Author: Jeremy Ware
Location: Manila, PH
LocalTime: 9:30

How agile development created an app to support Transcom agents

Within the BPO sector, one of the largest cost drivers is attrition. Fighting attrition is traditionally a very reactive task, trying to derive the reasons why only when an employee has resigned. This brought about the vision for Transcom Buddy, a mobile application where we check how our agents are doing and offer them support in real time, to care for them but also to have an early warning system.

The vision set was quite simple. To create a mobile application that would ask, “How are you feeling today?” on the first login each day. Team Leaders would be able to see the agent sentiments and proactively address any challenges that the agents may have. Since this was unknown territory, we took an agile development approach, and launched a pilot of the app to a smaller test group.

We quickly realized that the first, very basic, version of the app was not sufficient. Our agents are primarily Gen Z or Millennials - raised within the social media environment where communication and entertainment are overlapping. Apart from a simple, intuitive, and visual experience, they needed a reason to open the app and tell us how they were doing. Following the agile approach, we started adding features to drive agents to want and need the application more.

In the second release of the app, we added a new functionality and integrated relevant employee information that we believe created more reasons for agents to log in and stay tuned - while keeping the simple, intuitive, and visual design. This drove usage up by over 50%. However, to get to a 90% utilization rate, we needed to further investigate what the drivers of the low utilization were.

Mobile Operating System Market Share Philippines - August 2019

We looked at the market share date for mobile operating systems and conducted surveys among employees. In the Philippines, Android is by far the largest used platform across our employees, and the general Android models they use had relatively low specifications and limited storage. The second version of the application on Android had an installation size of over 120mb while the iOS version was approximately 80mb. This was putting a number of people off as they wanted to have more storage available for music and photos. In the third release of the application which delivered event management functionality and employees biometric login history, we managed to streamline the installation size to 67mb and 28mb respectively this further increased utilization by 45% overall.

As further feedback is received, the application keeps being enhanced with new functionality, updated themes and added gamification. To support better analysis of user sentiments, an online dashboard was created using AI to identify keywords that agents were commenting. This helped us drive strategic actions to address major pain points.

Even though the testing of T:Buddy started in the Philippines, we knew that the app has far greater potential. We are now looking at rolling it out across several markets, taking the same agile approach. What is the local culture, how do we adapt the features to fit the agents? What are the key technical aspects we need to consider?

Agile development has helped us shape and customize the application and dashboard taking feedback from users and ultimately delivering a more user focused solution – a platform to create smarter experiences for our people and thereby realizing our quest to reduce attrition.