Standard 3b

The provider's products, services, and delivery channels are designed to benefit clients, in line with the provider's social goals. 

Client-centered design means thinking through how to reduce barriers to financial access, as well as helping clients to cope with risk and emergencies, and invest in opportunities. Use these resources to help your institution turn insights about clients into smart product design and effective delivery. 


Guidance on Standard 3B

Appropriate product design: Smart Campaign training resource (PPT)

This presentation looks at how to put appropriate product design principles into practice, considering issues around product selection, design and delivery. It also looks at reducing design barriers for clients. These presentations can be used in group training sessions in which the facilitator and presenters are physically present, or in virtual learning sessions, such as webinars.

Smart Operations

Financial service providers (FSPs) must involve employees from every operational area in an effort to achieve adequate client  protection. Rather than designating client protection as a “special project” to select employees, FSPs should ensure that each department has specific client protection responsibilities. This tool suggests appropriate roles for 11 of the most common areas of microfinance operations. FIs can use this tool to assign client protection responsibilities to each operational department and to understand how responsibilities are shared among operational departments.

Smart Microinsurance: An Overview for Microfinance Institutions on Incorporating Client Protection Practices into Microinsurance

“Smart Microinsurance”1is designed specifically for financial service providers that serve as intermediaries, offering microinsurance products provided by an external insurance company. It describes how a provider can protect clients at every service point in the insurance process.

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.

Human-centred design toolkit

This open-source toolkit walks users through the human-centered design process and supports them in activities such as building listening skills, running workshops, and implementing ideas — all of which can generate insights into clients’ lives that can be turned into effective product design.

Banking on Youth - A Guide to Developing Innovative Youth Savings Programs

This Women's World Banking publication is a guide for deposit-taking providers in any stage of youth savings program development––from those simply exploring the possibility of introducing youth savings, to those already offering youth products but looking for new ideas and strategies to improve performance.

Portfolio Analytics Toolkit

This Women's World Banking toolkit can help management to make better decisions on lending methodologies, portfolio quality, and credit policies, as well as to understand the suitability of certain products and to analyze performance against the mission.

Fonkoze: Guide for Credit Agents — Evaluating Clients for Fonkoze’s Post-Disaster Recovery Program

This guide details how Fonkoze evaluated clients for inclusion in their post-earthquake loan program. It is a great example for how to design a post-crisis client evaluation tool and process.

Case Studies

Small changes, big impact: case study on KAWOSA, Tanzania
This case study describes the simple, practical steps that KAWOSA, a small savings and credit cooperative in Tanzania, put in place to improve its outreach to excluded people, provide more effective services, and minimise the risk of harm. Specific areas of focus were adjusting a product design to address the exclusion of target clients caused by membership fees, and adjustments to policies, training, and products, to do more to help members cope with unexpected problems.

Turning client focus into commercial success: The role of quick wins and SPM mentoring in UGAFODE, Uganda

This case study documents UGAFODE’s journey into SPM, which was focused around two key questions: what are we trying to do for our clients, and how can we be more effective in doing it? These questions provided a useful lens through which to bring deeper research, experience and reflection to three key aspects of their social mission: increasing access, increasing benefits, and improving client service to protect clients from harm.

Small Enterprise Foundation (SEF): Truelift case study

This case study looks at how SEF South Africa puts its commitment to poverty reduction into practice, including deliberate outreach to poor communities using a Participatory Wealth Ranking exercise, services designed to meet the unique needs of its poor clients, and tracking changes in clients' poverty over time.

Smart Note: Appropriate Product Design at Musoni

This case study demonstrates how Musoni, Kenya use mobile technology to deliver convenient, flexible, and reliable loans to low-income people.

Improving poverty outreach: How MicroLoan Foundation Malawi achieved buy-in and operational change

This case study focuses on the process MicroLoan has undergone in Malawi to improve its outreach to poorer women and effect institutional change to achieve its social aims in practical terms and better meet the needs of the vulnerable clients it works with.

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. 

Microfinance for Decent Work - Enhancing the impact of Microfinance: Evidence from an action research programme (Internanal Labour Organization)

This paper presents the results of ILO action research to assess how financial service providers (FSPs) can use their relationship with entrepreneurs to improve the plight of workers in the informal economy. Data from 16 FSPs provides examples of successful interventions and lessons learned in the areas of eliminating child labour among client businesses, fostering the formalization of client enterprises, reducing client vulnerability and enhancing business performance through improved working conditions.