This report provides a synthesis of learning from this research. Separate reports for each country provide more detailed description and analysis in India, Cote d’Ivoire, and the Philippines.
The research discussed in this report focused on two questions:
- What does empowerment look like from a customer perspective? Or, more specifically, what factors affect choice, use, and voice in relation to financial services?
- What is the customer journey to empowerment? What are the key drivers of increasing (or reducing) empowerment, and what potential role does an FSP have in supporting this?
The concept of empowerment or what makes you empowered is difficult to describe and cannot be meaningfully asked as a direct question. Empowerment is not a state of being—i.e., it is not something that is present or not—it is something that evolves over time, and the articulation of this process occurs along a continuum. There are structures that block and enable. Empowerment is the result of both internal and external factors and must therefore be understood in relation to the service provider and other actors, as well as the specific context of the customers.
The approach adopted was to break down empowerment into a number of dimensions that relate to the process by which customers engage with financial services. The framework of choice, use, and voice used by CGAP in the definition of customer empowerment proved to be relevant and helpful in exploring the customer experience and perceptions.