Once the Agents are activated and the business is running, comes a vital step for a sustainable Agent Network that will last over the course of action: Monitoring and Supervision. Hence, we’ll cover now the importance of a well-designed Agent supervision and what to look for to reach maximum efficiency in Agent management.
This blog post is based on the Policy Framework document by the African Financial Inclusion Policy Initiative (AfPI) and closes our 3-part blog series about “How to Build an Agent Network”.
Why is so important to monitor your Agent Network?
As we’ve seen, Agent Networks play an essential role in the Financial Inclusion of millions of underserved populations. They work as an Alternative Delivery Channel to reach the most remote and rural areas that lack basic infrastructure and access to important services.
Although this distribution model keeps costs low and enables companies to reach regions that otherwise wouldn’t be possible, it also creates risks if Agents are not closely monitored or well trained:
- Compliance infractions
- Financial scams
- Criminal activities (money laundering)
- Weak performance and poor business results
- Bad customer service
This is why it’s essential to have an appropriate Agent Network management structure.
Designing a Monitoring Mechanism for your Agent Network
For good Agent monitoring, you must be able to overview your Agents’ actions and ensure that compliance requirements are being met. These requirements include anti-money laundering (AML) transaction monitoring and checking Agent (and customer) risk levels.
Then you have the tracking and control of the business performance. It is paramount ensuring the quality standards of the service delivery. You must have the capacity to monitor your Agents’ performance and also get insights on which Agents are achieving the best results and which ones need to be supported or get more training. Indicators to track your Agents’ performance may include:
- Procedural monitoring – supervise back-end transactions to identify forms of fraud.
- Commercial monitoring – tracking transactions values and volumes per Agent.
- Operational monitoring – ensure Agents maintain branding and quality standards.
It’s important that your monitoring mechanism allows you to identify suspicious actions. You should be able to check if there is an unusual frequency of transactions or several transactions pointing to possible fraud.
How frequently should you do onsite visits for a check-up of Agents?
The technology on your disposal will greatly influence not only the frequency but how you monitor your Network.
The frequency of physical visitations will depend on whether you only have a supervision team on the field or a hybrid model combined with technology. Preferably, in the beginning, in-person monitoring should occur once every two weeks and then, once the business is scaled, once a month.
However, supervision technology (SupTech) facilitates offsite monitoring allowing you to remotely control the Network and check Agents’ key metrics on a daily basis.
How can technology improve the Agent Network management?
Although in-person visitations are still necessary in some cases (e.g. to ensure branding standards are being met), monitoring Agents onsite can be a challenge considering how geographically dispersed the Agents’ locations might be.
With remote digital solutions, you can reduce onsite visitations and still probe Agents’ actions and performance. The data that you can obtain with technology-based monitoring systems provides you insightful feedback for better decision making:
Control of Agent's activities
You can incorporate in your monitoring mechanism a GPS location tracker and other controlling tools, allowing you to geographically track your teams and get an end-to-end vision of your Agent Network’s operations in real-time.
Because technology can digitize the whole Network’s operation, all Agents’ actions, such as transactions, are registered in the system and can be easily checked as a history log or extracted as reports. One of the major benefits of digitization is precisely the collection of data and the possibility to analyze it.
Monitoring of liquidity
It is also possible to check Agents’ liquidity level and support them to rebalance, by lending them yourself or partnership with other lenders who are interested to extend credit to manage liquidity requirements, based on data analytics of the Agent’s past performance.
Training and support for underperformance Agents
Identifying which Agents need more training and support is key to maintaining the good performance of the Network. With an in-depth overview of your Agents’ performance, you can be aware of which ones are performing well and which ones need additional training. This helps you give more adequate training sessions according to your needs and assign specific learning topics to individual Agents based on their flaws.
Tracking of Agent inactivity
Agent inactivity may origin reputational risk for your business and it is not sustainable to manage. With a digital solution, you can also track the percentage of inactive/dormant Agents and understand the reasons for their inactivity.
But for all this to be possible you’ll need to implement the right technology and digitize your Agent Network.
Waynbo Platform offers a robust Monitoring & Supervision System
Waynbo is a flexible solution that provides a set of features for Agent Relationship Management (ARM).
Our platform helps you control your Agent Network from the moment your Agents onboard, with functionalities that ensure the top performance of your Agents.
Interested to know more? Book a demo and see how Waynbo can improve the way you manage your Agent Network.