In this blog, we will explore the advantages of having a mobile app for field collections with offline capability for financial service providers in Africa.
Financial service providers in Africa most often rely on field collection agents to collect outstanding payments from their customers in remote areas. While this approach is effective – but expensive, it can be challenging to manage and track these collections activities.
This is where the benefits of having a mobile app with offline capability come in.
While first world economies expect access to internet points wherever they are, the story is very different in Africa, particularly in rural areas where access to the internet is limited or non-existent. In these cases, collectors can be offline for days which may make their task that much harder if the available technology is unable to serve them. Offering an offline mode capability on the other hand allows collectors to work uninterrupted with the same features as if the collector was in online mode. As soon as collectors reach an internet connection they are then able to synchronise their phone with a centralised server – the benefit to the collector being efficiency and time savings as well as accurate data input.
Field collections can be time-consuming and labour-intensive, but a mobile app can automate many of the processes involved. With an app, agents can quickly and accurately capture customer data, record payments and take pictures of assets or documents and upload to core systems. This improved efficiency allows agents to collect more payments in less time, increasing the productivity of the field collection team.
Manual collection processes can be prone to errors, such as incorrect data entry or miscalculations. However, a mobile app can reduce errors by automating the data capture and calculation process. This reduces the risk of errors, improving the accuracy of the collection process and reducing the need for follow-up visits to correct mistakes.
Handling cash in remote areas can be risky, but a mobile app can reduce this risk. With an app, agents can securely capture payments or arrangements. This improved security reduces the risk of theft and protects both the agent and the customer. In the event of collecting cash, the transaction can be logged immediately, providing the client with a system activated receipt (SMS or Email), and ensuring that the agent make the necessary deposit.
Real-time Data Management
With a mobile app, financial service providers can manage field collections in real-time or near real-time. The app can capture data and sync it with the cloud when an internet connection becomes available. This real-time data management enables financial service providers to track field collections more effectively, monitor agent performance, and make data-driven decisions.
Geolocation logging is the process of capturing and storing location data using a mobile device’s GPS or other location services. Mobile app geolocation logging can assist an agent in determining the fastest and most appropriate route to take to customers and it can rank customers in order to prioritise visitations. Geolocation logging also assists a company in ensuring that actions occurred at the correct location and provide alternative location data where there is no formal address.
Improved Regulatory Compliance
Financial service providers in Africa must comply with various regulations, such as KYC (know your customer) requirements. A mobile app can help financial service providers meet these requirements by capturing customer data and verifying it against government-issued IDs. This improved regulatory compliance protects financial service providers from fines and reputational damage.
In summary, these benefits translate to increased revenue, customer satisfaction, and long-term business returns that far outweigh any pen and paper solution!