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COVID accelerates demand for gig-driven customer support models

Report by GigCX platform provider Limitless shows customer service has helped supplement ‘gigger’ income and had a positive impact on mental wellbeing, during COVID.

Limitless has released the annual industry report ‘GigCX goes mainstream', with headline data revealing that 47% of those doing gig customer service roles today had lost full time employment or had hours cut due to COVID-19. Furthermore, 46% of those surveyed became GigCX Experts over the past year due to reasons associated with the pandemic.

‘GigCX,’ is the term used for the pool of gig expert talent, made up of brands’ own customers, that can provide on-demand customer service. AI-driven gig customer service platform Limitless polled over 600 gig customer service Experts, 85% of which said gig activity had also had a positive impact on their mental wellbeing. The survey also polled 15 customer service leaders from known brands, 40% of which reported increasing flexibility and the ability to handle demand volatility as the biggest motivator for brands moving to GigCX in 2021, with reducing costs and increasing quality joint second (33%).

This trend is set to continue with 90% of those brands surveyed believing that over 20% of the proportion of their customer service could be handled by GigCX in 2025. The same percentage said that it had met or exceeded their expectations.

Select GigCX platforms like Limitless offer ‘crowdsourced’ customer support, routing customer service enquiries securely to knowledgeable GigCX ‘Experts’ who are assisted by AI to answer customer queries. As customers of the brands, Experts are able to resolve a wide variety of product and service-related support tickets. The gig customer service model is already in widespread use at companies such as Microsoft, eBay, Unilever, Sun Basket and Zwift. Likewise, customer experience leaders such as Genesys are supporting the potential of GigCX, having recently invested and partnered with Limitless to combine contact centre capabilities.

The survey also found that 80% of brands placed emphasis on the benefit of improving customer-centricity by enabling their customers to deliver amazing customer service on behalf of their brand. Meanwhile, 55% of those doing GigCX say that the top motivation is ‘flexibility to work on my own schedule.’ 44% claim to ‘enjoy the satisfaction it brings when helping others.’

“This year has been challenging for brands to service huge peaks in demand, but also for consumers who have suffered volatility in their working lives,” said Megan Neale, co-founder of Limitless. “We’re seeing some of the most loyal brand consumers transition to gig Expert roles to help fellow customers engage with some of their favourite products. For both customer and gig Expert, GigCX is truly coming to the fore as an established model that offers an agile and flexible way to engage authentically, and as the data shows, one that is set to continue into 2021 and beyond.”

Microsoft has a seasoned GigCX resource pool that lives amongst its other customer service channels. Mike Flannagan, Vice President, explains the human, user-centric benefit of GigCX: “That ability to connect people who are not only experts in something, but passionate and expert fans of it - that is a real consumer brand benefit. It’s an opportunity for us to find the right places where we have really passionate advocates and to tap into that to make sure that our customers feel like that person that’s supporting them really, really gets it and loves the product.”

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 GigCX will become more commonplace in the future. The majority of respondents had improved transferable skills such as problem solving and time management through GigCX over the last 12 months that will help them to perform a wider variety of gig tasks in the future.

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