Pathlight Executive Interview
Alexander Kvamme, CEO, Pathlight
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Pathlight Helps Businesses Set Real-World Goals to Enable
Frontline Personnel to Perform at Optimal Levels
Pathlight offers an innovative approach to the performance management marketplace. It provides a comprehensive platform that employs AI to objectively measure team and individual performance metrics. The solution combines this real-time analysis with coaching communication tools to empower agents to know how exactly how well they are doing and focus on results.
CrmXchange managing partner Sheri Greenhaus conducted an
in-depth conversation with Alexander Kvamme, CEO, Pathlight as they prepared to
exhibit at CCW in Las Vegas.
Please tell us about Pathlight.
We built Pathlight to help
every single person be their professional best. We turn managers into
coaches and allow them to spend time managing people and not
Pathlight is a performance intelligence platform for
customer-facing teams. We consolidate performance data, coaching, QA, and
communication in one place and the platform empowers data-driven management
with transparency at every layer of the organization.
Pathlight helps employees answer a simple question – 'How am
I doing at work and how can I improve?'—without spending hours sifting through
dashboards and spreadsheets. Pathlight serves as an employee’s command center,
giving them everything they need—from data to coaching—to manage themselves and
hit their goals, and gives executives and managers instant insights into how
their teams are performing.
How does Pathlight help CX departments set performance
Setting goals for hundreds or thousands of frontline
employees is an incredibly complex manual and often arbitrary process that
organizations must continuously repeat. Until now, it's been nearly impossible
to set and manage custom, intelligent goals at scale. Everyone needs to be on
the same page: the hundreds of managers, supervisors, etc. who report into the
infrastructure, all need to interpret and analyze the massive amounts of data
to understand how employees are doing.
Organizational design and the way we manage hasn’t changed
much over the past 25 years, but the number of software systems, amount of
data, and consequently the number of open tabs in agents’ browsers has
spiraled. Pathlight is a new solution that simplifies the intelligence and
reduces the issue of increasing data complexity.
Organizations need their agents to understand how they are
doing at work. It should be as easy as waking up and checking the weather. That
doesn’t happen right now; as agents don’t have access to these systems. They
have to log in and wait for their managers to interpret dashboards.
That’s the first step of Pathlight. Pathlight’s vision is to empower everybody
to be their professional best by helping them understand and manage their own
performance. At its core, it is a performance intelligence platform; one that
is specifically built for managing large groups of data-driven, customer-facing
What is the ideal agent size for Pathlight?
The group size is variable. We have customers with as few as
30 agents, or scaling to thousands of agents. The problems gets more painful
with larger numbers of people - more people, bigger problems. It starts getting
interesting in environments with 50 or more front-line agents. It gets
even more complicated with over 100 agents. If an organization has 1000 agents,
optimizing performance, aligning teams, and having agility is extremely
Without Pathlight, how would managers typically evaluate the
Without Pathlight, managers would be making evaluations in
their heads and on spreadsheets which can be both inconsistent and time-consuming.
They would be accessing programs like Zendesk, NICE CXone or Maestro QA. They
would have to access up to five systems, download reports and put them into a
spreadsheet. They might know what their goals are, but their goals are not
available anywhere in these multiple systems. Information can be plugged in and
at some point the manager can conclude that one employee is doing a great job
but another needs help. This might then lead to coaching.
By contrast, Pathlight does both of those things--the data
side and the coaching side. Managers who are using Pathlight realize it
is saving them hours per day. They can manage more people as well as the team
more effectively. Not only are managers on top of things, they know that their
frontline employees can manage themselves because they have access to the same
level of data. Prior to Pathlight, every manager was doing their job
differently. This is a major issue for a leader who has many managers, each
with their own interpretation of how to evaluate employees. That is why it is
often so difficult to move the organization forward; to be agile and respond to
major shifts like a pandemic that precipitates a move to hybrid work. They have
to operate in what is a fragmented organization.
Does Pathlight integrate with the Quality and Coaching
Integrations are the name of the game. We are the single
pane of glass to measure performance for our customers. We integrate with the
ticketing system, the phone system, the chat system, and the QA system
providing the company one place to go to see how its people are
performing. Pathlight then provides a coaching and communication
We recently released our own quality tool. Our
customers wanted QA in Pathlight because it’s their one-stop shop for
performance measurements and coaching. They asked us to make it more effective
by creating a purpose-built QA tool.
What is your strategy moving forward?
Our strategy moving forward is to expand upon the solution
being all part of the same job. The goal is to give managers everything they
need to make their people more successful. Take QA for example, we released
this in October this year and we’re now at the point where we’re just about up
to feature parity with the major providers: side by side, auto-coaching,
appeals and reconciliation, training, and sampling. The level of engagement is
really high because we focused on empowering the managers to do more QA and we
incorporated trainers in the platform. One of our goals is to make QA easy for
the managers and perhaps even peers. We give senior agents the opportunity to
do peer-to-peer coaching.
Who uses Pathlight?
