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By: Execs In The Know
The gig economy continues to gain a significant share of voice in the news, in online discussions, and at our customer experience (CX) events. Rightfully so, due to its great promise and allure as an effective, flexible, cost-effective approach to serving customers. This rapidly growing CX service model has leaders actively exploring it as an intriguing service alternative. However, it is clear there is still some looming fear, uncertainty, and doubt.
While the early adopters of the gig model can attest to some clear benefits and tout some early success for specific applications, a majority of companies have yet to tap into this ever-growing talent pool due to a lack of understanding, hesitation about where to begin, or simply fear of what could go wrong.
Adopting a gig model requires you to fundamentally evaluate everything – it’s the newest disruptor to the traditional CX service delivery model. Despite a number of unanswered questions, leaders remain hungry to understand gig’s place within CX. We’ve laid out some of the most common options leaders would benefit from investigating the gig model. Let’s begin with the most fundamental question.
How do we define the gig economy for CX?
Perhaps the best way to provide clarity to loosely thrown around buzzwords is to break it down in CX terms. The gig economy is the economic model for CX to employ, while the pool of flexible workers within the gig economy is what we call gig workers. These are the workers who choose flexible, task-based work over traditional 9-5 office jobs at a rapidly increasing rate. To engage these gig workers, companies must consider how they integrate various service models into their mainstream CX operations.
“The gig economy really is less about customer service itself and more about where the talent of the future is going to be and how companies will tap into that talent to best serve their customers,” said Brett Frazer, Head of Customer Service at Sun Basket.
According to Upwork, 51% of the US independent workforce would not take a traditional job for any amount of money. Additionally, 84% say they are living their preferred lifestyle compared to 54% of those in traditional jobs.
The most important takeaway to comprehend is that flexible workers are part of the gig economy by choice. They pick the brands they represent, the hours they work, and the type of work they perform. As it pertains to CX, companies can make the most of the gig workforce by gaining access to workers who are already fans of the brand, unbound by physical location, willing to work outside a traditional 8 a.m.to 5 p.m. workday, and easily scalable. Additionally, they come with a faster acquisition to production mode timeline and a very different financial compensation model, often pay by the minute or pay by the result.
There is an endless amount of service models companies can use when getting into gig, which is what makes gig appear to be complex, but understanding it actually turns complexity into an attractive option. When it comes to sourcing the right workers and providing the right platform, there are a few widely adopted options beneficial to both beginners and experienced practitioners within the gig economy.
The Gig Resource Platform Service Model
Advancements in technology and secure VPN capabilities allow work to be performed from anywhere at any time.
New technology capabilities have opened the door for new gig resource technology and service platforms such as Upwork, Limitless, and many others to make it easier for companies to find gig workers capable of handling the exact capabilities they need. These providers attract and retain a pool of gig workers, and through their technology, serve up knowledge and language assessment information, along with the ability create a seamless service workflow.
When you invite gig workers with the right attributes and passion for your brand to perform task-based work, you can connect them to your digital channels through APIs or use the platform tools available to manage the project. With some vendors focused specifically on CX, you can lean on the platform’s technology to resolve or route calls to qualified agents. Frazer discussed his company’s successful relationship with Limitless and explained how they streamline the process of tapping into gig.
“I work with Limitless to identify the customers we want to invite to join the platform, however, that platform is owned by Limitless and those who elect to join are independent contractors with Limitless,” said Frazer. “They have no direct affiliation in this work capacity with Sun Basket.”
“In our growing of the company, we looked at ways for existing customers to help customers in our retention model. Our retention model was very phone heavy, and gig and phone really haven’t been able to merge very well yet with some of the technology. I liked many of the technologies Limitless was talking about when it came to gig and how they focused on providing a way for people to make a career out of customer service,” said Frazer.
By partnering with a gig resource platform service provider, companies can hand off management time-intensive tasks of the talent recruitment, training, and compensation with the added benefit of limitations in liability.
Lisa Oswald, SVP of Customer Service at Travelzoo, has been able to rely on Upwork to handle her company’s gig work.
