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How do you hire and manage support staff for your online businesses

I run an online marketing service that is largely automated and as such doesn't require much work. However, there are still ~1-5 support inquiries daily regarding order support, questions about our services, etc.

The business has grown to the point where I can afford to hire staff but I'm in a weird spot. Because it's only ~5-30 minutes of work a day and sometimes none at all, it's tough to justify hiring someone full time or on a set schedule. At the same time, the nature of the business requires fast response times that also make it unfeasible to hire someone for say one day a week.

For those of you who run online (customer facing) businesses in ecommerce, SaaS etc., that have grown to the point of hiring support staff:

  1. Where do you find and hire support staff?

  2. How do you arrange their schedule?

  3. What do you pay them? Is it by hour, by ticket, or a flat rate every month?

  4. How do you train them on what to do? Our support activities require dealing with Stripe, WooCommerce, and some specialized knowledge of our own software so they'd need to know more than what could be accomplished by giving them prewritten responses.

  5. How do you deal with sensitive information they might have access to as part of their job (customer info, access to your payment accounts to see order information, process refunds, etc.)?

submitted by /u/daekappa
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