Contact center challenges today: the top 3 takeaways from our research study

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The contact center industry has faced significant challenges over the last two years. As technology and consumer expectations continue to rapidly change, the customer service landscape is evolving at an accelerated rate. This was certainly apparent in the findings from our recent study, where we surveyed 400 customer service managers from the U.S. and U.K. to uncover some of the challenges currently facing contact centers.

The research revealed that 72% of customer service managers have added – or plan to add – gig talent in the next 2 years. However, that’s just the tip of the iceberg, as we identified many other trends in customer service. Here are three key findings from our research that will continue to have an impact in the industry going forward.

Employees value flexibility

Although the pandemic ushered in challenges for every industry, a more welcomed byproduct was that it introduced a new way of working that suits most people far better in everyday life – one that many aren’t willing to let go. Our survey found that over half of customer service managers said changes to schedule flexibility appeared to be a key area of resistance for employees when asked to return to a physical office.

It’s not hard to see why. The opportunity to spend quality time with friends and family instead of hours commuting to and from work is a naturally appealing package.

Considering this desire for flexibility, many CX teams are turning to GigCX – otherwise known as gig customer service – to supplement their customer service offerings and provide opportunities for individuals. GigCX is a solution that gives them access to a diverse, on-demand talent pool that can complete customer support tasks whenever and wherever they want. CX teams need to ensure they are making use of all possible options to help solve the problems of hiring and retaining employees.

Customer service managers find a WFH model difficult to operate

While flexibility has proven key to employees, the work from home (WFH) model has not made life easy for customer service managers. Our data found that more than half (51.75%) of customer service employees are being urged to return. When we consider that 40% of customer service managers think the WFH model is difficult to operate, we can begin to understand why.

For traditional contact centers, operating a WFH model requires a very different operating infrastructure, as well as different recruitment and training practices as compared to a brick-and-mortar model.

To help combat this, a GigCX model is a viable option. Brands that are already leveraging this give gig talent the ability to complete tasks on-demand, from any location. This removes many of the common fixed costs that come with brick-and-mortar organizations, and ensures that gig experts are able to provide quality customer service from anywhere.

Contact centers continue to struggle with talent retention

Employee attrition has been an issue in customer service for quite some time. However, the pandemic triggered a monumental pause, in which people were given the opportunity to re-evaluate their lives and truly assess their personal options. This has caused an increase in attrition, with many people deciding that they wanted to move away from the traditional 9-5 business day.

This is especially true for young people as Gen-Z’s and millennials don’t want to be tied to a desk. According to this article in Fortune, “they demand higher pay and more flexibility” and are generally not afraid to speak up for what they want. In turn, if companies want to be attracting the next generation of leaders in their customer service teams, they need to consider this.

With more people attracted to a remote/flexible mode, 44% of customer service managers in our survey stated that hiring employees is harder now than it was before the pandemic, and one-third (35%) of them think resignations have increased. Of the customer service managers we surveyed, 62% said that as a result, they have had to increase recruitment spend in order to meet staffing minimums.

This highlights the need to find new ways to source CX talent. It is one of the many reasons why CX leaders are turning to GigCX, where they can easily tap into a limitless pool of brand enthusiasts and product experts anywhere in the world, instantly. As the barrier to helping customers is so much lower in a GigCX model, attrition doesn’t have the same impact as it does when hiring full-time employees in the contact center.

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