The Evolution of Contact Centers - Hybrid Sourcing

September 13, 2022
Split image showing a stressed male call center agent on the left and a smiling female call center agent on the right, illustrating contrasting work experiences.

Your business is growing quickly and this is a great thing. You’re getting noticed, sales are happening, and the trajectory is positive. But wait… customers have questions. Regardless of how great your product, solution, marketing, onboarding, and sales processes are, customers will always have questions. And it is perpetually difficult to predict what they’ll ask, when they will want to talk to you, how they want to engage with you, why they’re wanting to connect, and how demanding they will be.

So, how do most new or growing companies solve these problems?

We’ve been in this business a long time, and this is the typical cycle we’ve observed:

DIY or In-House Contact Centers (Legacy Approach #1)

Companies usually start with a do-it-yourself (DIY) attitude. You’re different - we get it. You make great products, you solve complex problems on your own, and, let’s face it, you love to be in control!

Usually senior management tags their internal Operations and/or IT departments to help fix the customer contact ‘problem’. Operations make sense because figuring out business processes are right in their wheelhouse, and IT makes sense because there are a multitude of technical issues that need to be addressed to handle incoming traffic (systems, hardware, and software to name just a few).

But as you continue to grow, so do the costs. And the costs can escalate quickly and are everywhere. From software licensing, to facilities, to hiring and recruiting, to training, to management, pretty soon everyone is pulling their hair out.

At this point, usually senior management has had enough. Costs continually escalate and you spend more time looking at internal problems rather than focusing on what you were really great at in the first place. The DIY route just can’t handle it any more. Now you have hundreds if not thousands of employees working in customer service roles and now you’ve become a factory of recruiting, hiring, managing, paying, (rinse, wash, repeat).

BPO (Legacy Approach #2)

Looking for outside help, you turn your attention to the old pro’s. BPO’s have been helping companies handle call volume for 50 years. They can absorb the pain, and they are great at selling the perceived value.

The pitch goes like this - “you pay less because of our economies of scale, we’re the experts, we’ve been doing this forever. You’ll get a million reports, you’ll know what’s going on, trust us with your call volume and you’ll never have to deal with the HR, Ops, IT, and facilities nightmares again.”

And they’re right. All else being equal, the BPO is a way better place for the call volume. They do know what they’re doing. There are some excellent people working in these operations.

However, you’ve given up control of your customer contacts to an outside organization that is only somewhat invested in your success. And, although you’ve removed the high costs of running your own facilities and operations, these costs eventually do come back to you in monthly fees and loss of control. And now you’re in a monthly or quarterly dance with your BPO to analyze performance vs cost saving, and they’re constantly trying to justify the value they are bringing to the equation.

And, above all, let’s face it, these BPO’s are also running a business. They’re constantly trying to squeeze more out of less and this ultimately affects quality. The honeymoon phase is great, but once they pass your volume off to newer recruits, the problems really can escalate.

This is not a new story. We’ve seen this time and again.

At this point, senior management begins assessing whether it is better to bring the volumes back in-house. The memories of their old nightmares become more distant memories, and the cycle continues. Trading one headache for another.


Until now, there really were just two ways to handle the customer contact ‘problem’. The legacy approaches of DIY or BPO. But just like lots of other industries, the contact center industry is being transformed before our eyes. A new breed of customer service workforce is entering the market and they are empowered by apps and platforms that are completely transforming the industry. We’re talking about GigCX - on-demand customer experience agents that can work from anywhere at any time. Much like Uber did to the Taxi model, or Netflix did to the movie rental model, on-demand GigCX workforces are revolutionizing the contact center industry.

A big difference is that there are no longer ‘employees’ in this model. Gig based workers are independent contractors that are empowered to essentially run their own businesses. As business owners, their reputations are key to their success, so they guard this reputation as any business owner would. The result is that quality remains really high and the entrepreneurial spirit lifts reliability and quality to new heights. It’s their business reputation on the line after all.

Learn more about the rise of on-demand contact centers and how gig workers are disrupting legacy customer experience models.

Read Article

Additionally, in the GigCX model, the middlemen are eliminated or replaced by AI and ML, therefore the prices to clients or contact center operators remains exceptionally low. No middlemen and no facilities also keep the overhead remarkably low. This also results in lower prices to the operators.

Lastly, the vast majority of the proceeds are passed along to the service provider which is the independent contractor agent. Therefore the agent makes significantly more money, they are happier, they want to compete for your business, and this positive feedback cycle generates significantly better results. Better yet, you stay in control of the workforce through the apps and platforms by setting your own parameters and incentives.

The difference between the legacy approaches and gigcx model looks like this:

Legacy Approach

Cost/Production Hour/Agent

Agents Only
Agent 50% Employees. Paid for full hour, whether in handle time or idle time Independent Contractors

Pay only for handle time


Site Management

HR & Recruiters

Quality Assurance

Project Management

Supervisors & Trainers

40% Large org structure to manage tasks which can be delivered by technology Eliminate majority of org structure / maintain project manager
Facilities 10% Costs incurred regardless of utilization Agents work remotely

Hybrid Sourcing

But, just a small cautionary note here. GigCX is not the panacea. It should be viewed as another important part of the entire picture. In reality, there are still great reasons to be using a mixture of all three solutions mentioned above.

GigCX is excellent for handling level 1 calls and/or calls of repetitive nature and/or surges and spikes in volume. BPO is great for handling consistent calls and some omnichannel solutions. DIY or In-House is best for handling personal information (PII) and/or level 3 or very complex questions.

Therefore, at Agents Only, we recommend a hybrid model as your ultimate solution. A Hybrid Sourcing model will mix two or even three of the above solutions into one elegant contact center - taking the best from all worlds and putting you back in control of all of your call volumes and directing the volumes to the best and lowest cost alternative.

Hybrid Sourcing through a platform like Agents Only allows for clients / operators to keep 100% control of their outcomes and push volumes to the appropriate provider (In-House, BPO, or GigCX). Hybrid Sourcing is also a great way to test different solutions and find the optimal mix that works for your unique needs. Like an evolution of the champion-challenger methodology,  it puts you in control not only of the providers, but of the type of service provided by each. Of course, being 'on-demand' also means that a GigCX workforce can be available on short notice to handle surges in call volume - and this ‘elasticity’ is a true differentiator of the hybrid model.

It is not an all-or-nothing world. Look for the best solution to suit your individual unique needs. We can help you get there. Contact us today to learn more.

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