As call centers have a bad reputation for being soul-killing environments to work in, it’s no surprise that agent retention has always been a challenge for customer service departments.
While stereotypes are often exaggerated, let’s face it: call center life is not easy. But is there a way to make call centers more attractive to job seekers? Luckily, there is.
Over the last few years, the concept of gig economy working has become more and more popular among call centers, and for good reason: it can help call center managers win in their fight to find talent for their agent team.
In this article, I’ll discuss how the rise of gig economy workers affects call centers. Make sure to read on and find out how you can leverage the gig workforce model in your call center!
Gig economy and call centers
With Baby Boomers starting to retire, Millennials and GenZers are taking over the workforce. Of course, these generations are a lot different from Baby Boomers: amongst other things, they are more individualistic and value their work-life balance highly.
There’s no question about it: the changing needs of these new generations have paved the way for a new workforce model, namely the “gig” economy.
The gig economy concept is based on companies offering workers the ability to work when they can or want to by utilizing part-time working and independent contractors for short-term projects.
And call centers, who usually struggle with extremely high employee turnover levels, can truly benefit from the gig economy.
For call centers, the gig economy allows for cost-effectiveness and flexibility in terms of agent retention. For customers, on the other hand, gig economy enables better customer experiences, as businesses are able to deliver swift support even during peak times.
Adding staff during peak periods
As we all know, in every business there are peak times when calls to customer service increase significantly. During these peak seasons, call center agents often struggle to deal with these high call volumes.
Perhaps one of the biggest advantages of the gig economy for call centers is that they can easily scale up the business by adding staff during peak periods.
Indeed, by leveraging part-time gig workers, your call center can proactively plan ahead for peak and idle times, matching agent team sizes to call volumes. As a result, there will be no interruption in your customer care which will keep both your customers and agents happy.
Finding the best talent
In the global business environment, you have to speak the language of your customers, whoever and wherever they are. And as many customer service departments operate internationally, call centers often need to rely on multilingual workforces. Of course, finding multilingual talent is challenging, especially if your options are limited by geographic factors.
For instance, let’s say your customer service department is located in Hungary but you need to deliver customer service in Spanish and Portuguese as well. There’s no doubt you’ll struggle to find local skilled agents with appropriate language proficiency, and relocating them will require significant investment.
So why not rely on virtual agents who can carry out the work from a different country? You may not think so, but by using a flexible workforce in other countries, you’ll open your business up to an incredible amount of high-quality talent available, because your options will be geographically limitless.
As the cost of providing customer service is extremely high, cost-efficiency is of major importance to call centers.
As we already mentioned, keeping up with peak time demand often presents a nightmare scenario for call centers. However, by leveraging gig economy workers, you can not only easily scale up during peak times, but also save costs by only paying your agents when they are needed.
In fact, a study conducted by KellyOCG showed that companies using gig economy workers save over 30% on labor cost.
That’s no surprise, as by hiring part-time workers and independent contractors you can reduce your expenses significantly as you are not required to pay benefits such as payroll taxes, vacation time or health benefits.
Improved customer service
It’s no secret that businesses struggle to find skilled employees these days, and call centers, usually seen as a particularly stressful work environment, are definitely no exception.
As gig economy workers usually work on performance-based projects, they are self-motivated, require less supervision and are ready to work whenever they are needed.
Therefore, one major advantage of gig economy workers in a call center is that you’ll be able to work with people who are motivated to be experts in customer care; thus, your overall customer experience levels will improve.
Call centers have always relied on full-time agents and tried to cut costs by outsourcing their customer service activities. However, by utilizing flexible workforces, you can scale up your business when needed, find the best talent, cut costs significantly and improve your customer experience. There are plenty of gig economy workers out there, you just need to find them – so what are you waiting for?