On May 6, 2021, EFInA hosted a workshop to discuss an ethnographic study on financial service agents in Nigeria as well as some of the findings from the 2020 Financial Service Agent Survey. The ethnographic study explored how social factors and gender dynamics influence financial service agents’ business operations, customer engagement and agent deployment models. This study also shared insights on agent compliance with existing policies and regulations, Covid-19 impact on businesses and their road to recovery.
Some of the key takeaway and recommendations from the study were:
- Financial service providers could leverage staff referral systems for agent onboarding processes. This will aid FSPs scope and pitch to high-performing businesses within their community and recruit these businesses as agents.
“Customers said that they prefer female agents as they believe them to be more attentive, approachable, patient, and diligent during agent-customer interactions.”
- Agents set customer fees per transaction based on the location’s current service prices. More research is needed to determine the true cost to serve and cost to consume, which will be followed by robust pricing strategies that benefit both the demand and supply sides of the industry.
- Trust is a major motivator for the adoption and utilization of agent services. Providers should think about recognizing and rewarding agent businesses that have earned their trust.
- Agents are currently exploring other opportunities for rebalancing such as peer-to-peer agent transfers and funds transfers from personal accounts. There is an opportunity for innovations that facilitate agent peer to peer rebalancing and education.
- Agents continue to face challenges such as poor network connectivity, fraudulent behaviour, and a lack of power supply to charge their gadgets.
- Most agent business transactions peaked during the lockdown periods due to the movement restrictions but with the easing of these Covid-19 preventive measures customers are now open to multiple banking channels for transactions. It is important to FSPs to continuously innovate strategies to improve agent business operations post-pandemic
- Social factors intersected with agent business operations, influencing customer experience when interacting with the agent. As a result, when deploying agents, agent network providers should take these social factors into account.
- It is critical to investigate and support the drivers of agent-customer relationships to increase the adoption of digital financial services in Nigeria.
See the webinar presentation below:
How Social Dynamics Influence Agent Operations Presentation
The link to the agent-customer interaction video: https://youtu.be/BjRSsFe6AXQ