The agent-based model – the core of many off-grid solar (OGS) providers – has enabled companies to reach remote base-of-the-pyramid customers, who otherwise wouldn’t have been able to take the first step on the energy ladder. Agents are the primary consumer touchpoint, are at the centre of distribution operations, and often fulfil a plethora of both sales and aftersales activities. The way in which they are managed, incentivised and treated can therefore have a significant effect on consumer protection. Ensuring effective and responsible agent practices remains a challenge for the OGS industry due to reasons such as the decentralized nature of operations, high agent turnover rates and potential for low agent morale. Making improvements – and unlocking benefits for customers, agents, and businesses – requires support from the full ecosystem of stakeholders.
This briefing note shares the findings from research undertaken with agents and companies in East and West Africa. It provides good practices and recommendations that OGS companies can draw upon to build, improve and maintain the most effective agent model for their operational context.