How the Gig Economy is influencing agile customer service

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And just like that, we’re in a gig-based economy. So here’s a quick refresher in the latest lingo; A gig is when an independent worker is hired, often through a digital marketplace, to work on a short-term project or task on-demand, such as freelancers, independent contractors, and temporary workers.

These gigs are created to meet consumer demand via the real-time delivery of services. The adoption of gig workers has become a staple for many companies, while others have slowly started adopting these services in their core business. 

Both economic and logistical issues have caused businesses to turn to the gig economy for support in scaling their customer service and sales efforts while lowering their fixed costs and in-house overhead. 

Gig workers in contact centers

The use of gig workers in customer service has become common in the modern post-pandemic era. Gig customer service works through freelance agents performing on a per-task basis offering businesses high-quality service during high volumes, for example).

When the pandemic began, customer service operations were in crisis mode. Physical contact centers were shut down, with agents rapidly transitioning to a work-from-home model and field service crews immobilized, yet customer calls increased quickly. 

Harvard Business Review reported that businesses dealt with more than double the number of “difficult” customer service calls in the early days of the pandemic. Additionally, a survey found that 45% of U.S. consumers required technician assistance during COVID-19.  

The rise of remote work

More companies have started recognizing the benefits of allowing teams to WFH, or more accurately, work from anywhere that best suits their lifestyle. As a result, WFH employees in the U.S increased from 2% to 37% in 2020, and two out of three U.S businesses extended their remote working scheme to 2021. 

A survey by Aberdeen states that only 14% of contact centers admitted to having remote work capabilities before 2020. However, this number increased to 52% by June 2020. Furthermore, 62% plan to continue expanding their remote work capabilities well into 2021. 

Remote work and gig customer service agents are benefiting both companies and employees in a multitude of ways. For example, since the adoption of the gig economy in customer support, businesses have been able to navigate agent burnout better, deploy new technologies quicker, understand customers better and promote diversity in the workplace.

Navigating agent burnout and mental health 

Agent burnout is, unfortunately, much more common than you think. Customer service turnover in the U.S is estimated to be between 30% and 45% – more than double the average for other sectors. As a result, companies have recognized the need to alleviate this burden through freelance customer support. During peak times, this addition in the workplace can reduce pressure on full-time staff, bolstering their engagement and motivation. 

Rapid deployment of new technologies 

As AI advances, it plays an increasingly important role in the basic fabric of many gig platforms. In addition, businesses have recognized the possibility of using this same technology in the customer service function. 

While this means relinquishing control, a gig economy offers the flexibility many businesses need to scale (up or down depending on their needs.)

Customer experiences are only as good as the experiences you offer your employees. 

When employees are motivated, inspired and informed, your business will become more productive, profitable and purpose-driven. In addition, when employees have great experiences, they can offer those same experiences to customers. 

Start giving your employees the experiences they deserve through Workforce Engagement Management with Smartz Engage.

About Smartz Solutions 

Modern businesses must offer the technology to support the remote, virtual and mobile workers while supporting the buying patterns of their customers. Total experience extends beyond perfecting the customer experience. It takes into account the employee and user experience and how this impacts the journeys your business offers.

With decades of experience and knowledge of the relationship between the employee and customer experience, Smartz Solutions maps these journeys to give businesses the power of managing total experience.

Smartz Solutions is a cloud-based omnichannel communications platform. Our competitive advantage is how we bring together back office, communications and employee engagement under one fully integrated stack.