Making Contact Centers Attractive Work Options in the “Gig” Economy

In today’s contact centers, Millennials make up approximately 70% of the workforce. The Millennial generation is very different from earlier generations, particularly Baby Boomers, who were (and often still are) driven to dedicate much of their lives to working. For Millennials, a balance between their work and personal lives is of primary importance and many would rather enjoy flexibility in their work schedules than just about any other employment benefit.

This quest for flex hours sends many Millennials in the direction of so-called “gig” economy jobs. The “gig” economy is comprised of companies like Lyft, Uber and TaskRabbit that offer workers the ability to work when they can (or want to). For contact centers, equivalent flexibility is not an option, since, to deliver customer service, they must have the right number of employees in place to answer the phone, respond to chat queries, handle emails, etc. With the world of “gig” work beckoning their pool of potential employees, it is increasingly difficult for them to attract and keep enough capable workers to meet their service requirements.

What Employee Engagement Surveys Show

In late 2016, The Society for Workforce Planning Professionals (SWPP) conducted a survey, sponsored by WorkFlex, the topic of which was the value of schedule-change flexibility versus higher hourly wages. Workforce management professionals were asked if they thought their currently employed agents would take a pay cut in exchange for flexibility, and if they thought offering flexibility in place of a higher wage would improve their recruitment efforts. The results were eye-opening. Managers indicated that about a third of current and or potential agents would, in their estimation, take lower wages to get schedule-change flexibility in return.

The WorkFlex Solution

WorkFlex Intelligent Intraday Automation® technology is designed to empower all contact center employees: workforce managers, supervisors, and agents. The agent component of the WorkFlex system is an employee engagement tool contact centers can use to enable the work-life balance the Millennial population is demanding. A native mobile app with broad schedule-change functionality makes it easy for agents to adjust their work hours when they need to or simply want to. They can take time off, add hours, swap hours with themselves, trade hours with other agents, and change their work activity (e.g., from answering phone calls to responding to emails, or doing a training session). This capability not only benefits the agents, but the workforce administrators and the contact center’s operations, because every change the agents make helps optimize staffing levels.

If contact centers wish to compete successfully in the “gig” economy, they must consider providing current and future employees the chief benefit “gig” companies can offer: a flexible work schedule. Choosing to ignore this market dynamic could leave them with empty seats and the poor customer service every company seeks to avoid.

Learn more details in our white paper Recruitment and Retention: Winning the Staffing Wars in the Game of Gigs.

WorkFlex Intelligent Intraday Automation technology integrates with WFM and ACD systems to deliver optimized intraday performance, agent scheduling flexibility, and reduced administrative overhead. WorkFlex includes the Manager Suite administrative dashboard for system configuration, and intraday management, and the Agent Suite for agent schedule-change capability. WorkFlex is a SaaS technology. Deployments span multiple industry sectors including financial services, communications, healthcare, automotive, cable/sat and government.