Social & Environmental ResponsibilitySOCIAL PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT
“With you, for you” is the slogan Amret has used for more than 25 years to show solidarity with clients and commitment to Cambodia’s socioeconomic development. Amret is recognized as the leading institution that was first to foster social performance management towards fulfilling its vision and mission. The Social Performance Management System (SPMS) provides the framework for target setting and for managing and reporting on social performance. Amret has actively and passionately pursued its social mission, paying attention to environmental protection, participating in social welfare activities, donating to educational institutions and welfare agencies, and, most important of all, improving the living standards of its clients'.
SPM INDICATORS AND INITIATIVES
Progress out of Poverty Index (PPI): Amret uses the PPI to gauge the poverty rate of its clients. This tool is a vital component of Amret’s SPMS in tracking trends in clients' socioeconomic status. It also supports product and service developments that can satisfy clients' demands and needs. Through this tool, clients not only have a chance to discuss their livelihood challenges and opportunities, but can also provide feedback on Amret’s products and services.
Amret conducts a client poverty assessment survey every two years. The 2017 survey found that the poverty rate among Amret's low-income clients has fallen by 2.6 percentage points, from 13.4% in 2015 to 10.8% in 2017.
Customer Satisfaction and Exit Survey:Measuring customer satisfaction and customer loyalty is key to achieving Amret’s business goals. Customer feedback collected through annual customer satisfaction and exit surveys provides important insights into any shortcomings or awkwardness in accessing and using Amret’s services and products. Amret adheres to the motto “A customer complaint is a valuable gift, so we must accept it graciously”. Customer feedback helps Amret to continuously improve its products and services and achieve higher customer satisfaction.
Agricultural training: Amret delivered 75 training courses on Best Practices for Rice Production Management, Fertilizer Application, and Vegetable Gardening to 1,652 clients in eight provinces: Banteay Meanchey, Battambong, Kampong Cham, Kampong Thom, Kampong Chhnang, Kampot, Pursat and Thbong Khmum. Training content is regularly updated through collaboration with local government experts and NGOs. Skilled trainers work to build the capacity of smallholders and teach them new skills, techniques and methods so they can improve their productivity and put their farms on a sound business footing. A follow-up study found that 80% of participants have applied the new techniques they acquired from training, 92% reported increased yields, and 78% had shared their new knowledge with other villagers.
Training on Vegetable Growing - A Success Story Mr Moun Rab is a 49-year-old farmer in Sras Chouk Kert village, Phnom Srok commune, Banteay Meanchey province, where he has lived since he and his wife married in 1990. They have three daughters; the eldest married in 2007 and moved to live with her husband in another village and the other two still live in the family home. His main business, which supports seven household members, is cassava farming on a small plot of land.
He took out his first loan from Amret in 2014 as a member of a Solidarity Credit group. The maximum he could borrow at that time was 1,000,000 riels ($250), and he invested it in cassava farming. Every year since, he has taken out a further loan to expand his farming. Despite his hard work, the yields have sometimes barely covered costs. The very low profit created financial distress for his household and made it especially hard for him to meet his loan obligations. However, he did his best to stabilize his family’s finances and managed to make loan payments on time by doing paid work on top of his farming.
His fortunes changed for the better in 2017. “I was invited to join a workshop organized by Amret on cassava growing and fertilizer use, where I learned about new and improved farming methods”, Mr Rab explained. “By using the techniques the trainers told us about, I harvested 40 to 50 percent more cassava than last season, and made a profit of around $375 a hectare. This surprise windfall is what I used to dream about when I first started growing cassava”.
Reflecting on the loan application process, Mr Rab said, “Before giving me a loan, Amret’s staff always carefully explain the loan conditions and repayment methods and often give me useful tips on business planning”. He added, “After receiving my first loan, I was invited to join the Financial Literacy Education program. I especially appreciated the chance to learn about new agricultural methods from knowledgeable trainers.”
These days Mr Rab’s family enjoys a decent standard of living. He has been able to support his middle daughter’s career as a teacher and his youngest daughter’s high school education. And he has never missed a single loan payment.
“The new methods I learned through the training helped me cut costs and increase yields”, he said happily. His enthusiasm has spread to his relatives and other villagers who have learned from his experience and are now using improved farming methods to increase their yields as well.
He was keen for Amret to organize other agricultural workshops in his village, so that he and other villagers can learn even more, saying “When I’ve paid off my current loan, I plan to take out a fifth loan of $2,500 to buy more land and expand my cassava and rice farming”. He said, “I will keep in touch with Amret’s trainers to learn more about good practices in cassava growing and keep up with the latest farming techniques.”
Financial Literacy and Basic Hygiene Education: This program aims to help clients manage their household budget and improve their health and wellbeing. Amret, between January and July, delivered 37 training courses on Debt Management, How to Earn Interest from Saving Money Safely, and Methods of Clean Eating, Drinking and Living to 756 clients in eight provinces: Banteay Meanchey, Battambang, Kampong Cham, Kampong Thom, Kampong Chhnang, Kampot, Pursat and Thbong Khmum. End of year monitoring and evaluation found that some 80% of participants used what they had learned in their everyday life, of whom 90% could manage their household budget effectively and knew how to save money and manage debt, and 89% had shared their new knowledge with others.
Customer care: Amret pays close attention to customers’ needs to deliver beyond their expectations. Frontline staff undergo training to ensure all branches provide the best customer service possible. A warm welcome with a smile and efficient service by courteous staff are at the core of Amret’s customer service excellence. All customers are treated with integrity and respect, without discrimination.
To foster a more customer-centric culture and motivate staff to offer high standards of customer service, outstanding branches receive a performance recognition letter and a financial reward.
Amret’s Customer Experience Day was again marked by top and senior managers greeting and serving customers personally across the branch network. The aim is to show customers that Amret cares, as well as to set best examples of good customer service.