Angie Fu
CGAP + Amret MFI
Project Background partnered with Amret MFI—a Cambodian microfinance institution—to support and guide the implementation of a new group savings tool aimed at enabling migrant workers and their rural families to contribute towards a family goal with mobile money. Our team for this stewardship phase consisted of a project lead, a business designer, and myself as an interaction designer, in partnership with CGAP, the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor starting in April of 2016.
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Interaction design
UX design
Interactive prototyping
Communication design
Theory of Change
The garment industry in Cambodia employs about 600,000 workers—largely young women belonging to the bottom of the pyramid who migrate from their rural communities to find work. Often, these workers have a duty to remit a portion of their income to their families back home where it’s saved for family-oriented goals like livestock, weddings, land, etc. In early 2016, partnered with Amret MFI to establish and design a group savings product to better facilitate this type of savings behavior, allowing families to contribute towards their own goals together and developing a positive savings record—opening up more possibilities to access financial health services like agricultural loans.
Design challenge
As Amret was preparing their rollout plan, it became evident that their mobile agent network (agents who ride via motorcycle to help customers make deposits, withdrawals, etc.) were not equipped with the training or tools to effectively market the new service, or perform the added responsibilities for the service itself. To understand the issues the agent workforce was facing and make the right recommendations to increase efficiency, we asked the guiding question:
How might we equip Amret’s mobile agents with better tools to manage their responsibilities and market new products?
Gathering feedback from an agent focus group
Shadowing transactions to a rural home
Journey mapping
We held focus groups with agents in two different districts to get a better understanding of what each day looks like and how each agent manages their customer relationships. Together, we went through a journey mapping exercise to learn the specifics about timing—how long one spends in transit, how much time gets spent acquiring new customers, marketing new services, and how long is devoted to servicing existing customers.
Through this we learned that these mobile agents were spending 20-40% of each work day just getting from one customer to another, and adding more responsibilities on top of their existing customer base wouldn’t be possible given an 8-9 hour work schedule.
Shadowing transactions
On top of our focus group exercises we rode with agents to shadow their transactions throughout the day. It became abundantly clear that the relationships between agent and customer went far beyond just transactions. Agents had developed such a level of trust that customers would hand over their cash deposit and walk away for up to 10 minutes, leaving agents to complete the transaction without supervision. I paid particular attention to the interaction between agents and their mobile payments app, timing the speed of transactions and jotting down potential usability improvements.
Agents worked hard to maintain these trusted relationships with customers, and face to face interactions were at the core. Since agents were already dealing with an overflowing set of responsibilities, adding anything more seemed to come in direct competition with this quality time.
  • For existing customers where trust has already been forged, how can agents market new services without compromising the quality and time dedicated to existing ones?
  • For new customers, what tools will help agents more efficiently and effectively communicate the value of their services?
Asking garment workers to rank value propositions
To answer these more pointed questions, I created provocational prototypes to test with agents, existing customers, and non-Amret customers. They were aimed at understanding what types of tools would streamline with agent’s current way of working, and what types of communications would compel customers to adopt new services.
Digital tools
I designed two interactive, digital prototypes that enabled agents to quickly enter in customer information to produce savings information unique to the family or individual. One of our primary learning objectives was understanding the digital literacy level of agents, and how we could improve usability based on their needs. After hearing their feedback and asking them to roleplay it’s potential use, I made adjustments to the design to be more visual such that lower literacy customers could better relate to the on-screen information.
In addition, I created two sets of targeted posters to test messaging and imagery that resonated with garment workers in urban, and families in rural. We did a series of voting and sorting exercises to learn what specific features of the group savings product stood out, and what types of personal or emotional affiliations there were with the messaging.
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