On its Facebook page, commenters, who appeared to be users, complained of unsatisfactory or inconsistent customer service, where issues are slow to be resolved. Some also said the telco is difficult to reach without a physical location or a hotline.
Mr Ansar said in response: "When customers are frustrated, that means there is a break in their digital experience. And that is our fault, which we have to try and fix."
Customer satisfaction still logs a high of 90 per cent, according to Mr Ansar, who said that is well above the industry average locally.
Mr Ansar believes that the digital experience which it owns is what glitters, saying: "In this new age, it is the Netflixs, Ubers and Airbnbs that win out. We have the edge of bringing that to the telco industry,"