The engagement gap between customers and providers is among the key challenges to increasing uptake and use of financial services and ultimately achieving financial inclusion. Juntos has developed a tool that aims to address this gap by taking advantage of behavioral research and design, technology, customer data analytics, and “real-time customer interaction.” The automated and low-touch way of increasing engagement enabled by the tool makes it an appealing solution for financial service providers (FSPs) that are struggling to increase customer activity.
With only limited experience but growing international interest to apply the new tool, this case study intends to describe the Juntos platform (hereinafter referred to as “Juntos Finanzas”), how it works, what it can and cannot do, some early results, and some issues arising from initial implementations. The case is based on interviews with Juntos staff and FSPs that have started to test and implement the platform in their organizations. CGAP is particularly interested to explore the role a platform like Juntos Finanzas can play in facilitating customer empowerment. To what extent can an almost fully automated system build customer trust and confidence? How does the two-way interaction affect customer behavior and do changes in customer behavior last beyond the deployment of the tool? How much customization would a platform like Juntos Finanzas require for application in other countries and organizational types? How do FSPs view this platform, and what challenges arise in its implementation?
For some of these questions, answers are not yet available. Data and evidence are limited given the short track record and life span of some of the applications. However, FSPs interested in exploring a solution like Juntos Finanzas may find lessons learned thus far to be useful.
The Juntos Finanzas platform enables automated two-way conversations with customers; the model is informed by behavioral science and design. Juntos Finanzas communicates with customers through SMS and adapts the frequency and content of messages based on customers’ reactions. FSPs can engage Juntos to achieve specific targets that then guide and shape the messages developed by Juntos. These targets could be linked, for instance, to drive uptake and use of existing or new products or cross-sell products and services. The underlying assumption is that a platform like Juntos Finanzas and the tailored interaction it can generate helps customers feel more confident in interacting with their providers and builds a longer-term relationship with customers, through conversations that are designed to change specific customer behavior over time.