Today, most companies have staff working from home due to the pandemic. Although customer experience management (CXM) agents aren’t essential workers in the truest sense, consumers sheltering in the safety of their homes for months on end have relied on them so heavily for wide-ranging reasons that they might as well have considered them so. What those consumers probably don’t know is that the call center agents assisting them are most likely working from home. In fact, our recent research report, Customer Experience Management (CXM) State of the Market Report 2021, found that the percentage of CXM FTEs working at home grew from less than 10 percent in 2019 to as much as 80 percent during the health crisis. While we expect that there will be some movement back towards the brick and mortar model in the coming months and years, many service providers and in-house contact centers will continue to utilize Work at Home Agents (WAHA) as a key component of their service delivery strategy.
Two WAHA models are currently in use. One is employee-based (E-WAHA), wherein the agents are on the service provider’s or company’s payroll. The other is contract-based (C-WAHA), wherein contractors are leveraged and only paid for the time they work for the organization.
In recent years, GigCX has emerged as an alternate approach to CXM staffing and is being utilized by the likes of organizations such as eBay and Microsoft. GigCX includes the use of freelance or self-employed workers to handle specific interaction types, leveraging an AI-powered technology platform. They are recruited for their existing knowledge and passion for the product and service.
Initially, GigCX was utilized for very simple work; however, those interactions are increasingly being eliminated or automated. Now, growing use of this model is for more complex query types that require a level of brand affinity and awareness, which can be a differentiator many GigCX providers are publicizing.
GigCX, which is often seen as another strain of the WAHA model, should not be confused with WAHA, as there are some fundamental differences in how the models operate.
When considering which approach is best to meet a set of business requirements, organizations should understand the following differences in the two models:
While we have seen both WAHA and GigCX being effective models for handling customer interactions, there are some stark differences in their operation. Any company considering using either model should assess the positives and negatives of the approaches and factor them into their operating model design. Both models are highly effective when utilized appropriately to handle the right interaction types, especially if all the limitations and dependencies are considered early in the design process.
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