“We trialed the Upwork platform in May 2019, shifting from a traditional staffing agency to the freelancing site to hire a dedicated team for full-time contract work,” said Oswald. “There’s no difference in the way we manage our gig team or any other on our payroll. We apply the same quality assurance processes, set the same performance targets, offer the same pay for performance incentives – and just as important, communicate on the same frequency.”
These new platforms help solve the problem of having to follow traditional time-consuming methods to find consistent, reliable gig workers that are a good fit for a company to perform a particular service. Whether it’s your first dip into the gig pool or your 100th, these resource platforms make it easy to quickly connect and ramp up with the right gig workers.
The Gig Outsourcing or Virtual Call Center Service Model
For companies looking for a turnkey solution, outsourcing remains a sound option within the gig economy. A full-service outsourcing model using gig workers lends itself to a full spectrum of gig benefits with the added confidence of traditional outsourcing services. This model allows a company to bypass the gig learning curve and retool to accommodate the nuances of gig.
A gig outsourcing service model opens the door to even more flexibility and greater access to different talent structures by either incorporating a pure gig workforce managed service, or by building a hybrid model to seamlessly leverage both traditional brick and mortar workers and gig workers. In some cases, these outsourced or virtual call center service providers act as the middleman, outsourcing to either independent gig workers, a micro call center company made up of incorporated independent work-from-anywhere gig workers, or to multi-agent call center companies.
“You have to break your mindset up,” said Frazer. “You have less control over your volume handling in a gig environment than you do in an outsource environment.”
This model also opens the door for sourcing diverse talent from around the world, different languages, different skill sets with more input and control over training, background check clearances, and even the tools they use. Oswald pointed out how gig “gives us access to talent unbound by geography, people who can work around the clock to support our global business at very competitive labor rates.”
The gig outsourcing or virtual model also allows for efficiency in an integrated approach. This includes a gig model to handle the definable, routine calls with escalation to the more seasoned office-based worker across the globe who handles the more sensitive, culture-dependent, or complex calls. This model is great when you need to accommodate seasonal spikes in call volume, service a global customer, and when more control for security or training is needed.
Custom Service Model
While advancements in technology have created platforms with the ability to connect data to view all work being done across gig workers and outsourcers, some companies feel comfortable enough plugging in gig workers through their own service models.
The process is a thorough undertaking that likely becomes more prominent in coming years. Unlike outsourcing or resource platforms, building an in-house gig model requires specialized knowledge in terms of acquiring and managing independent contractor talent and the legal nuances that come with it. This avenue requires agents to have access to the proper training materials and tools to ensure they feel they can confidently perform the work and earn an honest income while maintaining their highly desired independence.
Choosing a unique, do-it-yourself type of service model doesn’t have to be complicated. Companies can even choose to rely on organizational alumni networks, former full-time skilled workers looking for flexible work, or professionals looking for a side hustle.
According to a Mavenlink report, nearly half (47%) of respondents reported they are in the market to hire gig workers to fill management and senior executive roles, including C-Suite level positions. It isn’t uncommon to hire flexible agents with the intention of keeping them long-term and eventually developing them into higher-level pillars of the company.
Are You Ready to Get into The Gig?
Technology’s improvements have lowered the barrier for entry into gig. CX executives have a goldmine of talent and resources available, provided everyone knows where to begin, and which service model is the most feasible.
If you are reluctant to get into gig for agent services, these models aren’t restricted to call center agents, either. Some of our community members are testing the waters using gig workers for secret shopper services, data entry, outbound calling, and other specialized routine tasks.
With a new decade upon us and a gig workforce growing by the day, there is no better time to examine service models and explore how to best reach the ideal flexible workers to in turn provide the customer with the best possible experience.
The contact center industry plays a pivotal role in delivering efficient customer service and support across various sectors. However, operating a contact center can be costly, primarily due to the highly labor-intensive nature of its operations. To address this challenge, organizations are increasingly turning to automated process flows to optimize their contact center operations and achieve significant cost savings.
