The Gig Economy Is Coming For CX – And Fast!

Everyone knows about the gig economy. The popularity of tools such as Uber, Lyft, Doordash, and Airbnb, means that the concept of the gig economy is well known and understood. Around 36% of Americans work inside the gig economy so a lot of people understand it not just because they use Doordash to order dinner, but because it provides their income.

But why don’t you hear so much about the gig economy in customer service or customer experience (CX)? When you think of customer service most people immediately think of contact centers, not apps or platforms.

LiveXchange is changing that by focusing on GigCX. What is really important to note about services such as Airbnb or Uber is that they are really platforms. They connect a person who wants to offer a service – the driver – with someone who needs a ride. They add value for both by making it easy to find either a driver or the next customer.

The LiveXchange platform does exactly the same for customer service. You use the platform to design how you want customers to be supported then the agents can connect and serve your customers. The agents can be anywhere because they are working from home and that allows you to select a group of people for your team that are superior to the traditional model of hiring only those people within commuting distance of a contact center.

If this seems like a radical solution then look at how quickly the gig economy took off in so many other sectors. Here’s a few thoughts on some of the advantages of using a gig-based platform solution for customer service:

  1. Expertise: you can focus far more on getting domain experts, rather than hiring people and training them to support a product they are not even interested in. If you are supporting a video game then you can hire gamers who want to earn some cash supporting other gamers. You are free of the requirement to only hire locally, you can cast the net globally and hire the best experts that know and love your products.
  2. Agility: does your requirement for customer service come evenly spaced across 8-hour shifts? I don’t think so, so why hire contact center agents and ask them to work 8-hour shifts? The agility you gain from a gig-based approach is that you can make sure more agents are there for the spikes and very few are working when you know it’s going to be quiet.
  3. Flexibility: you want to scale up quickly to cope with Black Friday? No problem, just get more agents on the platform. You want to start supporting a new product next week? No problem, just train your agents and they will be ready. You want to open an entirely new virtual contact center in ten days? No problem, how many people do you need?
  4. Efficiency: think about the costs involved in running a big contact center. All those costs eventually get charged back to the clients. Why not focus on the only things you really need – a platform and the agents? It’s like comparing a taxi company that locks up capital by buying a fleet of cars to Uber.
  5. Resilience: we know what happened to all the contact centers during the Covid-19 pandemic. They had to send everyone home overnight with a laptop. Not everyone has space to work or even wants to work from home. Now they are struggling to open the contact centers again because of the social distancing rules. Why not just avoid all this and work with agents who love flexible work they can do from home?

There is increasing evidence that more people want to work this way. Everest Research suggests that by 2025, 75% of the workforce will be Millennials and Gen Z all with an increasing preference for gig working. GigCX is an attractive model for older people who want to supplement retirement income with something flexible they can do from home. This also creates an experienced pool of talent for brands who want to hire agents for domain knowledge, not just the school they attended.

The Everest research also suggests that by next year 25% of all contact center agents will be hired via a gig platform. I suspect that this will actually be higher because Everest published their research just before the Covid-19 pandemic. More recent research suggests that GigCX has had an enormously positive impact on the confidence and mental health of agents because they have continued to work and be productive during the crisis.

However you slice it, GigCX is the future for customer service. Many companies will be exploring better options for their customer service processes after the difficulties experienced during the lockdown. Platforms are the way to go. Leave a comment with your own thoughts about the gig economy and CX or get in touch directly.