The majority of customer service teams are currency of planning to outsource portions of their workload to “gig” or freelance employees they can recruit and deploy on demand, according to recent research from Limitless.
Based in San Francisco, where it offers a platform that combines crowdsourcing and artificial intelligence (AI) to help companies find service agents and “brand advocates,” Limitless surveyed approximately 400 CX leaders from the U.S. and U.K., and over 600 GigCX Experts across 34 countries in six continents to produce its 2023 GigCX Report. The study was done in partnership with Genesys and Execs In The Know.
The move to gig workers in customer service departments may reflect the difficulties companies are having managing experiences amid a turbulent economy. Three quarters of those surveyed, for example (75 per cent) said they have cut, slowed down or frozen hiring. About a third, or 32 per cent also said hiring customer service agents is somewhat or considerably harder than in previous years.
Demand for flexible working conditions was the top hiring concern, cited by 29 per cent of those surveyed, and 39 per cent specifically called out the challenge of developing management skills to deal with a remote or hybrid workforce.
“The traditional contact center model is no longer as attractive, and there is a growing need for a different, more flexible sourcing model,” the report said. ” GigCX addresses this by providing access to an expansive
pool of on-demand, highly skilled freelancers ready to deliver high-quality customer care.”
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While it contains a number of survey stats, the balance of Limitless’s 65-page gated report is focused on contributions from executives and industry analysts who have been conscripted to help make the case for what it calls brand advocates or GigCX experts.
Beyond merely sourcing freelance agents, for example, Limitless is offering to help resource-strapped service teams find other customers who are ready and wiling to provide assistance to their peers. Its platform allows GigCX experts to use their own experience with products and services while combining it with accurate information from knowledge libraries it maintains.
The mini-essays and comments scattered throughout the report argue that these experts will increase customer satisfaction and empathy, but its own survey found that empathy mattered to less than half (44 per cent) of CX leaders.
Interestingly, the report also makes the case that generative AI is not yet ready to provide the level of support that customers need. In its survey, 32 per cent of CX leaders said the impact of gen AI is not clear. The implication is that GigCX agents or experts are still far more preferable and less risky, even if the concept is still somewhat new to brands that have traditionally hired permanent in-house staff.
This research could provide some basic value to those that want to benchmark their customer service workforce issues against other firms. For those ready to bring GigCX talent on board, it’s probably the most comprehensive resource available.
Shane Schick tells stories that help people innovate, and to manage the change innovation brings. He is the former Editor-in-Chief of Marketing magazine and has also been Vice-President, Content & Community (Editor-in-Chief), at IT World Canada, a technology columnist with the Globe and Mail and Yahoo Canada and is the founding editor of ITBusiness.ca. Shane has been recognized for journalistic excellence by the Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance and the Canadian Online Publishing Awards.