The Gig Economy of Customer Service and Sales Support
We hear the words “gig economy” and immediately our minds go to the drivers of Uber and Lyft, the freelancers of Upwork, the home owners of AirBnB. The foundation of the gig economy is built on freelance workers and the desire to pursue a more flexible, non-traditional workflow. In 2019, it was estimated that 39% of the United States was engaging in one gig economy or another, and the majority of the population as a collective (90%) has expressed great interest in giving the freelance lifestyle a go — albeit to make some side cash or leave behind their traditional full-time jobs altogether.
COVID-19 and the gig economy
The people want to know how COVID-19 will impact the economic landscape of the gig economy. Right now, it is yet to be completely understood. Those who thrived on serving the public — Uber drivers, performers, musicians, vacation rental homeowners — have been hit the hardest. Many businesses are scaling back on most of their ancillary development project and spend in order to pivot and survive in an uncertain economy One industry that has taken a significant hit? The traditional call center space.
Jake Bush, CEO and founder of INFOCU5 — a software company created to supply businesses with on-demand customer service and sales support — believes that of the many takeaways brick and mortar establishments will have when the coronavirus pandemic subsides will be that of a hybrid business model. He commented on it.
This pandemic and the social distancing regulations surrounding it have directly attacked the traditional call center, causing hundreds of call centers to shut their doors. Businesses are being forced to pivot and pivot quickly in order to remain relevant in the market. But, from experience, organizations have to be mindful about how they move forward. Even though a completely virtual work environment feels like it’s paving its way for the future, culture hangs in the balance when teams can’t come together to collaborate in person. Instead of shifting completely to that of the virtual, at INFOCU5 I can attest that a hybrid model is the better solution. That’s where our gig economy comes into play. Bridging the gap between a business’ core, internal team and too much volume is the Connect Marketplace — our marketplace of on-demand customer service and sales agents on standby and ready to step in when needed.
What makes up a gig economy?
Gig economies thrive on a few different elements:
- The worker (independent contractor)
- The consumer/customer (a business or individual seeking the worker’s services)
- The medium (the software platform connecting the worker and the consumer)
Businesses are now turning to the gig economy to support their customer service and sales efforts in an order to lower the in-house overhead associated with keeping a full-time staff. The worker being a customer service professional, the consumer/customer being any business that needs customer support, and the medium — the INFOCU5 Connect Marketplace. Independent contractors can join the Connect Marketplace after completing an in-depth training class to become certified to service a variety of campaignsfor a wide scope of businesses.
How does a CX and sales support gig economy work?
What’s particularly unique about this marketplace is the freedom businesses have in handpicking agents to lead and service their campaigns and in turn, also reserving the right to remove agents who are underperforming or receive poor quality assurance or customer ratings. These actions take place on INFOCU5’s Resolution omnichannel software platform where a business can also manage all of their day-to-day operations.
When it comes to the gig workers, they are each paid for the time they spend servicing customers. This is calculated on a per minute basis, or in the case of live chat, SMS or email support, a per ticket basis. If a business’ campaign is in need of additional support due to peaking volume or demand, the talk or ticket time rates can be adjusted in real-time to include special surge rate pricing, so agents are incentivized to jump on the platform and work.
Creating your own CX marketplace
The tech company recently rolled out another unique offering that gives businesses the opportunity to become a Connect HUB Partnership program. Essentially, a business can partner up with INFOCU5 to get full access to its software suite, train up its own gig workers and/or internal team to start servicing its own portfolio of customers and businesses. But first, there are specific standard operating procedures and protocols that must be upheld to provide the high level of service of which INFOCU5 prides itself:
- The partner must be an established entity or have a registered DBA.
- All users must maintain a quality score of 70% or higher.
- Connect brand integrity and quality assurance standards must be maintained.
It seems as if INFOCU5 is constantly developing new features, products, capabilities and additions to its third-party integrations. One noteworthy highlight to the Connect Marketplace is that it can be utilized in a more hybrid setting. Plenty of businesses prefer to maintain their own internal customer support and sales staff but have a need for back up support when volume gets high and the ASAs need to remain low. Once a predetermined threshold is breached, calls can roll over and be routed to the Connect Marketplace. As volume decreases, so does the Connect Marketplace support.