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Lesson 13

Adopting a client-driven approach

Picture of a TruMFI staff meeting

Do you remember TruMFI, the Totally Rural MFI, that you met in Lesson 9? They were required to find a way to reduce their dependence on subsidies and came up with a plan to reduce their costs and increase their income, which included doubling their client numbers. So the TruMFI staff realised they would have to think harder about what the customers wanted and how they could “sell” their products more effectively.

In this lesson you can join the TruMFI staff as they ponder what makes people buy one thing rather than another and how an understanding of the four “Ps” - product, price, place and promotion - is essential to help them analyse their customers’ needs. What is a product mix in microfinance? How is place important to financial service customers? Are pricing policies as transparent as they should be? Are there any indirect costs to the customers? What are the best ways to promote financial services?

This lesson will provide you with practical examples of how an MFI can undertake market research and design financial services to meet the needs of their clients more effectively. Becoming client-focused is essential for business survival and for maintaining the social mandate of institutions committed to reaching poorer sectors of society. It is not without costs and it is not always possible to give clients what they want. However, it is important to listen and to adapt to client demand as long as it is both practicable and profitable.

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