Standard 3a

The provider understands the needs and preferences of different types of clients. 

Listening to clients means understanding how the needs and product use of different client groups vary, how client satisfaction and exit varies by client group and the reasons behind these. Use these resources to build your listening skills and analytical acumen.


Guidance on Standard 3A

Learning from Exit Clients: SPTF Guidance Note, Issue 6

This SPTF Guidance Note discusses why you should collect client exit data, how to do it, and what to do with the data once you have it.

Collecting and Using Exit Survey Data

This tool discusses how FSPs can design exit survey tools, collect exit data, and use them for designing and improving products and services. It explains a five-step process for developing, introducing, and using an exit survey. FIs with existing exit surveys can use the tool to rethink and strengthen their current tool. Those without an existing tool can use it to understand their options and design a tool.

The Feedback Loop: Responding to client needs: Imp-Act Practice Note No. 1

The feedback loop describes the stages that information moves through a provider from its initial generation to the implementation of changes in products and services. This Practice note is designed to help you review and improve your provider's own systems of information flow and feedback, or to review these processes as an external assessor. The note outlines the steps of the feedback loop, and give advice on how to use it. 

The Poor and Their Money: An Essay About Financial Services for Poor People

This Stuart Rutherford essay is a must-read resource for managers thinking through how financial services meet the diverse financial needs of clients. In particular, it helps financial service providers (FSPs) to flip their paradigm from “what products can we offer?” to “how can we design products to match your needs?”.

Use of Loans, Profits and Savings over time: SEEP/AIMS tool

The “Use of Loans, Profits and Savings Over Time” tool is composed of two distinct modules—one on loan use and the other on savings. These two modules can be used together or singularly. In both cases, individual interviews are used to find out how mature clients have used their loans, profits and savings over time. Starts on page 239 of the handbook.

Understanding clients through in-depth interviews: Imp-Act Practice Note No. 2

This Practice note provides a step-by-step guide to developing and conducting in-depth qualitative interviews of individuals in order to uncover useful information about the impact of products and services provided by the FSP. This Practice note guides the reader through the process in ten steps, including planning, data collection, analysis, presentation of findings and decision-making, emphasising the need to plan and implement the qualitative process in a way that is appropriate for each FSP and its clients.

Learning from Client Exit: Imp-Act Practice Note No. 3

This Practice note helps your FSP track and understand client exit, in a simple, low-cost way. It looks closely at what client exit can mean for your programme, and shows how you can define and measure your FSP's exit rate. It overviews tools you can use for finding out who is leaving your programme, and how these tools can help you profile the different types of leavers. The note also provides guidance on finding out why clients are exiting, and explains how to use exit information in the most effective way.

Tracking client performance: Imp-Act Practice Note No. 7

This Practice Note guides you through choices that need to be made in designing an information system that suits your needs. While there is no single system that works for all FSPs, there are some key principals and things to avoid that will help guide you through the process. In the end, the effectiveness of your monitoring will depend on how you use the information to make better management decisions.

Integrating Poverty Assessment into Client Assessment: SEEP Progress Note No. 1

This is a good resource for FSPs thinking through what “poverty” means in practice. The note broadly addresses the use of poverty assessment data in daily practice of an FSP. However, in the context of defining target clients, FSPs with explicit “poverty-focused” missions would benefit from the useful typology of poverty levels to be found in table 2.

Building Customer Loyalty: Technical Guide No. 2

This is an excellent general resource on understanding the client-FSP relationship. Part 1 makes the business case for enhancing client loyalty. Part 4 considers measuring loyalty and understanding client exit. Part 6 looks at measuring customer satisfaction. Part 7 provides helpful technical notes to the tool.

Client Satisfaction: SEEP/AIMS tool

The Client Satisfaction Tool is a focus group interview tool that will help users learn the extent to which clients are satisfied with the program and what specific changes would better meet their needs. Starts on page 275 of the handbook.

