MFIN India and Dvara Research partner to gather insights on users’ experience of navigating the MFIN-Customer Grievance Redress Mechanism (MFIN-CGRM). The study deploys mixed methods — a primary survey of over 300 users, stakeholder interviews and desk research to understand the user-centricity of the MFIN-CGRM. The concept of user-centricity is anchored in nine attributes of Accessibility, Seamlessness, Proactive Communication, Cost-effectiveness and Timeliness, Personal Data Protection, Objectivity, Independence in the Operation of the GRM, Accountability of the GRM and Capacity Building. These attributes together comprise Dvara Research’s framework for designing user-centric grievance redress mechanisms.
The study finds that the MFIN-CGRM demonstrates an incisive understanding of the lived context of its user base. This is manifest in the simple, costless, multilingual, toll-free phone-based channels to access the CGRM. The registration process appears simple, without undue procedural complications or the tendency to collect excessive data and accepts complaints regardless of how old they might be. Most users report being able to register complaints in one attempt and few hesitate in airing grievances on account of a backlash for doing so. Where users are unaware of the procedure, the MFIN-CGRM expends a sizeable effort in familiarising users with it. It also maintains provisions to fast-track critical complaints. Further, when grievances against a particular provider surge, the CGRM escalates the matter to the Enforcement Committee which may take disciplinary actions against the provider. These disciplinary actions are also reported to the RBI, over and above the quarterly reports that the MFIN-CGRM furnishes with the RBI. In addition to reporting to the RBI, the MFIN-CGRM also publishes annual reports in the public domain which share metadata on the trend of grievances and policy takeaways that surface from their analysis.
To further bolster user-centricity, the MFIN-CGRM may consider focussing on five key aspects.
First, there appears to be a gender gap in the access to the CGRM. Even when most MFI customers are women, most callers are male. This merits further investigation. Second, there is scope to complement the toll-free phone-based CGRM with instant message-based channels such as WhatsApp. These channels are now embedded in the daily lives of users and receive high engagement from them. They can also double up as channels to disseminate information to the users and elicit feedback from them. Third, contingent on the call volumes rising in the future, the MFIN-CGRM may consider adopting technology that would enable it to direct callers to relevant venues of grievance redress. When callers need to be redirected to the provider MFI GRM, MFIN may consider being able to transfer them directly or even auto-escalate the complaint to the RBI-IO on behalf of the user. Developments in ODR have led to availability of softwares that offer these functionalities and substantially reduce the burden on the user. Fourth, the MFIN-CGRM can better serve users by proactively, voluntarily, and timely communicating with them. Currently, all communication barring post-resolution verification calls, is initiated by the user. The instant message-based service over SMS or internet-enabled providers can prove to be effective in this regard. Finally, MFIN-CGRM may consider communicating its data protection policies more actively with the user and plug gaps in data protection practices. These recommendations are discussed in considerable detail in this brief. Overall, judicious use of technology and social media can enhance the user-centricity of the MFIN-CGRM.
Read the full report here.
 The authors thank Srikara Prasad and Shreya Ravi for their contributions to the project and its related research.
Cite this report:
Singh, A., & Chugh, B. (2023). Unpacking user-centricity of the MFIN Customer Redress Mechanism (MFIN-CGRM). Retrieved from Dvara Research.
Singh, Anubhutie and Beni Chugh. “Unpacking user-centricity of the MFIN Customer Redress Mechanism (MFIN-CGRM).” 2023. Dvara Research.
Singh, Anubhutie, and Beni Chugh. 2023. “Unpacking user-centricity of the MFIN Customer Redress Mechanism (MFIN-CGRM).” Dvara Research.