Why customer service needs to embrace new working modelsby
Roger Beadle, CEO of Limitless, discusses the benefits of adopting flexible working models within customer service, from increased productivity to positive social inclusion.
In a recent report it was discovered that nearly one fifth (18%) of customer service managers said they are reverting back to pre-pandemic models such as brick-and-mortar contact centres. This is regressive. And while half (49%) said the last few years highlighted the need for working model changes, only one third currently have an alternative system in place. CX leaders can’t pretend that we have returned to pre-pandemic life. Instead, they need to embrace agile, hybrid and remote models.
Flexible models offer several advantages, including increased productivity, reduced overhead costs and improved employee satisfaction. With the right technology and infrastructure in place, customer service agents can work from anywhere in the world. This network can provide seamless support to customers across multiple time zones and languages, not to mention the many advantages of brands being able to dip into a much wider pool of talent.
This approach allows for greater scalability, enabling businesses to quickly ramp up or down their customer support operations based on demand. This agility can be particularly valuable in times of crisis, when customer service demands may fluctuate rapidly. When put like this, reverting back to fixed pre-pandemic models in their entirety is working backwards.
Why flexible working models should be adopted in the CX industry
As if predicting contract volumes normally isn’t difficult enough, wide-scale and abrupt global events, involving inflation, war and supply chain disruptions, for instance, make forecasting and scheduling increasingly hard to carry out effectively. How many times do economic predictions miss the mark or are counteracted by unforeseen acts of ‘force majeure’? The nature of the CX industry means that service demands will alter in line with global economic patterns, evolving customer priorities and business needs. Consumers don’t only react to such events, but bring their own habits into this environment.
How many times do economic predictions miss the mark or are counteracted by unforeseen acts of ‘force majeure’?
PWC’s 2023 survey into global consumer insights has shown that a massive 96% of consumers intend to adopt cost-saving behaviours over the next six months. As business priorities shift in line with these changing trends, brands need to have a staffing model that can not only adjust in real-time, but one that is set up to offer exceptional levels of service and build loyalty.
GigCX (Gig Customer for Service) is one such flexible-by-design-model that utilises gig workers across the world. These workers are ‘super users’ and brand advocates and therefore exhibit an unmatched passion and knowledge of the brand’s product. Brands are able to dip into this network of super users on-demand, who can work wherever and whenever they want.
Major companies such as Microsoft, Sony, and eBay have already implemented GigCX into their operations and are enjoying the benefits of enhanced flexibility and scalability, with quicker response times and better customer satisfaction.
But what exactly are these benefits?
From fixed to flex: the benefits of moving away from a fixed resource model
A fixed resource model, made up of on-premises or work-from-home agents, has several limitations. Rather than brand advocates, these are customer service agents who can take up to six months to train, work to fixed schedules on an hourly rate and offer limited language, region and time options.
GigCX experts, on the other hand, are top brand advocates who can take less than a week to onboard, are always on-demand, flexible and work by an outcome-based pricing basis. The shining light to having a global workforce is that you can cover any language, region or time requirements 24/7.
The shining light to having a global workforce is that you can cover any language, region or time requirements 24/7.
This move away from a fixed resource model has a number of key benefits. It offers an increased level of agility, with a crowd that can flex with demand to optimise time efficiency and provide more robust resilience in the face of unexpected events. Furthemore, the reduction of brick-and-mortar locations and permanent salaries of course reduces costs. But this action can also considerably contribute to a company’s sustainability ambitions, with less dependency on physical centres and the carbon emissions that they generate.
Why customers will enjoy greater satisfaction from interacting with a diverse pool of talent
These flexible models are set up to promote positive social inclusion. Anyone with a device has the needed equipment to become a brand expert, helping to promote diversity and inclusion in the workforce. It’s a team with different backgrounds, different interests but the same passion for the brand and high quality output. With a diverse pool of talent, you can better serve a diverse pool of customers. The more experiences - and variety of experiences - you have in your customer service team, the more experts who will be able to relate to the range of experiences customers may be going through.
With a diverse pool of talent, you can better serve a diverse pool of customers.
With this flexible ecosystem of talent, the GigCX model can better fulfil the spectrum of customer queries at play. Greater diversity also means greater skill sets. Through task distribution, the users with the right skills take on customer requests best suited to their skills. These tasks can be redistributed accordingly, ensuring that those best equipped to answer specific customer queries are available to do so. These gig experts have a relationship with your brand and are highly motivated, all contributing to a more empathetic and relatable experience for the customer.
A fit for the modern world
This article is not to say that GigCX models and similar should totally replace brick-and-mortar offices and permanent staff - these are still very much needed. It is about having this flexible workforce to work alongside the core team. In a rapidly changing CX world using an ever-growing amount of tools and technology to meet customer expectations, it only makes sense that business operations match up to this.
By its design, the GigCX model builds brilliantly diverse, highly skilled and driven talent pools made up of your own customers to serve your own customers. Why limit yourself to the old ways of doing things when you can create a new hybrid strategy that is fit for the modern world?