This call centre run by
FMFI Syria is helping the institution further its outreach and better understand what its
clients want.At the First MicroFinance Institution Syria (FMFI-S) it was found that beside the branch network, FMFI-S had no other channels in place to sell its products and/or service to its clients. The institution decided that the set-up of a call centre would improve its service and eventually its outreach. International best practices have also shown that for the microfinance client target group, this channel can be very successful and cost effective.
Some seven million Syrians, about 38 percent of the country’s population, have a mobile phone. This makes getting in touch with clients and others who have shown an interest in getting a microfinance loan easier. With the help of the Frankfurt School of Finance & Management, FMFI-S started the process of improving customer service by upgrading the staffs’ skills and reducing loan approval time.
To ensure that the clients were getting the best possible service, FMFI-S established a call centre to handle customer complaints; customer queries; or to get information to dormant clients or to people referred by other clients.
The call centre handles product issues including promotional campaigns. This call centre also allows the institution to diversify and expand the SME client base using lower cost solutions than the expansion of the branch network.
By the end of 2010, seven outbound campaigns had been executed. The result of this campaign was that 32 percent of those who were called had a conversation with an FMFI-S staff member. Of this 32 percent, about 10 percent of them went into a branch and got a loan. Although the actual outreach through the call centre only equaled three percent of total loans disbursed, this is expected to increase in the coming months.
All branches have anecdotally noticed that the call centre has played a role in attracting new clients. Though there is an increased traffic burden on the branches, the call centre has contributed to the increasing number of visitors (potential clients) in Damascus and Masyaf branches. The call centre has also helped in achieving the target sales in Lattakia branch during the fourth quarter of 2010.
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