Join us as we share the remarkable transformation journey for PSCU, the nation’s largest credit union service organization, and how they leveraged AI and automation to simplify hundreds of workflow processes and eliminate their complicated knowledge base—all while boosting agent performance and efficiency.
By streamlining and automating data retrieval and consolidation, knowledge management, and issue escalation processes, agents can dedicate their expertise to more complex, value-added tasks. This not only amplifies their productivity but also elevates customer satisfaction by ensuring faster and more precise resolutions.
In this session, Kim West, VP Product Marketing from Uniphore, will share invaluable lessons and key takeaways to:
Technology is most effective when it’s used in the service of human beings. Join Intradiem President Jennifer Lee for a customer case study featuring Jim Simmons from Synchrony Financial. Jennifer will discuss technology-driven strategies to boost employee well-being and performance, and Jim will explain how Synchrony Bank is leveraging automation along with Thrive’s science-backed behavior change platform to provide more human-centric support to its contact center agents. Arianna Huffington, founder and CEO of Thrive Global, will share via video how Thrive embeds employee well-being into everyday workflows, which lowers stress, builds resilience and improves performance.
In today’s competitive business landscape, customer service has become the ultimate differentiator. It’s no longer just about resolving issues; it’s about creating meaningful connections that foster loyalty and advocacy. Channel shouldn’t matter when it comes to delighting customers. The modern customer service team needs to meet customers where they are without having their information siloed across tools or channels. This panel discussion will bring together industry experts, thought leaders and seasoned practitioners to explore effective strategies and best practices for cultivating lifelong conversations with customers. Through engaging dialogue and insightful anecdotes, the panelists will highlight the key elements contributing to making customer service the centerpiece of your business by establishing a seamless channel experience that transcends traditional boundaries.
We all see it coming, an AI revolution that is more than just hype. However, figuring out how to make it work smoothly for customer service and finding the best way to learn, evaluate, and put it into action is not a walk in the park.
Join us as we examine the opportunities for leveraging AI to better understand, shape, customize, and optimize the customer journey and your overall CX. We’ll share real-world success cases and even a few cautionary tales of when things didn’t go quite as planned.
During this Shop Talk, you’ll leave understanding:
Navy Federal Credit Union (NFCU) has always been focused on providing member-first service to more than 12 million global customers, and their frequent recognition by Forrester, KPMG, and JD Power reflects that emphasis. With the advent of more advanced technology, NFCU has worked hard to strike a balance between the high-touch interactions and digital journeys they provide to members. To guide this work, NFCU adopted a Digital First, Member Always philosophy.
In this session, we will share a glimpse into some of the ways the NFCU customer experience teams are bringing this mantra to life. Starting with the fundamentals, we will discuss key initiatives that are improving the member’s digital journey.
You will learn about:
We hope you will join us to hear about NFCU’s exciting journey as they deliver compassionate service that strives to always put the member first!
As the workforce grows and diversifies, leading across generations has become more challenging than ever before. There are now five generations in the workforce (Silent Generation, Baby Boomers, Generation-X, Millennials, Generation-Z), each with unique values, communication styles, work preferences, motivators, and technology habits. This can lead to misunderstandings and incorrect assumptions among colleagues, making it critical to welcome different perspectives and use them to lead effectively.
In this workshop, COPC Inc. will present 2023 research that illuminates the reality of generational divides in contact centers and customer experience operations.
Join COPC and your peers to learn how to transform your leadership approach and create a culture that welcomes generational differences. Leave this session with a better understanding of how to lead and manage each generation while maintaining individual strategies for maximum success.
Join Execs In The Know on Friday, September 22nd at 2 PM for an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour of SmileDirectClub’s manufacturing facility, dubbed the SmileHouse.
Your host Alvin Stokes, SmileDirectClub’s Chief Customer Contact Officer, will share how this disruptive brand streamlines the process from customer engagement to purchase decision and innovates the CX journey for their customers. He’ll delve into the fascinating connection points between customer experience and the SmileMaker Platform, which uses advanced AI technology via an app to put game-changing innovation in the palm of consumers’ hands.
