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jessweig

Customer Service as a Niche

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Anyone have customer service as their niche? I'm thinking that with my background, that would be a great place to start. I currently answer incoming calls for one client, as well as order processing. Any thoughts on whether or not this is something that could be charged by the hour, or by the phone call? Currently I get paid by the call that I answer. I could include email/chat support as well. But it can be stressful charging by the call/chat/email as the income could be too varying and unreliable. And of course, there are other things that I could offer in addition.

Then the next question would be who would my target market be?

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As far as target market goes almost any company needs customer service online be it retail or service based business. We even have a customer support desk here that I have VAs look after for me. My VA is much more patient and kind with silly customer support questions that I feel are time consuming and love how she answers them all so calmly and kind (one thing I highly look for in a VA dealing with customers as they often times ask redundant and stupid questions I don't have the patience answering LOL). Saying that you might want to focus on a niche like coaches or retail businesses, totally up to you.

 

I have my VAs on monthly retainers doing customer support and it usually works out fine. If you don't know how many hours it would take then do it hourly for the client the first month. If it takes 8-9 hours then put them on a 10 hour retainer which should cover you if a month is higher by an hour now and then.

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I assist with customer service and just bill it hourly. I typically check their help desks or my email that they set me up with once or twice a day. I don't do phone or live chat support because I don't want to be committed to specific times each day since one of the reasons I started my business was to have the freedom to work when and where I want.

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Thank you all. It's all starting to really get overwhelming. The same for Danielle, I want to be able to have the freedom, right now it does work out with what I have because the calls go to my phone and everything is set up online so I can answer and enter any possible orders from any where if I choose. I just take my tablet with me, but I'd prefer to not be bound by hours either. I still have a lot of learning to do!!

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This topic has been a huge help to me, as I want to use customer service as my niche. I've been in retail for like, a thousand years. (About 26 years, but feels longer.) But I enjoy helping people in any way I can.

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Hello Jess,

Customer Service is always in demand as was noted here by my colleagues. It is such a broad term as it could mean not only respond to telephone inquiries but handling products, sales and inquiries through many modes of communication. Having that option would make you more marketable.

For example, I work with a coach in her mentoring program. She has an assistant who handles all of her customer service from her students via email, text, phone and fax. Students go through her as the first line. This assistant also handles marketing and responds to product inquiries this coach sells. When the coach has live events the assistant flies out to handle all of the issues regarding the set up of the event and again handles all kinds of inquiries in person at the event. So whether you do all that or offer part of these processes, CS is always in demand.

I always advise VAs to package your services whenever you can. So if you are doing phone service, then bill for 10 hours of work whether you are on the phone or not. You can do other things for the client such as social media while on that timeline. If you offer to do other tasks this makes you more valuable and marketable. A per phone call billing is unreliable and too difficult to bill. It is for this reason that companies that don't want to pay a professional CS person such as yourself or don't really want personal Customer Service will farm out these duties overseas, which is not ideal.

So I suggest that you market yourself in a larger bundle of Customer Service and offer more skills during the on-call timeline.

As for your target market, start with industries you like best. Do you like crafts or books or animals or whatever? Then begin to network with the industries that appeal to your beliefs and likes. Aim for e-commerce as they will need the CS the most. Let them know you can handle the CS which allows them the time to create the products they love and thus continue to drive the business they went into business to do. From there you can begin to narrow down the type of client you like to work with and aim closer to that ideal personality and industry.

I look forward to hearing where this goes for you. Do post back and let us know.

Janine

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