Over the past few years there has been a strong increase in interest in GigCX. In short, this is where home-based customer service agents use a virtual contact centre platform to serve customers – getting paid by each customer, rather than an hourly rate.
In customer service this shouldn’t be controversial because it creates a number of opportunities for both the agent and the brand managing the contact centre:
- Agents can choose which accounts they want to work on, so they will gravitate towards the brands they enjoy working with
- It’s entirely flexible for the brand – so the contact centre can easily ramp up coverage for Black Friday then reduce it later just by offering fewer available hours on the platform
- It’s flexible for the agent – they work from home and choose their hours, so there is no more Monday-Friday on fixed shifts. Make the work fit around your life. Take Friday off. Work more hours than usual if you want to build up more cash.
Some of the main GigCX platforms have also demonstrated that this flexibility removes one of the biggest problems in contact centres – attrition. If your agents are working on brands they enjoy, are based at home, and can choose their own hours then many of the traditional contact centre problems are removed – the agent feels much more in control of their work.
The value of choosing brands can’t be underestimated. Imagine hiring gamers to support gamers then saying, we need you on another account because they are getting busy – go and answer these insurance claims instead. This doesn’t happen in GigCX.
By most measures GigCX offers a good mix of control over work/life balance, flexibility for the company that needs a customer service function, and it can be layered onto an existing team – it doesn’t need to replace a traditional contact centre team. They can just become the core of your customer service function with GigCX adding flexibility.
But is there a problem with the name?
GigCX was born from the process being task-oriented. Agents get paid for each customer interaction and good agents can earn a lot more this way than they would get in a regular contact centre on an hourly wage. They get flexibility and the opportunity to earn more for doing a good job.
But most news coverage of the gig economy is focused on highly repetitive tasks that don’t need much (if any) domain knowledge or expertise. A GigCX agent working for a laptop or smart device company needs skills, training, and insight to deliver troubleshooting support to customers. Someone delivering a pizza just needs to know how to ride a bike and locate an address.
A recent story from the UK describes how a Deliveroo rider was recently carrying a Thai meal to an apartment in London. He collapsed in pain by the front door of the apartment and passers-by came to help. As he was in pain on the cold pavement the person who ordered the food came downstairs, went to the riders backpack, took the food, and went back inside – stepping over the rider on the ground. He then even returned to say that something was missing from the order.
British commentators have asked why a food delivery app can get a Thai meal to a customer in minutes, yet ittook over an hour for an ambulance to arrive to help this Deliveroo rider. In addition, it seems some members of the public now consider that gig economy workers are so disposable that they can be ignored when they are clearly in pain – so long as the green curry is delivered on time!
Food delivery is an important and honest job, but it’s not highly skilled. The media generally focuses on ride hailing or restaurant deliveries when talking about the gig economy so maybe the term “GigCX” needs to change to differentiate high-skilled task-based jobs?
It would be a shame for me if the term changed because I’ve written two books about GigCX and a third should be published in the next few months. I’ll be speaking about it at Peter Ryan’s CX Outsourcers conference in Scotland this May.
How do we describe flexible task-based work like GigCX without associating a highly skilled agent with expertise in consumer electronics, fashion, banking, or gaming, with a curry delivery service?
I’d really like to know your ideas and hopefully I can integrate some of them into my talk in May and the white paper that I’m working on for that event.