Take a look around at the current labor market. 2020 was the toughest year that many business owners can ever remember, but there is a hiring surge taking place right now as companies across all business sectors see a recovery and scramble to find people.
Ratings agency Fitch has revised numbers upwards for airlines and McDonald’s is pushing wages up past $15 an hour and putting pressure on their franchisees to match wages offered in company-owned restaurants. According to the business magazine Forbes, recent average wage growth has been strong and almost a million people quit their job in June.
There is a popular view that the labor shortage is because of the unemployment benefits offered during the pandemic, but most economists are suggesting that this is too simplistic. There has been a very strong shift in mindset throughout the pandemic – why else would a million people quit a job they already have to find something else in just the past month? These aren’t people at home on the couch watching daytime TV and cashing government checks.
Workers are saying they want more flexibility and a better work/life balance. This is not about a generation free-loading on government benefits, the workers have just had enough of jobs that don’t pay well and demand inflexible long hours.
Customer service jobs have often fallen into this category. Agent pay has been pretty low because the quiet hours in the day get averaged with the busy periods. But the shifts have generally been inflexible because agents need to commute to a contact center and then work the entire day – busy or not.
Companies with an internal customer service team or contact center know that sometimes it can get crazy. There are peak periods in the day and even peak times of year like the holiday season when it’s hard to cope.
With LiveXchange you don’t need to replace or change any of your existing internal processes. Keep your agents and contact center, but start considering it as the core of your service team – they are there to serve the “typical” level of customer calls.
Use the platform to augment your physical contact center with a virtual one that seamlessly fits together and allows a team of agents working from home to work alongside your team. You hire and onboard the agents yourself – you are not buying a service from a BPO – you are using a technology platform to improve your existing customer service team. Listen to this recent podcast to hear some real-life views on how easily an existing customer service team can be augmented this way.
This allows your customer service operation to flex as needed. You offer work to the gig agents when you know it will be busy. This means that they can match up the times they want to work with your requirements and so they only work when it will be busy. Getting paid by customer interaction rather than minimum wage means they get the flexibility to choose their hours, work from home, and earn much more than someone commuting daily to a contact center.
Every company leader needs to think about how to manage this labor shortage. You can hike your hourly rates, but that still doesn’t give the flexibility and choice over hours that many workers are now looking for.
A system like LiveXchange allows you to retain complete control and visibility over the flexible team so you can transparently augment your existing core team with these extra workers. The core team doesn’t get so stressed at peak periods, the gig agents get great work on their terms, and you start answering customer calls immediately.
Take back control of your customer service processes and offer more flexibility to your agents – all at the same time.
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