In 2017, I helped one of my friends who lives in Botswana by giving money to his relative who was travelling from Maseru to Botswana. A day later my friend told me that he would use postal services to pay me.
If he had asked me of options, I would not have thought of sending money via the post. I had forgotten about this mode of transferring money, maybe because it is not being fiercely advertised in Lesotho.
Two days later he sent me a text message with details to use to withdraw money from the post. I only had to produce my passport as a way to identify myself, and the text with the sender’s details. A few minutes later I received my money.
I was in the post office banking hall for less than 15 minutes. On a scale of 1 to 3, I would give the postal services 1 if I am to use the number of customers inside the banking hall as the proxy to test the strength of advertising efforts. I am discounting other factors such as the cost of doing business, the location and the target market.
I think I have seen only one advertisement selling the services of Lesotho Postal Services, it was mimicked ‘Poso Nkisetse’, where the advert showed that one can send heavy luggage via postal services, and one will find it ahead at the local destination. Maybe I haven’t paid enough attention to notice another advert on sending money via the post.
Recently, I had an opportunity to use Western Union services. One of my cousins wanted me to buy flowers for a bereaved family to show her support as she was not able to attend the funeral. She advised that she would send money through the Western Union services.
When I went in to collect the money I was told I need to bring in a water bill or letter from the chief to confirm my residence. I guess this is in line with ‘know your customer requirements’.
I was disappointed that they don’t consider a lease as a form of residential confirmation. I didn’t have the time to collect the letter from the chief. I ended up using my money to buy the flowers.
A month later I was penniless and I remembered I still have money to collect. I was afraid they might say the money has been returned to the owner, as I have had this experience with some of the mobile money transfers; but not so with Western Union.