Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Case Study: Measuring Client Satisfaction

A microfinance bank in North Africa conducted a series of focus groups with existing customers to determine their satisfaction with current products. Initially, they had lumped their clients into one segment. However, during the course of the pre-test focus groups, they discovered that they had three distinct client segments with very different wants and needs.

Their female clients were happy with the savings requirements and cared most about having the loan delivered to their homes, but they needed more “income smoothing” loans. The male clients with traditional microloan sizes had neutral feelings about the savings, and cared the most about speed of delivery. The male clients with larger loans, in the small enterprise range, didn’t like the savings requirements at all, preferring to invest their savings in their own business, where they could achieve a greater return. This group was also the most sensitive to price.

As the bank expanded their focus groups beyond the pre-test phase, they organized the groups by segment in order to get data by client group. They further segmented their data by geographic region, recognizing that urban borrowers were different from their rural borrowers. Through these segmented focus groups, they learned that in urban areas, in order to keep their larger clients happy, they’d have to address the savings issue and examine their pricing. They also realized that they would have to pay greater attention to speed of loan delivery for their microloans targeting urban men, and that there was an opportunity to expand their lending to urban women through supplementary education and housing loans.

Discussion questions:
1) What other client data might the managers want to understand by segment?
2) How often should the MFI conduct client satisfaction focus groups?

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