Be a part of this tour to witness firsthand the impressive 3D printing technology, observe the seamless production of the brand’s clear aligners, and explore how using the power of innovation can up-level your customer experience. We can’t wait to see you there!
As a leading robotic vacuum cleaning company, iRobot prides itself on being a mission-driven builder that is revolutionizing the way the world cleans with consumer robots. In this thought-provoking keynote, Ledia Dilo, VP – Head of Global Customer Care and Fulfillment at iRobot, will address how the brand leverages customer-centric strategies to drive sustained growth, optimize operations, and build customer loyalty in an industry currently challenged by slowing demand, growing competition, and supply chain cost.
With a focus on optimizing operations, she’ll unveil the four strategic pillars that drive iRobot’s customer interactions, streamline onboarding experiences, and transform the contact center into an insights-driven and strategic business unit. Additionally, she’ll highlight the crucial role of the care team, their technical training, and collaborative partnerships with engineering in addressing complex product issues. Find out how iRobot leverages customer data and proactively engages with consumers to build lasting relationships. Drawing on her extensive experience, inspiring anecdotes, and metrics showcasing the success of proactive initiatives, she will demonstrate the immense value of customer-centricity in shaping the trajectory of brands to deliver win-win outcomes.
Join Ledia to gain insights on iRobot’s remarkable legacy that will inspire you to reshape your brand’s customer experience, unlock new growth opportunities, and cultivate enduring customer loyalty.
Join our panel of experts as they delve into the world of artificial intelligence (AI) and its potential transformative impact on customer experience (CX). The revolutionary capabilities that AI offers enable brands to drive meaningful change by delivering efficiency, hyper-personalization, predictive insights, and seamless interactions to just name a few.
This thought-provoking discussion will shed light on a wide range of perspectives, various use cases, and challenges and opportunities that are specific to an organization’s size and structure when deploying AI in the current CX landscape. Our panelists will also share how they are navigating critical considerations, such as ethics, data privacy, and striking the right balance between automation and maintaining a human touch.
The latest AI has the potential to automate far more customer inquiries than prior generations of conversational AI. While most people are familiar with ChatGPT, few have deployed Large Language Models in customer-facing applications.
LOOP Insurance is excited to share their journey from a simple chatbot to a state of the art LLM-powered AI assistant that has yielded an impressive increase in effectiveness and CSAT.
In this session you will learn:
Witness the transformative journey of iPostal1, the worldwide leader in digital mailbox technology, as we explore the extraordinary impact of artificial intelligence (AI) on customer service. Due to rapid growth and an influx of customers, the brand was challenged to rethink how it could maintain its high standards for an exceptional level of service.
Armed with innovative solutions and a dynamic suite of tools, iPostal1, was able to scale its operations and take control of how it managed relationships with customers without diminishing the quality of its customer service.
Join us to hear from Dan Medina, Director of Customer Service Operations at iPostal1, and Colin Crowley, CX Advisor at Freshworks, to learn how AI can empower your customers, agents, and leaders alike by:
The cultural alignment between your organization and your BPO partner has become an essential ingredient to drive performance, speed to proficiency, and a consistent customer experience across locations. When cultural alignment is measured, monitored, and continuously calibrated, both companies arrive at a greater understanding of each other’s beliefs, communication processes, and abilities—functioning with truly dynamic collaboration.
In this session, learn how Qualfon and Neiman Marcus’ cultural alignment has resulted in the ultimate strategic partnership.
In a rapidly changing world, the landscape of work and business is undergoing unprecedented transformations. During his keynote, Peter Mallot, Worldwide Support Leader for Modern Life and Business Programs at Microsoft, will provide an informed perspective and timely insights at the intersection of Workforce Strategy, Culture, and Technology.
The future of work is progression, not an overnight solution. It demands a shift in corporate culture, management philosophy, and workforce adaptation, where the focus moves from reactive to proactive, from support to achievement. The path forward lies in a delicate balance between leveraging technology’s capabilities and empowering people toward greater productivity, collaboration, flexibility, and automation to enable customers to achieve more.
