Uniting Tech and Touch: Why Centaur Products Are Better for Consumers and Providers – Evidence from Kenya

What does effective human touch look like in Kenya's digital age?

CFI Fellow Alexis Beggs Olsen investigates Kenya’s digital financial services (DFS) landscape, the reasons why customers still desire human touch, and the innovative ways in which FSPs integrate human interfaces into their digital product offerings to better serve customers. In Uniting Tech and Touch: Why Centaur Products Are Better for Consumers and Providers, Evidence from Kenya, Alexis takes us along the customer journeys of Kenyan DFS users to illuminate the circumstances where they prefer human touch, the variations in customer preferences across demographic characteristics, and the particular pain points of low-touch digital loans, savings and insurance products.

Alexis finds that although Kenyans are comfortable conducting transactions digitally, other key aspects of the financial service customer journey are not adequately handled by digital means alone. Based on 104 in-depth qualitative interviews, Alexis discovers that Kenyans particularly want human touch for three reasons:

1. To verify the legitimacy of the FSP
2. To fully understand the product
3. To resolve problems or complaints

To address these needs, Alexis recommends “centaur” solutions—ones that combine human and digital interfaces—to provide valuable human interaction to customers where it is needed most, while improving customer acquisition and retention in the process. FSPs, their customers, and the financial inclusion community can benefit from leveraging centaur solutions that combine the best of tech and touch to convert customers who are currently uncomfortable with these digital interfaces into regular digital financial services users.







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