Reason behind the request
At first, there wasn’t actually any full-fledged request. One day we were simply chatting with a colleague of ours, CEO of an IT company that provides quite an interesting solution. Their target markets include Europe and USA, and seeing how we aren’t rivals, we were openly sharing our experiences with each other.
During the conversation we touched upon the topic of tech support, and my interlocutor, Dan, mentioned that they’re planning to expand their first line support team in the US division – their current staff weren’t handling their workload well. He also mentioned that the ratio of incoming calls to the number of engaged employees is the same for the European and US divisions, yet the European team is adhering to the standards while the US team lets calls hang unnoticed for up to an hour.
Here’s where it rang a bell for me. Their situation sounded so familiar, seeing how our clients have reached out to us with similar issues more than once. So I proposed that we monitor the performance of the US division with the help of Kickidler and see if the problem could be solved without wasting any extra energy and resources.
We chose a slightly unconventional action plan:
- First, we installed Kickidler in a stealth mode, without notifying employees. Covert installation of the employee monitoring software is required to measure the actual team productivity.
- Then we installed Kickidler “openly”. That is, we informed employees about the monitoring that would occur, its procedures, reasons for it, etc. We always encourage ethical employee monitoring, so I won’t dwell on it here once more.
- We reviewed the results of monitoring division performance before and after the implementation and identified bottlenecks.
- Finally, we made appropriate decisions.
There was no need to waste precious time. Dan and I had our talk on Friday evening, and by Monday morning he already instructed his system administrators to implement our software. It took a week to tailor the solution to the company’s needs, which included training the designated employee, classifying websites and applications and collecting initial statistics on the employees. At that point no conclusions had been drawn.
One week later, Dan had a talk with his the tech support team and announced that he was introducing employee monitoring software. He promised bonuses to those who would perform well and generally focused on positive impacts of such monitoring, however, many team members were still feeling skeptical. Such unease is normal and happens all the time, the goal here should be to avoid open protests, and that’s done by providing the team with competent and detailed explanations regarding the planned implementation of employee monitoring software.
Just three days after the announcement we already saw primary results – the productivity of the entire division increased by 27%. By the looks of it, my suspicions were correct, and some of the employees were either slacking or insufficiently utilized
In retrospect, towards the end of the second week after the announcement, the overall increase in productivity in relation to the initial situation slowed down a bit. People got used to the monitoring, loosened up a bit, and as a result, steady growth of 15% was recorded, which is a nice result in itself.
But there’s more. Based on the results of monitoring, the workload of the first line support team actually was really intense, even before the announcement on monitoring, and the employees were working to their utmost ability. The European branch was able to handle the workload utilizing the same number of employees, because the average duration of their calls was shorter. In our case, the 15% increase in productivity I mentioned above can be considered a success, but in order to ensure the thorough processing of requests, it looked like the US division still needed a few more people on their team.
And this is where it gets interesting.
Two-week outcome, and identified fraudsters
Even though the focus of our monitoring was the first line support team, the second line was also being monitored. And its results surprised us – the amount of support tickets dropped, while the productivity increase was noticeably higher than the average one across the entire division! It seemed suspicious straight away.
One might think that there’s no link between the installation of Kickidler and the decrease in the number of closed support tickets. However:
- The productivity drop was too steady; it was falling by roughly 20% each week.
- Two particular employees started to close considerably less support tickets.
We took a closer look at these two guys. They seemed to be closing tickets rather quickly and overall working really hard. Dan looked into the history of their support calls, and it turned out that every fifth request was a fake! These employees were simply creating false tickets and then “closing” them successfully, which helped them reach the required productivity numbers. Once the monitoring was implemented, they decided to stop with their schemes, afraid of the fact that the entire history of their actions at PC was being video recorded. Meanwhile, they managed to increase their productivity simply by doing random clicks in productive apps.
This behavior was easily explained by the fact that the second line support specialists simply didn’t have enough requests coming their way. Their total workload amounted to approximately 60% of the norm. But Dan was resolute – no matter whether or not there was an issue with workload, fraud would not be tolerated.
What happened in the end?
The two fraudsters were fired. Two more employees were transferred from the second line support to the first, thus balancing the workload. This proved to be more than enough. Even taking into account those two who got fired, the workload distribution in the call center became balanced.
- Productivity went up 15%.
- Two fraudulent employees were identified and fired.
- Company’s money and resources weren’t spent on the initially anticipated hiring of 5 additional employees.
- Request processing time returned to normal.
More importantly, the employees became more responsible and diligent. The overall benefit is obvious – based on our calculations, Kickidler’s implementation has paid off 15 times within a single month!
Case in numbers
||First line support team
||Second line support team
|Productivity prior to Kickidler implementation
|Productivity right after Kickidler implementation
|Productivity two weeks after Kickidler implementation