Mobile penetration is high in Guatemala relative to other markets in Central America, with the number of mobile connections in the country equivalent to 119 percent of the total population. Industry analysts expect mobile penetration to continue growing, driven primarily by strong growth in handset subscriptions. FINCA Guatemala’s customers are part of this trend. The MFI’s customers typically have access to either a feature phone or a smartphone and are regular users of SMS, over-the-top (OTT) communications channels such as WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger, and an abundance of other applications.
With increasing access to technology, FINCA Guatemala has seen a shift in customer demand. Customers are looking to their financial services providers to deliver a rich and personalized customer experience through their mobile device that goes beyond purely transactional communication, such as information on their repayment schedules, and begins incorporating non-transactional communication such as business advice, birthday messages, and holiday wishes.
To meet the demands of the new digital customer, FINCA Forward, one of FINCA’s new programs, evaluated several early-stage communications technology solutions and ultimately selected Salutat, a company that had created a solution specifically for the microfinance market.
Through an Android smartphone-based application, Salutat provides loan officers, as the primary intermediary between an MFI and its customers, with the ability to communicate with their customers using any OTT channel or SMS and an on-the-go live 360-degree view of their customers. To facilitate the customer experience demanded by customers, loan officers can draw on a library of automatically personalized transactional and non-transactional messaging templates.
FINCA Forward implemented a four-month proof-of-concept (POC) of the Salutat solution in Guatemala to explore if these functionalities could deliver a rich, modernized, and personalized customer experience in which individual needs are known and satisfied. The POC proved that Salutat’s solution had the potential to strengthen engagement with customers. Feedback collected from customers confirmed a preference for personalized communication with FINCA through OTT channels as it allowed for a conversational style of engagement with the MFI rather than simply one-way messaging. Non-transactional messages were greatly appreciated by customers and allowed loan officers to build a strong rapport with their active and prospective clients. Finally, the POC demonstrated that communications technology will be vital for advancing FINCA’s tech-touch strategy and that rapid loan officer adoption of this type of technology is possible.
For more information on the FINCA Forward-led POC engagement with Salutat, the impact the solution had on FINCA Guatemala’s operations, and the next steps for both FINCA Guatemala and Salutat, download the full case study here.