September 2019

by Miguel Wolfrum Caeiros and Bob van der Vleuten, Craft Apps team (tailored data solutions). 

 

Excerpt Automating performance reports and empowering employees with their own performance data on a daily basis makes a rewards scheme more transparent.

 

Riaktr worked on making rewards schemes transparent via an automated performance dashboard for an in-house call center managing more than 2.000 call center agents, operating 7 days a week. The tool produces reports with one click, while it previously took the managers 10 days to source data, clean it, and make a report. The call center agents themselves also get access to their own performance dashboard. This creates more transparency about the reward scheme than before when employees had no visibility on their day-to-day performance.

 

A Reward scheme should be effortless, simple and transparent

 

When we met Matima Mathonsi, Senior Customer Care Manager at MultiChoice (Africa’s leading entertainment company), for the first time, he had a clear idea of what he wanted for the 2.000 call center agents he was in charge of: he wanted his agents to deliver the best customer service, day in, day out.

 

Therefore, he had launched an incentives program that was monitoring a set of metrics and rewarding the best performers each month. But to get the incentives out, he first had to get data from various sources and then clean and consolidate everything manually. It took him at least 10 days to complete his performance report every month

 

Actually, before Matimba, other call center managers had tried to track the performance of their agents for many years, but the result of these internal projects never delivered the expected value to the business.

 

Matimba’s attempt was no exception:

 

      The effort required to gather the needed data was painful and time-consuming

      Performance reports and incentives were only released once a month

      Call center agents were frustrated to not be able to change their behavior on time and catch up on their performance, since they had no visibility before the report was released

 

Matimba’s vision was to have a simple dashboard that would allow his agents to check their performance every day at the start of their shift. The dashboard would tell where they stood in the run for the rewards and how they compared to the rest of their team. Overall, this would make the reward scheme more transparent to everybody.

 

Riaktr was called to execute this vision. The key motivation was that Multichoice had tried, over many years, to resolve the issue internally, and that they needed someone to bring in fresh eyes and technical capabilities to automate these performance reports and make performance data accessible and transparent to everybody through a simple user interface.

 

“I believe that fresh eyes, a fresh approach, is a working factor, because if you do everything yourself, you run the risk of having the same kind of thinking, the same kind of approach.”

Matimba Mathonsi,  Senior Customer Care Manager at MultiChoice

 

Watch Matimba’s interview about the Multichoice project on building  a transparent rewards scheme: 

 


Our 3 steps to building automated performance dashboards

 

At Riaktr,  we don’t stop until the solution works. We have a specific approach to getting to the bottom of a problem in order to develop a solution for users. Our focus starts with the user, not from the technology. To build automated performance dashboards, we followed 3 steps:

 

1. Workshops with users and managers

 

We knew, from the start, that the solution had to be powerful but flexible because of changing business needs. In order to fully grasp the department’s needs and pain points, we started with a series of workshops. They were organized with a panel of stakeholders, going from the floor agents all the way up to the call center managers.

 

The first goal of the workshops was to understand the daily job of the call center agents and to understand how their performance was evaluated by their manager. Then, we determined the goals they wanted to achieve with our help. We asked a lot of questions to get to the root of the problem. We spent some time identifying the KPI’s that they wanted to track together. All the information that we collected clarified the requirements and began to unlock some solutions already.

 

We learned that both groups were frustrated, the agents who would only learn about their performance at the end of the month and the managers who were losing valuable time trying to get the data, clean it, and consolidate it. Both parties wanted simple and timely access to their KPI data.

 

Spending time with the agents and their managers enabled us to gain an in-depth understanding of their behavior, beliefs, and level of data proficiency. Thanks to this, we knew that we had to develop a straightforward, lean solution that could be used by anyone in the department, regardless of education level.

 

2. Sourcing and reconciling the data

 

As to the backend, the bulk of our effort focused on finding out where we could source the data, who was responsible for this data, etc. Since there had been no previous integration, we had to investigate all the sources, clean the data, and automate it to our engine on a daily basis. We also decided to go for a simple modular approach, allowing MultiChoice to “plug and play” data sources and KPI’s when needed. This way, our solution could easily evolve with changing business requirements.

 

3. Building the dashboards

 

We held additional workshops to design the perfect dashboard that any agent could easily and quickly understand. The goal was that they could check it on a daily basis before their shift in one click. We adopted a very lean user interface that displays only the relevant information that helps the agent understand how (s)he is performing on a month-to-date basis and helps to achieve monthly targets. The display is straightforward and does not require a high level of data proficiency to understand.

 

“The biggest gain coming from this project was the data visibility to everyone.”

Matimba Mathonsi,  Senior Customer Care Manager at MultiChoice

 

Securing adoption among users

 

The final step was to make sure that the 2.000 agents actually started using the solution on a daily basis. A good training was critical to the project’s success. For this purpose, we were suggested to use a gamification strategy led by a partner. To ensure that the staff understood 100% of the dashboard’s features, the dashboards were transformed into physical gameboards. A few cases were simulated on these gameboards with the agents. The gameboards showed the interface but no data was filled in. Agents received data clues and had to place it on the gameboard. We played this game in various scenarios to familiarize agents with reading the data correctly.

The approach proved to be successful, and soon after, all the agents started accessing the dashboard at the beginning of every shift.

 

Conclusion

 

Today, the Call Center at Multichoice has been using the tool for more than 1,5 years. The rewards scheme has become more transparent to everybody, thanks to the automated performance dashboards. The adoption was a success; the dashboards have had more than 200.000 views so far! In addition, agents reported that they were no longer frustrated since they can know, at any moment, how well they are performing against their targets and peers. Also, managers were happy that they did not have to spend time making reports. Instead, everybody can focus on improving customer service.

 

 “I really would say that Riaktr took us out of a very dark place. Now it’s refreshing—we can see where we’re going. It’s quite exciting.”

Matimba Mathonsi,  Senior Customer Care Manager at MultiChoice

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About the authors

Bob

Bob van der Vleuten

Project Manager for Craft Apps team

Miguel

Miguel Wolfrum Caeiros  

Big data consultant for Crafts Apps team