How the Rise of the Gig-Economy can be Leveraged for Job Creation
Guest Blog by Asonele Kotu of Zailab
Forget about offshoring – the gig economy model can teach us a thing or two about keeping things simple, pocket-friendly and virtual.
The term gig-economy has been popping up a lot lately and I couldn’t help but wonder what it meant for the contact centre industry.
In a nutshell, the gig economy is a labour market trend characterised by flexible contractual work as an alternative to permanent jobs. Many would question the thinking behind choosing a short-term contract over stable, permanent employment. The answer is simple – the former offers flexibility, freedom and more money.
Lessons contact centres can learn from the gig economy
When we look at offshoring, it’s often a cost-saving exercise that takes away massive numbers of jobs that could have been offered to locals. Think about it for a second. Yes, your company is saving money, but what if customers don’t like dealing with agents who don’t understand their culture, lifestyle and language? What if that same cost-saving exercise ends up coming at the cost of quality customer service? Not to mention the ethical repercussions of withholding decent work from locals.
The question we need to be asking ourselves is: are we creating jobs or are we shipping them away?
The starting point for moving away from this outdated thinking is changing the traditional way we view contact centres. Technology has given us the opportunity to change the way we do business. For example, moving your business to the Cloud comes with a wealth of savings – no rent, less furniture or hardware to budget for. Suddenly you’re able to shift your focus locally again.
And this is where the gig economy comes in.
Imagine if your agents could enjoy the same benefits as freelance agents – greater flexibility, more time at home and being able to take charge of their own careers.
Once you’ve migrated your contact centre to the Cloud, you can employ local agents who can work from home. All they’d need is a fast Internet connection and access to the software. With the right solution, you can manage your contact centre exactly the same way you would a brick and mortar enterprise.
Plus you’d be saving a lot on your bottom line and bring much-welcomed jobs back home.
And there’s plenty room for freelance agents in this model.
Seasonal peak periods and high attrition rates make the contact centre industry perfect for freelance agents looking for opportunities. More often than not, those gig workers are local too.
How does this work in practice?
The work landscape is changing. The nine-to-five hour work day will be an ancient concept by 2022 (Source: PWC report on Workforce of the future: The competing forces shaping 2030.) The modern worker wants flexibility. We see this in the high number of people opting for flexible work opportunities.
So how can we adopt gig-economy thinking in the contact centre right now? Training is key. Training permanently-employed agents on how to do their job at home and training gig-workers on how to achieve the service levels you’re after.
Of course, none of this would be possible without a solid technological underpinning. The type of technology that your business uses should be able to support how your work model is structured. There are many communication platforms that work irrespective of geographic location, giving you the same control you would have had over a more centralised team.
Onward to the future
Industry needs to adapt to this new thinking and look to the gig-economy for lessons on how they can contribute towards employment creation in their areas.
Guest Blog by Asonele Kotu of Zailab
Asonele Kotu is a PR & communications specialist at ZaiLab. Established in 2014, ZaiLab is a global contact centre software-as-a-service (CCaaS) company. The company was founded by maverick CEO Nour Addine Ayyoub, who had a dream of transforming the contact centre industry. ZaiLab’s software is a 100% cloud-based omnichannel solution, suitable for both small and large enterprises, notable for its prioritised routing and consumption-based pricing.