Even before the pandemic hit, more and more workers began shunning the traditional office in favor of other environments in which they can practice their respective crafts. This includes everything from trading equities on the financial markets to contributing to the design of a new architectural project or teaching the nuances of Cold War history online to students spread around the world. And, it also includes the provision of gig-based customer experience management, which lends itself to digital nomads.
Recently, Airbnb highlighted this opportunity when it announced that it will partner with twenty destinations around the world to make it more straightforward to live and work for the digital nomad community. Among the locations that form part of this initiative are many established CX delivery points, including Cape Town, Mexico City, Malta, and Lisbon (note to Airbnb – Belgrade, the epicenter of Serbian CX delivery is a glaring omission from the list).
As part of this forward-looking approach to work, Airbnb will help develop digital hubs that showcase long-term rentals, while also outlining important residential regulatory elements for prospective residents (such as immigration requirements and taxation). As a means of finding and retaining quality talent to manage customer interactions, this should be top of mind for outsourcers that use the gig CX.
This initiative has a great deal of potential for agents who wish to work using the gig model to take advantage of location flexibility. The gig approach ensures that brand ambassadors do not need to be tethered to a contact center facility, or for that matter to a particular city. Agents can support interactions with end-users from their own backyards while in their hometown or from a balcony overlooking the Zócalo. No matter the locale, if done correctly the difference in outcome is negligible. What counts is having the right representative to hand that can drive the best possible result for the customer.
The gig-based CX model has proven itself to be invaluable to brands from across industries and around the world for this very reason. For many types of interactions, gig CX support is efficient and leads to strong resolutions. Agents like the lifestyle flexibility that the gig working model affords, and this contributes to their high levels of motivation. On the flip side, consumers who are serviced by gig CX ambassadors benefit from representatives eager to help solve problems as quickly and as thoroughly as possible. Using this model, location is agnostic.
Thus, there is little holding back outsourcers that wish to embrace the digital nomad gig-based CX model in full force. By doing so, these providers can increase their addressable pool of potential partners significantly, tapping talent among both those who wish to work exclusively out of their primary cities of residence and those with a more ‘citizen of the world’ approach.
Now, gig CX delivery via digital nomads may not be right for all campaigns. Client compliance requirements might not permit any type of customer management to take place outside of specific geographic confines (be they regional or national). In certain cases there will be CX roles that involve high degrees of agent and workspace monitoring, which won’t be suitable for gig workers, a problem that AI systems are just starting to resolve. But, where geographically agnostic delivery is appropriate, BPO recruitment efforts need to aggressively target digital nomads. For many interactions, what matters is subject-matter expertise, technical skills and linguistic fluency, and for these roles the location where the representative is based should not be a deal breaker.
The outsourcing community cannot afford to miss out on the opportunity that gig-driven digital nomad customer management promises. Labor markets in major delivery markets remain tight, and they could stay that way for an extended period. Talented gig-oriented workers who opt to spend time in different locations around the world offer clear benefits in CX delivery.