From ordering a meal to scheduling a ride, consumers flock to gig economy platforms for their ease and convenience. Many workers are also drawn to the freedom and flexibility of setting their own schedules and picking up ‘gigs’ as they please.
Yet from a CX standpoint, how does the customer service provided by these companies stack up? Does it meet the level of convenience that consumers have come to expect from these platforms that have become a pervasive component of everyday life?
For Netomi, a multichannel conversational AI platform, creating authentic conversations with customers in the digital era is our key area of focus. As the gig economy continues to shape the global business environment, we wanted to connect the two worlds – the gig economy and CX.
Our research team set to work analyzing the state of customer service for 87 of the top gig economy platforms. We looked at how support is delivered across various channels: phone, app, email, and social media. To measure the quality of customer support, we leveraged a proprietary index, a 100-point scale that we refer to as the Support Performance Index (SPI). Now, the report cards are in, and we have the results.
Highlights from The New 9 to 5: The State of CX in the Gig Economy
Many gig economy companies appear to put all of their eggs into one customer service basket, rather than casting a wider net.
Just under 3% of companies are “multichannel potent,” with all channels (Twitter, Instagram, email, phone, and app) available for customer service. Moreover, roughly 14% of companies only use the phone as a customer service channel, 13% only use social media, and 10% only use email.
Social media reigns supreme.
One finding that comes as no surprise (after all, the gig economy population is a pretty digitally-savvy crowd), is that social media is reigning supreme. 70 out of the 87 companies have an Instagram account, and 54 have a Twitter account. However, 66% of companies ignore direct messages (DM’s) received through Instagram, indicating that this channel is used more as a platform for brand exposure and marketing rather than one for customer support.
App support is surprisingly inadequate.
For many companies, apps are the primary, if not the only, method of communication. For companies such as Uber, for instance, the Uber app is essential for customers to schedule a ride. While 59% of the companies have an app, only 28% of them provide an easily accessible direct messaging feature. We also found that numerous companies do not offer the option for in-app chat and sometimes, users are simply redirected to the company’s webpage.
The Importance of a Strong Multichannel CX strategy
Previous Netomi benchmark reports have examined the state of customer service in industries such as travel and eCommerce. This is a different story – with the gig economy, there is a need to cater to multiple segments of customers – both gig economy workers and the customers they serve. Plus, it is fast-paced and agile, and there is arguably a need for a broader CX strategy, one that casts a wider net to service the modern gig economy player.
We know that customers today are everywhere – traversing across channels such as email and social media. And while some channels may be favored over others (Netomi’s The Importance of Email survey found that email is the preferred channel of customer service contact for 47% of customers), a presence on all channels is crucial.
To meet these demands, gig economy companies need to embrace multichannel CX strategies.
As the global gig economy continues to flourish (Gartner predicts that gig workers will account for 35-40% of the workforce by 2025), this will likely be accompanied by an increase in support queries. When questions regarding invoices, service fees, and canceled rides arise, support teams must be prepared to meet these surges in demand. Likewise, customers and giggers want their problems to be resolved quickly and efficiently.
Simply put, if we want a ride to pick us up within minutes or our furniture assembled this afternoon, we want support to be delivered in a manner that is equally as speedy.
Check out all of Netomi’s findings in The New 9 to 5: The State of CX in the Gig Economy!