Effective Customer Centricity

Effective Customer Centricity: A Toolkit for Digital Financial Service Providers

Over the past 40 years, the financial inclusion suite of services has grown to include transactions, payments, savings, and insurance offerings. The financial inclusion landscape is continuing to evolve with a rapid increase in financial services offered through digital platforms and agent networks that leverage the widespread availability of mobile phones. According to the GSMA’s The Mobile Economy 2018, there were more than 5 billion people connected to mobile services in 2017. It is projected that by 2025, 71% of the world’s population will have subscribed to mobile services. For practitioners in the financial inclusion space, growth in mobile phone access has the potential for financial services to expand to the world’s unserved and under-served populations.

Due to the increase in access to mobile services and the growth of digital platforms, the World Bank’s FINDEX Report 2017 reported that 76% of financial services account owners made at least one digital transaction in 2017. This figure highlights the significant role of technology in achieving the goal of delivering access to and increased adoption of financial services for excluded populations and underserved clients. However, data from the FINDEX Report 2017 also reveals a significant decline in savings levels and the plateauing of borrowing activity in developing countries between 2011 and 2017. This statistic encapsulates the challenge practitioners face: while overall account ownership has increased, inciting low-income populations to regularly use savings and loan products has proven to
be difficult.

This research suggests that the slower-than-expected adoption of digital financial products and services is largely due to the industry’s failure to understand the values and needs of financial services consumers in developing countries. We found that effective financial service providers (FSPs) generally compete in the marketplace by prioritizing the achievement of key business objectives and improving the product or suite of services by adding new features and capabilities. However, without actively soliciting feedback from existing clients, practitioners cannot definitively determine whether or not they are providing services that satisfy existing clients and appeal to unreached populations.

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