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eCommerce customer service


#1

So lately I’ve been taking a step back and really thinking about what I want to do with my time here on Earth…dramatic I know :wink:

One of the things I keep coming back to is, simply put, to be able to help people make a living.

So many people all over the world are struggling so much just to put food on the table, and we in the online/tech world are in general blessed with much more than we need. If I can help a few thousand people to make a living, I think it would be incredibly gratifying.

I’ve been trying to zero in on what it would look like and here’s an idea that I’m starting to lean towards. It doesn’t sound very sexy compared to something like building a sweet, new SaaS.

The idea: helping people to become eCommerce customer service reps.

Here’s my thinking.

While this type of a job likely isn’t very sexy or interesting to us here (after all we’re all trying to get out of our 9-5, right?), for millions of people (probably billions), having this type of job would be completely life changing for them - giving them the ability to put food on the table whereas otherwise they would simply have no job opportunities at all.

As I was thinking about ideas, another one that I thought of was helping people to become developers. That’s a little more exciting to me personally as I’m a developer, but the challenge is that it probably limits the amount of people that you can help from probably ~20% of the population to more like ~1% (rough numbers I completely pulled out of thin air but you get the idea).

There’s a huge barrier to entry to becoming a software developer to the average person with an internet connection, whereas being a customer service rep could be within reach for many more people.

Also, as I just recently hired customer support for my SaaS app, I know that hiring support can be a hard thing to do. I’m imagining it’s probably similar for ecommerce merchants - so I’d be excited about being able to provide a great service to merchants.

Quality - while upwork is obviously a huge resource that provides employment to probably thousands of people, I think there could be some things done to improve upon quality. I’m all about niching down and providing a really high quality service for a specific niche. That’s worked with my current business and I could see it working here.

Instead of having to fish through tons of unqualified support people on upwork, you go to this site and you’ve got nothing but quality options. People have already gone through little training programs specific to ecommerce platforms so that they’re familiar with order fulfillment flows, how to interact with a warehouse, best practices for product import workflows, writing product descriptions, etc, etc.

You could even get more advanced down the line and train them on things like improving conversion optimization and how to be aware of SEO best practices when writing product descripitons - all things that would level up their skills and add value for the merchants.

I’m still not sure whether to go the marketplace route or the productized service route. I love the idea of a productized service but managing a large team isn’t my strength I don’t think - so maybe I just focus on putting together really good training and vetting / quality assurance systems and make it a marketplace or training service.

Would love to hear your thoughts!

Note: other ideas along a similar vein are the following. Customer service seems like the lowest hanging fruit initially but maybe I could branch out into these afterwards.

  • Helping people become developers (mentioned that above). http://www.andela.com/ looks like an amazing model
  • Helping people become ecommerce merchants

#2

I think I’m gonna low-budget-startup-podcast this bad boy as I go :slightly_smiling:

http://podcast.kalenjordan.com/category/starting-up/