Two thirds of people signed up on ‘gig’ customer service (GigCX) platforms are seeing an increase in demand for customer service tasks since the COVID-19 pandemic began, according to The ‘Annual Gig Customer Service’ report, released today by AI-driven gig customer service platform Limitless. The gig customer service model is already in widespread use at companies such as Microsoft, Unilever and Sage.
The report, which also includes Ember Group analyst research insights and interviews with several global CX leaders, shows that one in three respondents reported that their gig earnings supplement full-time employment. This news comes as companies around the world are looking to diversify their call center channels to support their customer service teams which have been affected by illness and disruption during the pandemic.
Millennials and Gen Zs are the ones predominantly flocking to GigCX, although the findings also show a spread across all age ranges. This is especially prevalent in customer service, typically for brands where they are existing customers. Based on a global survey of 500 gig Experts, the report also shows that 7 out of 10 are likely to be university educated, with 85% speaking more than one language.
‘GigCX,’ is the term used for the pool of gig expert talent, mainly made up of brand’s own customers, that can provide on-demand customer service. GigCX platforms run on AI-powered models that ‘crowdsource’ customer support, routing customer service enquiries securely to these knowledgeable GigCX ‘Experts.’ As customers of the brands, Experts are able to resolve a wide variety of product and service-related support tickets.
Microsoft’s former Corporate Vice President of Customer Service and Support, Aileen Allkins, commented on the tech giant’s increased use of the Limitless gig Experts in its customer service teams:
“We found that the ‘GigCX’ network is diverse, with a range of ages, talents and an even gender split. COVID-19 is driving increased demand for gig-based customer service, where many customers are reaching out to make a human connection. People like to engage with people, and our Experts are truly enjoying the interaction they get, with 98% specifying that they want to carry on with GigCX.”
Three in four respondents said that being part of the GigCX movement had had a positive impact on their mental health, identifying flexibility in their schedules as a key benefit. A resounding 97% of survey respondents thought that gig platforms, especially those in the customer service space, were doing more to protect the interest of their gig Experts.
Megan Neale, COO and Co-founder of Limitless, commented:
“These results paint a wonderful picture of the range of people choosing to take up GigCX. Young, intellectual, multi-talented individuals are joining gig platforms, and planning on remaining there, long term. At a time where mental wellbeing has never been more important, it is encouraging to see that the flexibility on offer from gig customer service is having a positive impact overall. GigCX itself is becoming ever more mainstream and this is only going to continue as businesses realise the benefits gig can provide them in their customer service operations.”
The report also challenges stereotypes that gig is mainly low-skilled or blue-collar labor, with 70% of survey participants educated to degree level. One third of the people surveyed hold a full-time job, from a wide range of skilled professions. Gig-based customer service was found to be popular amongst retirees and students, who identified financial and social benefits respectively. These groups are also highly impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic; the capacity to earn extra money or stay in touch professionally and socially is key at this time, and simultaneously helpful to businesses.
The wider findings of the Limitless report support a growing popularity in this area of GigCX. Ninety-six per cent of those surveyed planned to continue in the next 12 months, and 9 in 10 believed public perception of gig in general was rapidly improving. A majority of respondents had participated in personal upskilling programmes within the last six months and are keen to upskill in order to perform a wider variety of gig tasks in the future.
“It is also encouraging to see that GoodGigTM practices are being welcomed by our GigCX Experts and the brands we support alike. The fact that 97% of our respondents are recommending ‘GigCX’ to their friends and family, and that over two-thirds believe gig platforms are doing more to protect giggers, is a great testament to the positive impact of our Good Gig practices,” added Neale.