Impact of the IFC training: KCB Bank MSME Customers Story

July 16, 2021

COVID-19 and related restrictions came as a shock to our entire team. We had just finished our first quarter of training sessions in 2020 and we were waiting to get started on the remaining sessions planned for the year. Initially, we assumed that restrictions would be temporary and we’d be back to conducting in-person training sessions in no time. But by mid-April 2020, it became clear that the restrictions were there to stay and our training sessions were not going to happen in the way we had previously imagined.

We quickly set up a WhatsApp group to establish a point of communication with our customers—particularly our SME customers. The most pressing challenge at the time was figuring out a way to continue providing value for our KCB Bank club members, given that training and capacity building was a core activity and enabled knowledge sharing among customers.

The key questions on our minds were: How could we train our customers without face-to-face meetings? What would happen to those who were not tech-savvy? How could we ensure that our training program was impactful if delivered online?

We had very few answers to these questions. Thankfully, the IFC Grow Learn Connect (GLC) program offered training sessions that enabled us to deliver online training. This way of operating was new to all of us. We faced user issues, network issues, mic issues—you name it. Sometimes participants would take an entire session to figure out how to log in and we’d only be able to connect with them at the end of a meeting. It was a steep learning curve for everyone on the team. But gradually, by implementing what we were learning through the GLC program, we started to hold training sessions without disruptions or technical challenges. We managed to retain the interest of our MSME customers who normally are pressed for time and find it difficult to attend physical meetings.

With online training, we have been able to cover different topics at each session and we surpassed the number of training programs that we had been running prior to the pandemic. Despite challenging circumstances that the pandemic brought in its wake, we have managed to deliver close to 80 webinars, reaching over 9,000 MSME customers.

IFC’s Principles of inclusion, scalability, and sustainability have been integral components of our training. The numerous customer feedback surveys that we have conducted indicate that participants found value in our programs. We have seen customers rebrand their businesses, start marketing their products digitally and leverage social media platforms for the promotion. I’ve noticed that a lot of our customers have started to take the KCB Bank Biashara club group seriously and there’s been an increase in networking among members. Customers have shared that they’ve adopted new business practices, started to leverage the bank to increase cash flows, and begun qualifying for higher loans.

Learning opportunities give our MSME customers access to knowledge and best practices: like how to build successful partnerships with clients, merits or demerits of mergers and acquisitions, analyzing expenses, and reducing costs. From the feedback we have been receiving from MSME customers who have attended our training programs, we can tell that we are on the right path and are not just creating value for our customers—but also for the bank and society at large.

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