Client Exit: SEEP/AIMS tool

The Client Exit Survey seeks information about why the client left the program, as well as the client’s opinion about the program and its impact. Starts on page 209 of the handbook.

CGAP Topics: Market Segmentation and Market Research

These pages highlight the importance of each topic, offer insights from CGAP research, and recommend relevant studies, tools, and other resources.

Understanding the Financial Service Needs of the Poor in Mexico

This CGAP publication describes the findings of a CGAP study that surveyed customers to understand their financial habits and needs, as well as the role of finance in their lives. The research techniques and findings are applicable to financial service providers (FSPs) in other markets. Available in English, French and Spanish from the CGAP website.

CGAP’s Applied Product Innovation Program

This page highlights the findings from CGAP’s work in applied product innovation, which aims to understand how customer-centric design methodologies can be tailored to branchless banking in order to create better financial service offerings for the poor.

Tools and Templates

CGAP Customer Experience Toolkit and Workbook

The “customer experience” refers to every interaction customers have with a provider throughout the customer lifecycle. The toolkit discusses practical ways to understand and improve the customers’ experience with financial service providers (FSPs). It offers guidance for understanding customer needs and behaviors, and designing products, channels and experiences that bring value to customers. The accompanying workbook provides printable templates for the ideas discussed in the toolkit.

Client assessment questionnaire

EMFIL (India) uses this questionnaire on all new clients, at the time of their entry, to assess their socioeconomic status. Many of the indicators correspond to the provider's social goals and targets, and the data collected help EMFIL determine whether they are meeting their targets. The questionnaire is also administered to clients during their fourth loan cycle, to measure change in the client’s socioeconomic status over time.

MicroSave toolkit: Market research for microfinance

This toolkit provides Participatory Rapid Appraisal (PRA) tools, including: wealth ranking tools; seasonality, life cycle, and time series tools; and several original PRA tools developed to understand the financial service use, options, and opportunities within communities, including tools for assessing the gender issues and household control of resources. It also offers examples of analysis matrices to help organize and process information generated by each tool. The tools can be changed, combined, and adapted to examine areas of specific of interest to the market researcher.

Client satisfaction survey (Al Majmoua, Lebanon)

This client satisfaction survey tool can be downloaded and adapted by other providers; the tool itself focuses mostly on issues around convenience and the staff-client relationship, but provides a good foundation for getting at satisfaction issues.

Client exit survey (Al Majmoua, Lebanon)

This client exit survey tool can be downloaded and adapted by other providers; the tool itself gets at issues around both needs and preferences.

Client exit and satisfaction monitoring tools (People's Bank of Caraga, the Philippines)

This tool includes a form to facilitate routine client exit monitoring by loan officers. The client satisfaction survey is carried out on a random sample of clients by research staff. Interestingly, the satisfaction survey includes visual elements.

Client Protection Questions to Ask Clients

This is a list of questions that survey designers can use to find out from clients how they are being treated and served by the financial service provider.

Potable water client survey (Alternativa, Peru)

This potable water client survey was designed to probe clients' potable water needs around access, sanitation and sanitary risk. Applied before offering a loan product for safe water. In Spanish.

Case Studies

Peoples Bank of Caraga listens to Members: Customer Satisfaction Survey

This case study looks at the Customer Satisfaction Survey designed by PBC (Philippines). This survey relates to the essential practices on understanding how the different types of clients (women, men, type of business, etc.) use products and services; and their satisfaction level).

Al Majmoua Client Satisfaction and Client Exit Surveys

This case study provides a practical overview of how Al Majmoua (Lebanon) developed and implemented quantitative client satisfaction and client exit surveys, building on its previous work collecting qualitative client feedback data.

Arvand Tajikistan: Using mystery shopping to understand clients

The case of MDO Arvand (Tajikistan) highlights how a provider can use market research techniques to understand clients’ needs and preferences for products and services, and use that information to drive improvements.