The 2020 Holiday season is certainly different this year. Christmas appears to be arriving immediately after Thanksgiving and Black Friday has been spread across the whole of November and December – everything looks different thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic.
One thing has not changed though, the seasonality crunch on contact centers. Although it’s worse when every retailer used to just focus on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, the reality is that most have been trying to spread the sales over more than one weekend for a few years now. Covid-19 just gave them the excuse to create an entire season for sales.
Seasonality is often one of the primary reasons why executives start exploring GigCX. Once they see how flexible it can make your customer service team they start deploying gig agents, usually to augment a more traditional team, but sometimes as a replacement for an in-house contact center.
It’s true that GigCX is far better at handling seasonality than a traditional contact center. Just look at all the sales we have at present. With Black Friday spread over a couple of months there are constant spikes as different retailers launch offers and deals, but 2021 is going to demand flexibility and resilience in any customer service operation – this is where GigCX really excels. It’s not just about managing seasonality for Black Friday, you can introduce flexibility all year round.
In my book, GigCX: Customer Service In The Twenty-First Century, I outline four strategies that I can already see customer service executives following – and I will add a fifth one here as well. All these changes are designed to improve contact center flexibility and resilience:
- Moving from a single contact center to multiple sites
- Moving from a single geography to multiple – usually multiple nearshore locations
- Improving automation to offer 24/7 support using chatbots
- Increasing and blending WFH – work-from-home becomes a permanent part of a contact center solution
- Multisourcing – using more than a single contact center specialist to reduce risk
What I find really interesting is that contact centers need to go through all this change – almost a complete transformation – at the same time as people are still worried about the virus and clients are expecting some kind of 2021 normality. How do you deliver normal during a major process transformation?
All the reasons for making these changes in contact centers are addressed with a Gig CX strategy. You might have been initially attracted to GigCX because of your need to create a seasonality strategy, but look at all these other requirements for your 2021 strategy… each one can be immediately addressed by using a virtual contact center in the cloud.
There are really too many customer service executives treating this pandemic as a sprint and not a marathon. 2021 will continue to see further disruption and then there will be an additional need for much greater flexibility in future even when a vaccine restores normality. This will be because consumer behavior will have changed, contact center employee expectations will have changed, and your requirements to build resilience into the customer service operation will have changed.
There is no avoiding it. Seasonality may have been your initial attraction to GigCX, but the inherent flexibility and resilience in this type of solution will tempt you to use this model more comprehensively.