In McKinsey’s recently released An on-demand revolution in customer-experience operations? two things became immediately clear: Firstly, GigCX, as recognised by the global management firm, continues to make steady inroads into the mainstream of customer experience operations. Secondly, GigCX is a revolution, and it’s one in which Limitless has been pleased to play a key role for more than five years now.
For us, however, the history and roots of GigCX go even further back than that.
Before Limitless, we used to refer to GigCX as the Giffgaff model (SIM-only mobile.) It was about getting customers to help others in exchange for service credits. At the time, Giffgaff was using a social media platform as a tool to communicate, which wasn’t wholly appropriate. However, the company always ranked highly in terms of customer service and customer experience. Giffgaff had such strong advocacy from its customers, and it was run very economically, with great NPS and far better response times than many traditional customer service models.
Leading up to the launch of Limitless in 2016, the Giffgaff experience was one of many CX interactions that led us to build a purpose-built GigCX platform supporting the very specific idea of crowdsourced service in an environment that is reliable, scalable, and secure. At the time of launch, the platform was very bleeding edge, but now, we have established GigCX on every CX leader’s radar.
It’s now clear that GigCX isn’t just a resourcing tool, and not just an outsourcing alternative. GigCX is a powerful and very flexible model that has not just weathered the storm of the pandemic: it’s become a critical element underpinning many enterprise organisations’ customer service operations, and it’s set to become even more prolific in the months and years ahead.
GigCX Differentiators: Value is Everything
Today, GigCX is widely recognised to be improving service and customer experience, while also driving better value and quality for brands. What we’ve also seen is that costs are often lowered as a bi-product of the other benefits. If quality is increased and personal knowledge is used correctly, then customers are less likely to need multiple conversations to solve their problem, and in less time. Dennis Pollett, Senior Product Manager of Microsoft says of GigCX:
“We targeted to improve either quality or cost without negatively impacting the other – we ended up improving both massively and adding increased flexibility as a bonus.”
It’s not a panacea for everything, but GigCX is proving very useful and relevant in specific verticals including retail, automotive, e-commerce marketplaces, technology, electronics and consumer goods. Most importantly, it’s got some of the most iconic, recognisable and influential brands in the world using it, from Microsoft to L’Oréal to eBay.
However, what the McKinsey article doesn’t reflect is some of the most recent findings of our own research, which reveals exactly how likely consumers are to buy from brands that use GigCX.
Our research found that when it comes to getting advice and support on products and services, the majority of consumers want to communicate with tried and tested product users versus customer service call centre agents. The research, consisting of 1,000 UK respondents aged 16-54, found that 70% of respondents would trust customer service agents more if they were fellow customers and product or service users themselves.
The research also unveiled that a top priority for consumers is receiving empathetic and genuine responses and best practice knowledge on using the product or service. This was followed by the availability of customer service agents 24/7, with 75% of respondents citing 9-5 call centre hours as restrictive, or requiring customer service outside of these hours.
Additionally, with nearly half of consumers stating that the COVID-19 is no longer a valid excuse for poor customer service, organisations need to re-evaluate how they can meet rising consumer expectations as we enter the post-pandemic era.
Despite significant investments in customer service technology and multi-channel services (i.e. self-service, automated chatbots), the findings also highlight consumer preference for personable and human interactions. The results found that 57% prefer written communication (email, webchat, social media or other) to voice (43%).
Beyond these trends, what has also been fascinating in other research we’ve conducted this year has been the descriptors CX leaders and GigCX Experts have used in describing GigCX and the evolving human connection we’re seeing today. ‘Enjoyability’, ‘enthusiasm’, and ‘grace’ were words heard throughout the conversations with CX leaders who’d deployed or been involved in some way with GigCX.
What can we say to companies who think they are not ready for GigCX?
We’ve got two things to say. Firstly, it’s time to stop sidestepping issues that have not been solved with other customer service models. Costs are still rising, and there are still too many dissatisfied customers and prospects. If companies aren’t looking at new ways to drive value creation, growth and customer success, they are failing on several fronts.
Secondly, if you are not embracing GigCX, you are running the risk of steadily decaying into being uncompetitive, and you will continue to suffer a potentially debilitating combination of inflexibility and poor service levels. As Michael Havard, Group Director of Davies Consulting says, GigCX is a unique solution that marks the first time we’re seeing four parts of typically siloed companies coming together in a really powerful way:
“In GigCX, operationally, companies are benefiting from high-value, low-cost flexible resources, helping to improve service levels to manage customer experience better and more efficiently. The marketing community gets great brand advocacy. And there is the opportunity to leverage the positive and viral noise of advocates, infusing other customers.”
Changing customer demands and changing worker demands are driving new ways in which customer service professionals can work, opening up GigCX as a channel for customers to contact brands in ways that will drive more meaningful, valuable conversations.
From online marketplace seller setup questions to subscription customer service queries, to like-minded peers putting their heads together to deliver honest answers surrounding products and services, it’s safe to say GigCX is becoming an integral mainstream customer experience resource pool faster than we ever thought possible.