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    Andrew Kent

    Product Manager - Bboxx Pulse, Kigali, Rwanda

    Sometimes understanding the customer involves analysing data. And sometimes it means hoeing cassava (badly) to understand their daily lives and dream up better ways of serving them through new products, services, and processes.”

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    Andrew Kent
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    Andrew Kent here. I suppose I’m one of the old hands around here – 6 years and counting. In fact, I’ve been at Bboxx longer than any other institution, including schools! Why?

    Because I can’t imagine much more important or interesting work than what we’re doing every day at Bboxx: transforming lives and unlocking potential through access to energy (and finance, and distribution). When I started, things were almost unrecognizable. There were no shops – we distributed through third parties. There were no payment plans – we sold upfront to these third parties. Even when we started payment plans, there was no SMART Solar or remote switch off – when a client missed payment, we sent someone to remove the fuse from the Control Unit. Even when we opened shops, there was no Pulse – we had to send a guy around with a USB drive to download data from an Excel CRM once a week and upload the latest version of the CRM! We’ve come a long way. My team – Customer Development – is responsible for designing how the business operates once the customer has signed up: Customer Service for how customers get help, Technical Service for dealing with technical problems in the field, payment methods for how customers send us money and how we process those payments, and credit & collections for handling customers who miss a payment. It’s quite cross-functional: we analyze the problems facing the NGUs, design optimal processes and/or new ideas for solving those problems in the most effective and cost-efficient manner, translate those processes into requirements for the Bboxx Pulse team to develop into working software (or algorithms or dashboards for the Data Insight to build to help NGUs make smarter decisions), and then implement the changes across NGUs in a scalable manner (creating a standard “playbook” for the Expansion team to carry out in the individual markets). Examples of the work we’ve done or are doing: process for handling tampering alerts when customers open the CU to get free electricity, a credit scoring algorithm to predict which customers are most worthy of additional credit (or upgrades), a system for granting customers “emergency energy” when they don’t have money and need to pay later, and a multi-product account that allows the same customer to sign up for multiple solar systems. Sometimes understanding the customer involves analyzing data. And sometimes it means hoeing cassava (badly) to understand their daily lives and dream up better ways of serving them through new products, services, and processes.