EkoLakay Goes – Faster!

Nine months ago I wrote with great excitement (and to be honest, a few nerves) about SOIL’s brand new data management initiative for EkoLakay, our household toilet service. EkoLakay is now serving about 1,000 families, and as you can imagine, with weekly waste collections, monthly subscription fees, maintenance requests, and more, there’s a [poop]load of information to manage!

SOIL’s new system uses Taroworks, an Android app, so that our EkoLakay team can both view and collect data on mobile phones, even while offline. When connected to the internet, the phones then transmit that data to SalesForce, a powerful cloud-hosted database which allows us to share and analyze the information.

Wilford and Edris, members of the Ekolakay team, enter a client’s information into TaroWorks.

Last fall, we launched the first phase of our Taroworks+Salesforce implementation with the EkoLakay’s teams’ most data-intensive activities: recruiting prospective customers, signing them up for the service, and collecting monthly payments.

While adopting new technology can sometimes be challenging and there were a few bumps in the road, the EkoLakay team embraced the new system with open arms. Within weeks, they started asking how quickly we could add on new and different functionalities.

This spring we did just that – we rolled out a second phase including several new functionalities, allowing the team to update client contact information, collect and resolve maintenance requests, manage contract closures, and record hygiene visits. This time, I hadn’t even finished the training session before the ideas for the next phase started to pour out: what about operational needs – tracking buckets and toilets? We also need to track the clients who are signing up for mobile payments!

Despite the ever-increasing length of our “Database To-Do List,” I can’t help but be thrilled that our team has gotten so excited about data management and analysis. And who could blame them? In the course of just a few months, our new system has helped the EkoLakay team:

• Improve data completeness (for example, GPS point collection for identifying clients’ homes has increased from 85% to 99%)
• Reduce the average time to resolve customer complaints
• Identify inefficient behaviors in our sales and payment collection processes

The whole team is looking forward to the continued development of our Taroworks + SalesForce system, and more importantly, to all of the data-driven insights that will help us continue to improve the EkoLakay service!

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