This paper provides an overview of how agents are an essential component of delivering customer value to excluded populations such as informal savers. Based on the experiences of financial service providers (FSPs) in SSA, the paper begins with an introduction to the roles that agents play in delivering customer value – providing liquidity, building trust and promoting product uptake.
It goes on to highlight key strategies for building and managing high-performing agent networks including practical examples and guidance on agent selection and recruitment, agent training, agent monitoring and finally designing incentives to motivate agents. Technology-based solutions such as the use of e-learning apps for training, WhatsApp for agent monitoring, and real-time data dashboard for liquidity and performance management can help providers adopt a data driven approach to managing and growing their agent networks and delivering value to customers. This data driven approach can also be leveraged to design incentives structures to motivate agents and scale agent networks to reach more informal savings mechanisms (ISMs) who would not have access to formal financial services otherwise.