By Megan Neale, COO & Co-founder, Limitless
For all the bad that it’s done, the pandemic has actually created a wave of digital transformation, and companies have been forced to explore innovative new ways they may not have done otherwise. This was certainly apparent in the findings from our second annual GigCX report, which was based on research from gig customer service (or ‘GigCX’) freelance experts in 34 countries, covering six continents and six languages. The report also features interviews from 15 global customer experience leaders from the likes of Microsoft, Genesys, Infosys, Deloitte, Boston Consulting Group and Sage.
The research revealed that COVID-19 is leading to increased volume in gig customer service demand, and that CX leaders feel embedding more flexible customer service models in today’s frameworks is absolutely essential. However, that’s just the tip of the iceberg, and both the GigCX experts and CX leaders identified many other trends in customer service and experience, many of which have occurred as a result of the dramatically changed business landscape we’re seeing as we navigate the pandemic.
- Empathy is everything
During the pandemic in particular, we’ve seen just how much empathy matters in a customer experience situation, when speaking to people who have experienced times of extreme difficulty, or life changing circumstances. Connectedness is more important than ever, and throughout the research and interviews, the emphasis on empathy and the human connection was mentioned time and time again.
What was fascinating were the descriptors the leaders used in describing the evolving human connection we’re seeing today in the customer experience. ‘Enjoyability’, ‘Enthusiasm’, and ‘Grace’ were words they used frequently as they described the importance of humans relating to humans to build a better and more empathic customer experience.
- Digital dignity and the ‘GoodGig’ are on the agenda
Regardless of whether companies have in-house customer service call centers, outsourced call centers, or use GigCX or any other number of customer service channels, CX leaders were passionate about the fact that their companies value the humans providing customer service and a good customer experience for their brands. The phrase ‘digital dignity’ was used by one senior CX leader, and the idea of the ‘GoodGig’ was discussed in several conversations.
It’s a timely thought that should be at the forefront of mind as we see the dramatic rise of the gig over the last few years. CX leaders are monitoring the treatment of gig agents under the microscope both from the customers being served by them, and the governments responsible for protecting them.
Interestingly, the report research revealed that 85% of agents feel that GigCX has helped improve their mental wellbeing during the pandemic, and 76% felt that GigCX has introduced them to new skills that will help them in their career such as communication, problem solving, and time management.
- Peer to peer engagement is what matters the most
Again and again, CX leaders identified peer engagement and peer customer service as a top trend. Having like-minded peers putting their heads together to deliver honest answers surrounding products and services is a powerful combination.
Simply put, people, more often than not, want advice and answers from people who have hands-on experience. People who have been loyal customers, and who have used products and services for years.
- Asynchronous messaging is becoming more mainstream
One digital shift that many CX leaders mention was over the past year which is also driving asynchronous messaging. Forty per cent of the CX leaders interviewed said they saw an increase in customer service demand coming for async messaging tools. As one CX expert explained, asynchronous messaging may also see a boost from GigCX:
“Asynchronous messaging will see a boost with GigCX as you could have an agent anywhere that works 15 minutes here, an hour there, two minutes an hour later, and still do their day job at the same time as serving the customer. Asynchronous works much better for someone who works eight hours in a row. And for the customer, it means they can do their entire journey with one person to maintain rapport and consistency.”
- There are new KPIs in town
While all CX experts agreed that traditional customer service KPIs surrounding quality and cost are still critical, there are new KPIs that are equally important.
Customer Success now means redesigning the CX journey so that customers see value at every step. It’s about proactively engaging with the customer before they need help, and making that engagement opportunity continual, so that it doesn’t just happen when it’s time to submit a customer service query.
Customer Lifetime Value is another. It focuses on the personal connection and relationship with a customer, looking at how a long future relationship may transpire.
These are just a few of the takeaways in this year’s report. For further information, download the 2021 Annual Gig Customer Service Report is available for download here: https://www.limitlesstech.com/gig-customer-service-2021/