Fueling the Gig Economy: How AI Can Help Fintech Companies Serve this Booming Workforce

Written by Amy Wallace on May 11, 2022

In light of rising inflation, pandemic-era job losses and the work-life balance mindset, a growing number of individuals have embraced gig economy work. A 2022 Gig Payments Report pointed out that, in 2021, there were about 23.9 million independent workers in the United States, an increase from 12.9 million in 2017. Moreover, the number of freelancers across the country is projected to grow to 86.5 million by 2027. The study also found that 85% of respondents have recently increased their gig work or plan to increase it, with 58% citing inflation as their primary reason for doing so.

Traditional financial services, however, are not tailored for the needs of gig workers, both because many banks are more often heavily focused on more premium and higher-income customers, and they also lack access to data about the financial behaviors of gig workers, who often have to keep their financial activity unregistered. Additionally, with jobs coming and going, their paycheques often fluctuate from one month to the next. This lack of a steady income means that these workers struggle to access investment accounts, loans, insurance and other financial products, which also means they are likely to face difficulties when paying for unexpected emergencies, such as costly medical treatments.

For fintech companies, an opportunity awaits. Rising up to address the gaps in this market, many fintech ventures have come to recognize gig workers as potential customers who are underserved by the traditional banks, and are now playing a key role in powering the gig economy. For instance, Nigerian fintech startup ImaliPay allows eRide hailing drivers and gig workers to power their gigs with services such as buy now, pay later (BNPL), insurance and savings (the opportunities for workers in this region are booming, with the African gig economy likely to have over 80 million workers by 2030)!

Read more about how fintechs can provide a stellar customer experience across the board in our ebook, How Conversational AI Is Rewriting the Rules for Fintech Customer Experience!

AI + Fintech Companies = The Ultimate CX for Gig Economy Workers

According to the Gig Payments Report, when it comes to receiving payments, many gig workers prioritize speed of service. Nearly 70% of these workers prefer to receive their pay within the same day they work, 39% prefer immediately after each job and 29% at the end of each day. What’s more, with rising inflation impacting both work and personal expenses for 57% of respondents, having access to funds in a timely manner is crucial to meet financial needs.

With a burgeoning gig economy workforce looking to fintechs to manage their finances, there is bound to be support-related queries that follow. How can the support teams of fintech companies rise up to offer the necessary support, especially support that aligns with the expectations and preferences of their customers today? Herein lies the opportunity for these companies to incorporate modern AI-powered support systems into their technology stacks to provide immediate resolutions to customer issues.

Providing Swift and Immediate Resolutions

Redefining the customer support landscape, AI-powered chatbots for customer service have greatly improved efficiency by delivering personalized resolutions immediately and automatically, for a truly effortless experience. AI can automate resolutions to high-volume, repeatable tickets, such as resetting passwords and paying monthly bills, freeing up human agents to focus on the more complex issues, and decreasing resolution times. The result? Faster and more consistent support for customers, and less fielding of common and repetitive issues for support agents. For instance, if a customer is inquiring about the loan application process, a chatbot could easily serve up a hyper-relevant article from a company’s knowledge base that covers this topic in detail, or if connected to the right backend systems, can even provide the real-time status on an application.

AI-powered solutions enable fintech companies to better support their customers’ needs at more touch points along their journey, which includes access to 24/7 support outside of standard working hours when support teams are unavailable to respond to queries. This also reduces the actual cost of keeping a human support team on standby in case of an unexpected spike in tickets. This type of always-on support is ideal for those gig workers who work irregular hours and schedules but still need access to support from their financial institution.

Providing Personalized and Contextual Responses

Able to tailor interactions based on customer profile and behavior, an advanced AI assistant can show that it understands past interactions and customer preferences – noting, for instance, that a customer had previously inquired about financing options. The chatbots can then respond on an individual level, providing meaningful interactions, and responses that are more personalized and contextualized. Additionally, by integrating data stored in customer relationship management systems (CRMs) with chatbots, conversational AI can engage in more well-informed conversations, and support teams have more context on each customer. For example, here is Sarah, a freelance visual designer who has also been working as a DoorDash delivery courier for the past year, earns approximately $8,000 per month and is seriously considering applying for a loan. Which options would be best for her? What could the terms of her loan be?

Exploring a new CRM solution? Learn more about two of the industry leaders in our Intercom vs. Zendesk review.

Meeting Customers Where They Are

Not bound to any one location, gig economy workers are constantly on the move. AI-powered solutions offer resolution across channels – email, chat, messaging, SMS and voice – for support when they need it most.

Moreover, gig workers are busy, and for many, gig work is solely a side hustle to supplement their income (Branch and Marqeta’s report found that only 27% rely on gig work as their primary source of income). By leveraging AI, fintech companies can offer customer service that is proactive – addressing a customer’s issue prior to when they encounter one, by detecting or anticipating the issue in advance, and extending the necessary support needed to resolve it. Sample use cases include warning a customer that a bill is soon due, reminding them to transfer balances from one account to another, or alerting them that there may be a better savings account option for them than their current plan. Such proactive, predictive and preemptive support is ideal for this hustling workforce.

How Conversational AI Is Rewriting the Rules for Gig Workers

As the gig economy continues to boom worldwide, and more and more fintech companies develop financial products and services for this market, AI-powered solutions power proactive, instantaneous and always-on customer service. In turn, fintech companies can focus on creating better customer relationships, and scaling their own growth.