The people using the Pathlight platform are managers,
directors, VPs and the front-line agents themselves. Operations training is
also involved in the platform as well, mainly from an administrative
perspective but also for maintaining it. We focus on targeting the needs of
line-of-business people who are in the trenches every day. It is the
agent-manager-supervisor-leader-director hierarchy. In some businesses, the
entire org chart is in Pathlight every day.
Does Pathlight look at what the agents are doing in the
aggregate as well as the giving each agent the ability to compare how they are
doing in relation to the group?
We can accommodate several different types of models. Our
Auto-Goals platform enables companies to evaluate agents based on their
specific standards. Sometimes these are very concrete, such as maintaining a
CSAT above 4.8 except for agents who have only recently joined the company or a
different number if they are in an offshore location. Pathlight is built to
accommodate complex goals. There are many companies who have metrics that the
frontline people are unclear about or they have undefined goals. Sometimes the
goals are fluid and change over time. It often comes back to the manager trying
to do it manually and with spreadsheets. Pathlight helps them understand the
bounds of what good looks like for any specific metric, so they don’t have to
pick an arbitrary number like 4.8 which is unnecessarily brittle. We leverage
AI to look at the historical data and set intelligent goals. Like most elements
of Pathlight, we’re just productizing the things great managers have been doing
for a long time-- setting dynamic goals that are more tailored to the
Is Pathlight an ‘aid’ to the manager?
The first thing managers see when they log into Pathlight is
what we refer to as the natural language summary, a couple of sentences meant
to summarize everything. “Your team is doing great this week, but you should
probably talk with one person about QA whose specific numbers have been
dipping.” Our goal with providing that one sentence analysis is to save the
manager 30 minutes right off the bat. Now the manager is able to focus on
coaching and helping the individual who might be lagging. That’s the human side
of the equation which is where informed managers can excel.
We give our customers access to the whole world of
information across their people which is what enables us to provide realistic
and accurate goals. Sometimes we work with the customer to adjust goals that
were set too high and left everyone falling short. It’s not helpful to set up a
situation where everyone is failing. It becomes difficult for people to
determine what good performance is when no one is reaching the goal. By looking
at such areas as the percent of goals reached, we are able to help them
transform an unproductive standard by understanding the aggregate and lifting
the performance of individual team members. This can be done for one team, a
region, or the entire functional group.
Would Pathlight take some of the subjectivity out of
Humans can have bias. That’s normal. But what we have seen
is because we are creating an objective environment, people who might have been
passed over are getting promoted. It overcomes unfortunate scenarios where
people might be perceived on personal traits as opposed to actual performance.
Because data doesn’t lie and if Pathlight identifies someone as a top
performer, that is how they are evaluated. What really makes a difference is
when someone who might not ordinarily have been promoted becomes a manager.
These managers lean even more on Pathlight because they understand that it
provides an objective standard to successfully lead their teams.
Is there a difference in agent attrition with Pathlight?
We’re seeing anecdotal evidence that the teams with higher
Pathlight engagement are seeing higher retention. Some potential customers have
expressed fears that Pathlight might cause an explosion of critical coaching
and negative conversations. We’re seeing the opposite - a major uptick in
positive collaboration and reinforcement. In many contact center environments
it’s hard for people who manage 12 people. They have to spend it fighting
fires. By making this process more efficient and streamlining managerial tasks,
managers now have time to just make one click in Pathlight to celebrate individual
performance to the entire team. We are also able to track 1:1s and measure the
percentage of negative and positive coaching that managers and supervisors are
doing so that directors can ascertain whether there is healthy mix happening.
Customers have reported an increase in positive reinforcement since deploying
Are goals becoming more realistic with Pathlight?
As businesses use Pathlight over time, goals can be
automatically generated. We’re hoping to correct the errors of setting goals
too high at the leadership level. The stakes are high - setting standards that
not only determine whether a person is worthy of consideration for promotion or
rewards, but whether they will even keep their job. It also impacts whether the
company itself will be successful over time. In too many contact centers, it is
a chaotic endeavor with individual managers doing things their own way. There
are pockets of unfairness and inconsistency in goal setting that can make for a
complete morass. We’ve heard that in some companies, managers can be as much as
a quarter behind on goal setting, sometimes giving agents monthly goals in the
middle of the month. That is just not acceptable and Pathlight can change it.
We realize that we are a new category, and some businesses
are just waking up to the fact that a comprehensive solution like this exists.
We do see that companies who are actively involved with information resources
like CrmXchange and events like CCW are further along in the digital
How do you make the case for developing an ROI for
It’s pretty simple. It’s not just happier employees, which
is important, but more successful employees, which has a measurable impact on
the bottom line. That is why we are growing so fast. Most companies have 10%
top performers, 60% middle, and 30% bottom. The top performers won’t change,
but if we can affect even a 5% positive change in the middle and the bottom
levels that can translate into significant overall improvements in CSAT at scale.
We believe in the power of technology to unlock productivity
and empower everyone…especially frontline workers who are the face of your
brand and working through often time complex matters to leverage their humanity
and become as productive and successful as possible. What’s most important is
to help them feel like they are in better control of their careers.