In our last blog post about “How to build an Agent Network” we talked about Agent Recruitment. As we’ve seen Agents are fundamental for the delivery of digital services in remote and rural areas, boosting Financial Inclusion in these communities.
Their recruitment process must have a well-defined strategy and be carefully conducted, being the first stepping stone to build a successful and viable Agent Network.
Once you’ve identified and selected the best Agents, according to regulations guidelines and your business goals and values, it’s time for Agent Onboarding.
This blog post is the second part of our 3-part blog series on “How to build an Agent Network”, which is based on the Policy Framework document by the African Financial Inclusion Policy Initiative (AfPI).
What is Agent Onboarding?
Agent Onboarding is the process that goes from the moment the selected Agents sign the agency agreement until they are ready to the activation phase, including the collection of the Agent’s info and documents and their kick-off training.
This is a crucial step when building an Agent Network, setting the foundation for the Agents’ performance in the long run, since it’s the moment Agents get to know in-depth the services they’ll be selling and their responsibilities on behalf of the DFS provider. For this reason, careful training is important to prepare them to offer high-quality services to the customers.
3 Key Steps to a Successful Agent Onboarding
In this blogpost we’ll guide you through the steps and share the best practices to a seamless Agent Onboarding:
1. Sign the Agency Agreement
This is the moment the Onboarding starts.
If the Agent agrees to proceed, it’s mandatory by Regulation to sign an Agreement that contains the reference to the Agents’ and the DFS provider’s responsibilities and roles. All terms must be clearly defined in the document.
This Agreement must detail the following points: products, pricing and fee, risk mitigation, confidentiality, business hours, remuneration, contract termination and safekeeping of all the records.
Also, you must keep in mind that the Agreement must not contain any clause of exclusivity. A best practice to ensure that the Agents promote your services over your competitors is through an incentive system, and should never be a part of the Agreement.
2. Create the Agent ID with a “Know Your Agent” registration model
After signing the Agreement, to get a formal registration and licensing of the Agents, you’ll need to create a unique agent ID for each Agent.
In this step, having the right tools is very important to successfully collect the Agents’ information and documents with full compliance and security.
When you take a manual approach to the Agent Onboarding process, there are some challenges that can lead to Agents’ loss of motivation, such as:
Costs to collect info and documentation
Duplicated info and documents across departments and systems
Long waiting times and Errors in Manual document checks
For a fast and seamless agent onboarding, the best option is a software that follows a “Know Your Agent” model in order to enable an Agent Onboarding process in real-time.
A “Know Your Agent” model follows the same guidelines as a Know Your Customer (KYC), using advanced digital ID registration and verification capabilities, such as document capture and biometric data collection. Digital tools allow you to keep records and create a database of your Agent Network with their GPS locations.
3. Train your Agents to optimize results
Now that Agents have signed the agreement and have their unique ID, the next step is to organize training sessions. This training can be at a central location or at the Agent’s location, for a more realistic field experience on the daily challenges they might find.
According to Regulation, it is mandatory that the training covers the following content:
- Agent responsibilities and obligations
- KYC regulations and customer registration requirements
- Transaction processes
- Prohibition of transacting on behalf of customers
- Using and troubleshooting devices to be used to conduct transactions
- Reporting fraudulent transactions (AML & CFT guidelines)
- Identifying fake currency
- Proper maintenance of record
- Liquidity management
- Customer service
- Consumer protection laws and implications for non-compliance
- Diversity and inclusion concepts and application
- Gender-sensitive financial literacy for customers
Agents taught about gender-sensitive topics and that had service-oriented training have shown to be able to provide more supportive assistance to customers.
A successful initial training sets the tone for Agents’ performance. But research shows that the first three months after the initial training are the most critical for agent drop-out rates.
Pro-tip: keep ongoing training & support after the Onboarding
Another key factor for Agents’ success is to keep them motivated and up to date with new ongoing training and recurring tips to service improvements.
Using a software platform that includes a training area helps avoid an Agent’s chance to drop out or become inactive. That way, as a manager, you can deploy regular refresher training on your Agents’ devices, so they can be trained often and remotely.
Once you’ve covered all these steps, your Agents are ready for activation.
How Can Technology Improve the Agent Onboarding Journey?
As we’ve seen, in points like ID registration and Agent Training, technology can improve the Agent Onboarding journey and ease the process with tools and features like:
Remotely create profiles with unique Agent IDs
Ability to capture and generate contracts documentation and collect other data just like KYC
Create a data base of your Network’s Agents with their GPS location
Have a training area in your agents’ app where you can upload links to documents, videos and other material
The agent journey can be easier when you adopt the right technology. So, it’s essential to look for better ways to onboard agents and reduce the onboarding time, by finding the right platform that meets your business needs and the mandatory requirements.
Use Waynbo as an enabler and accelerator of the Agent Journey
With Waynbo you can upgrade your Network’s Agent Management capabilities through digital transformation. Easily create profiles when onboarding new agents, assign each Agent a device and remotely provide training content.
Book a Demo now and get to know all the features on our platform.
Check the other topics of this 3-part blog post series about How to Build an Agent Network:
Read the first part: Agent Recruitment (Part 1/3)
Read the third part: Agent Network Monitoring and Supervision (Part 3/3)