Join Peter to gain a deeper understanding of the engine required to drive change for an organization’s most valuable assets — its teams and its customers.
In this engaging keynote address, Stacy Spikes, CEO of the nationwide movie subscription service MoviePass, will take you on a journey where customer-centricity and innovation converge to create immersive and personalized cinematic experiences for all.
Discover how MoviePass is reinventing itself post-bankruptcy, overcoming past challenges, embracing product and customer service improvements, and setting its sights on a new horizon. From navigating customer churn to building customer trust and loyalty, Stacy will share real-life examples of the pivotal moments and invaluable insights that are shaping the brand’s trajectory.
Learn why diversity and building community are not just cultural values, but smart business moves that lead to better products and greater market reach. Additionally, Stacy will delve into the potential of blockchain technology as a powerful tool to bridge the gap between moviegoers and filmmakers.
Join us for this thought-provoking and inspiring look into the future of cinema and Stacy’s ambitious plans for reinventing moviegoing for customers.
As CX leaders, we recognize that enabling a customer-centric vision holds immense potential for driving value for our organizations.
Join our esteemed panel of industry experts as we explore how CX is used to drive revenue opportunities and strong business value. The panel will unlock the key KPIs and performance metrics that leaders must be measuring and monitoring to validate and amplify the value of their CX vision. With an ever-changing technology landscape alongside evolving customer expectations, we will explore the future impacts of CX ROI and discuss the influence it will have on what we measure.
From this session you will take away:
Enter digital workers, where AI and automation meet to support employee and customer experiences. They are changing our understanding of the future of work.
To support human employees, digital worker technology will continue to advance capabilities. The unique capabilities of Generative AI and automation are enabling CX leaders to gain a deep understanding of customer preferences, behaviors, and pain points.
Join us as we explore a real-world example of how a leading brand harnessed digital workers to revolutionize its contact center operations.
During this Shop Talk, you’ll discover:
As artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) technology evolve, contact centers are using them to transform customer experiences through agent assist, self-service, and conversational analytics capabilities.
Join Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Truist to discover best practices for how to leverage AI-powered technology to deliver exceptional customer experiences. In this session, you will learn about:
With the global CX personalization market forecast to hit $11.6 billion by 2026, it is imperative that brands embed true personalization opportunities across the service journey. Facilitation begins with bi-directional omnichannel engagement that will require cutting-edge technology, insightful analytics, and advanced agent enablement.
This incredible panel will showcase agents alongside their business leaders in what is sure to be a powerful conversation on the approach needed to radically transform customer relationships. Join us as we unpack and explore critical insights from two unique perspectives on:
Inspiration is a catalyst for greatness. It transcends the mundane and ordinary, breaking through conventional boundaries to unleash the full potential of individuals and teams. In this captivating keynote, Carolyne M. Truelove, Vice President, Reservations and Customer Relations at American Airlines, will unveil the immense power of inspiration and its ability to ignite a drive for exceptional results and lead transformative change.
Discover the extraordinary possibilities that lie within you as a leader. Everything a leader does requires connection, including vision, strategy, and execution. Learn the art of connected leadership, fostering a culture of open-mindedness, and leveraging your leadership to navigate through the ever-evolving business landscape. When inspiration permeates every aspect of an organization, magic happens. Join Carolyne for an unforgettable keynote and unlock the secret to inspiring others into action.
Generative AI brings forth a new realm of possibilities for enhancing the customer experience. However, its propensity to occasionally deliver inaccurate or nonsensical information — a phenomenon known as a hallucination — could potentially impact hard-won customer loyalty. To ensure its success, generative AI has to solve problems and respond in a way that is accurate, helpful and free from toxicity and bias.
Join AI experts from TELUS International, a leading digital customer experience provider, for a Tech Forum exploring:
Companies today require a robust well-being strategy to have a material impact on the growing crisis of workplace mental health and business resilience. Join us for this interactive session as we explore the Four Building Blocks of Emotional Intelligence. We’ll be exploring how to intentionally cultivate learning, development, and leadership strategies that focus on mindfulness and emotional intelligence, and how they are enhanced by dynamic neuroinsights and AI technology.
