BFA and MetLife Foundation created OPTIX to support financial institutions in building better portfolios of products for their low-income customers. OPTIX stands for Optimizing Performance Through Improved Cross(X)-Sell. Since 2015, BFA has been collaborating with four financial institutions in four markets to build and strengthen a suite of quality financial offerings for their low-income clients. BFA designed the project with the goal of equipping these four institutions with the analytical tools, technical know-how and a set of ongoing peer relationships to better serve their clients through targeted products and delivery channels to optimize the institutions’ performance and broaden the portfolios of the poor. In addition to managing the relationships with the institutions, BFA advises on data analysis, business case development and client research and on the implementation of cross-sell strategies with the four institutions.
Financial institutions are continually looking for new ways to engage clients. Institutions turn to cross-sell to engage clients in order to increase their share of clients’ savings (“wallet share”), improve client retention and achieve higher financial returns. And yet, in attempting to sell multiple products to clients, institutions do not always consider the intrinsic needs of the clients they are seeking to engage. The intent of cross-sell is well-meaning, perhaps, because there is an inherent assumption that certain products should be “good” for clients. However, because such assumptions are not backed by hard data or deep client insights, the products offered may not be relevant enough for clients, leaving them unused by clients and expensive for institutions.
With the OPTIX program, we have developed typologies that look closely at cross-sell patterns across a suite of products. This provides us with a view of which product seems to be an “entry way” to use of other products and which cross-sells seem to persist in terms of client use or renewal of credit or term products. At the core of this analysis is the notion of product uptake progression. We often see that there are gateway products that clients tend to start with. They then either branch out to a basket of other products, or continue to take the same product again and again, especially if it is of limited term.