The COVID-19 Client Interview Tool for Financial Service Providers
The COVID-19 Client Interview Tool is a set of simple, standardized questions for financial service providers (FSPs) to use when interviewing their clients during the pandemic. The survey questions are designed to produce actionable information for FSPs and their investors. Practitioners are using it to understand the differences among clients and make informed, nuanced decisions about how to serve clients during and after the crisis.
1. Who should use the COVID-19 Client Interview Tool?
2. What data does the interview tool produce?
3. How does an FSP use the tool?
4. What financial support is available for implementation?
5. Who should I contact for help with the tool?
6. How can I share my experience with the SPTF community?
The tool is for FSPs who want to know more about how their clients are experiencing the COVID-19 crisis and to identify specific opportunities to respond. The results will also be useful for investors, country and regional networks, and policymakers. The COVID-19 crisis is rapidly changing, so the tool is designed for regular client monitoring and during the ‘lock-down,’ and later in the recovery phase.
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During the interview, a client is asked to discuss how COVID has impacted their income and livelihood, food security, mental and physical health, and prospects for the future. Other data such as business type, gender, and location, allow for segmentation across important client characteristics.
The interview produces data on who is affected and how, and, if implemented on a regular schedule of 2-4 weeks, how these effects change over time. This survey is designed to help FSPs uncover the differences between clients, such as:
- Which clients still have sufficient income to survive (e.g., receiving remittances) but may require access to financial services such as payments and savings.
- Which clients have a continuing livelihood that will require on-going access to credit.
- Which policy or regulation changes FSPs could promote, in order to benefit clients.
- Which additional forms of support clients need, such as providing information about where they may be able to obtain permits to continue trading, or supporting clients to access social assistance.
An automated Excel dashboard enables users to visualise the results from the tool. This allows for segmentation by gender, age, location and income sources and produces visuals for all of the key questions covered by the tool.
The tool is designed to be quick and simple, so that it can be used through a telephone interview as well as in person. Our short User Guide provides guidance on survey methodology and tips for each interview question. There are three ways to access and use the interview tool:
1. Use the electronic version of the tool: An electronic version of the tool is available on a secure cloud-based platform, where organizations can collect, store, and access their data in a safe and private environment. This platform automatically checks data quality and identifies errors. Users will be provided with a dashboard template for easily summarizing and visualizing their results.
The electronic tool offers the following advantages:
• A private account, accessible only to designated users
• Real-time data quality controls, using customized statistical algorithms
• Survey statistics for monitoring the survey’s implementation
• One-click exporting of data into Excel, SPSS etc. for analysis
To view a demo of the tool, click here. Credentials to log-in:
Specialized expertise is not needed to implement the Client Interview Tool. FSPs can use their own staff to collect the data, either telephonically or in-person, or they may choose to contract a local interviewer if needed. The questions and survey tool are designed for use by non-specialized staff. In the same way, regional or country networks can also use their own staff to conduct the interviews and create reports for member FSPs. The dashboard is designed for ready insights and action by management.
Each organization will retain control and ownership of its own data and can access it at any time. We encourage all SPTF ValiData users to allow the anonymized use of their data for aggregated analysis by SPTF, which will help elevate the voice of customers in this time of need.
2. Hire 60 Decibels: FSPs who want to outsource data collection and analysis can hire 60 Decibels, co-creator of the COVID-19 Client Interview Tool. 60 Decibels is a technology-enabled impact measurement company that specializes in voice-based data collection for social businesses. 60 Decibels has a network of 280+ trained enumerators in 35 countries who conduct social impact and client feedback surveys.
For those FSPs who wish to have an outside organization conduct client-level data collection on their behalf, 60 Decibels offers an end-to-end service that includes all data collection, cleaning, quality-checks, coding of qualitative questions, and analysis. Reports are available to the FSP at regular intervals.
60 Decibels will manage a global dashboard that includes anonymized data shared through the ValiData platform as well as 60 Decibels data collection.
3. Integrate the questions into an existing client data collection process: FSPs can download the Word version of the tool and use this for their own data collection. This includes using the whole tool or pulling questions from the survey and use them as part of their own survey tool. This option allows the organization to modify the questionnaire and use as many or as few of the questions as desired.
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FSPs that need financial assistance for survey implementation can apply to one of three co-financing facilities. Examples of co-financed activities include: employee training, data collection, data analysis, hiring external providers for any part of implementation.
• Responsible Inclusive Finance Facility for Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East/North Africa (RIFF-SSA/MENA)
• Responsible Inclusive Finance Facility for Central America and the Caribbean (RIFF-CAC)
• Responsible Inclusive Finance Facility for Southeast Asia (RIFF-SEA)
Applications are accepted on a rolling basis and most funding decisions are made within two weeks of application submission. SPTF has simplified the application forms during the COVID-19 crisis, to reduce the burden on FSPs. International microfinance networks/associations may apply through a single application on behalf of multiple network partners as well.
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In the coming months, SPTF will share examples of how organizations and clients are responding to COVID-19. If you collect client data—using the SPTF COVID-19 Client Interview Tool or your own survey—please share your experience, especially what actions are you taking to support your clients.
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