There is a great divide emerging in customer experience (CX) and leaders are being presented with the opportunity to blaze a trail forward with Conversational AI to set themselves apart in their service experience.
Conversational AI presents the opportunity for companies to harness new technology in a low-risk, high-impact environment. Embracing these new possibilities makes it possible for CX leaders to deliver enhanced and effective service at scale.
During this Tech Forum, you will be guided through the steps and considerations needed to build your very own AI assistant. Participants will walk away appreciating how simple and risk-free it can be to deliver big CX wins.
Join us as we explore:
Don’t miss this opportunity to bridge the Conversational AI divide and unlock the full potential of AI assistants in revolutionizing your CX.
In today’s remote work environment, organizations must not only hire the right talent but must also leverage technology to effectively manage and improve the employee experience (EX) throughout the agent life cycle.
To boost agent experience and reduce cognitive load, leading organizations are:
In this 90-minute session, we’ll explore how to best empower remote employees and motivate them to foster collaboration amongst themselves as well as with managers. With effective strategies in place, companies will see higher ESAT, engagement, and retention from happy and productive team members.
As you build onboarding for new hires, getting your agents to a place of confidence and proficiency can often be a challenge, especially in a hybrid workforce environment.
In this interactive session, we will reveal key findings on CX preferences designed for today’s consumers and what experiences they truly expect when contacting your brand for support. Find out why driving higher speed to proficiency with new hires is the top metric for delivering the experience your customers expect and deserve.
The hybrid workforce is here to stay. Learn insights into why companies are losing customers and market share by not having effective onboarding. While companies shifted to ‘virtual learning’ due to need, most lack a cohesive and scalable training and onboarding strategy for new hires in a global hybrid workforce.
In this session you’ll learn:
Jack Meek currently leads customer care operations at GoDaddy, the world’s largest services platform for entrepreneurs around the globe. GoDaddy’s mission is to empower their worldwide community of 20+ million customers — and entrepreneurs everywhere — by giving them all the help and tools they need to grow online. With 21M+ customers worldwide and 84M+ domain names under management, GoDaddy is the place folks come to name their idea, create a compelling brand and a great looking website, attract customers with digital and social marketing, and manage their work. Jack is responsible for developing and executing the future global care strategy that will continue to differentiate GoDaddy as the advocate of small business success throughout the world.
Jack is an influential change leader who has a passion for technology, innovation, and seeing people succeed. His foundational expertise and passion for building a solid employee and customer centric culture started at MCI where he was repeatedly recognized for record-breaking performance & leadership achievements. He then went on to help build and consolidate large-scale customer service and sales organizations at in the Telecom and Retail Energy space. Jack has successfully transformed and maintained customer operations and sales organizations of all sizes and across many different industries. He spent several years as a senior leader in the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) industry helping multiple clients such as Verizon, Sony, and T-Mobile achieve their customer outcome goals.
Jeff is a passionate advocate for Customers and designing frictionless experiences for them. He began his career in Marketing in 1991, as a call center agent, while attending the University of Wisconsin, Madison and studying Communication Theory and Research. The first eight years of his career included multiple call center operational roles. Following his first eight years in operations, Jeff spent 10 years in the Omnicom family in both the US and the UK/Europe with multi-channel responsibility for Client Services and Program Strategy in a variety of verticals including Telecom, Energy, Media and Non-Profit. He currently serves as the VP and GM of Listener Care for SiriusXM with responsibility for all live customer interactions. His scope includes partnerships with 16 BPOs, in nine geographies, representing more than 60 support center locations.
Bill Colton is the Co-Founder and CEO of Global Telesourcing, a premium provider of digital and voice customer experience and sales solutions for some of the largest and most recognizable brands in the US. Using native-speaking English agents who spent their formative years living in the US, their workforce is as bi-cultural as they are bi-lingual. Global Telesourcing serves clients from centers in both Monterrey and Leon, Mexico, as well as work-from-home.