Omni-Channel Customer Engagement Article

Contact Centers a Natural Fit for the Gig Economy

August 09, 2016

The practice of employing temporary workers and independent contractors for short-term engagements is becoming entrenched in our economy, a necessity in a technology and services-driven world. This “Gig Economy,” also described as an on-demand or access economy, is useful for everything from Uber drivers to pizza delivery.

The Gig Economy also works extremely well in the contact center, where short-term positions for agents are created by demand and cyclical fluctuations. A recent blog post from Aspect (News - Alert) Software, a company specializing in customer experience and workforce optimization, discusses some of the key ways the Gig Economy may be effectively applied in the contact center space.

Essentially, contact center software generates “gigs” for agents, based on fluctuating call volumes and a host of other factors. So it makes sense to employ agents on a short-term, “gig” basis instead of as regular full-time employees with large periods of down time when call volumes ebb. By doing this, contact centers can realize massive cost savings by only paying workers for the actual work they perform. According to Aspect, this practice can reduce employee costs by as much as 30 percent from savings on payroll taxes, health benefits, vacation time and other overhead associated with retaining full-time workers.

The Gig Economy is also a great fit for the BYOD trend and the growing number of contact center agents who would prefer to work from home. Not only is this practice convenient for agents, it saves businesses from having to invest in physical workspace and all its associated expenditures. Remote work also opens up opportunities for workers with disabilities, those with children or other dependents at home and those who are unable to commute for whatever reason.

The growing popularity of self-service is also impacting the contact center workforce, and the Gig Economy fits in this scenario as well. With more and more customers choosing self-service and automation to meet their basic needs and answer simple questions, contact center agents are being reserved for more complex and specialized matters. That means agents need to be highly skilled in certain areas, and specialized talent may be geographically dispersed. Utilizing remote workers removes those geographic barriers and enables companies to match agents’ skillsets to the specific areas where they require staff.

Finally, millennials, in their massive numbers, comprise a majority of the workforce and that includes contact center agents. Millennials are a new breed of worker and are powering the BYOD and remote work trends. They also value technology and mobility and are effectively powering the Gig Economy, transforming the way business is conducted and how workers are employed. The contact center space is no exception here, and is a natural fit for the Gig Economy and the cost savings, productivity benefits and myriad advantages it offers to businesses and workers alike.

Edited by Maurice Nagle
Article comments powered by Disqus