Join Garrick Chow for an in-depth discussion in this video Getting support online, part of Starting Your Career in the On-Demand Economy.
- There will come a time, or more likely, several times, when you'll have questions about how to handle situations you come across while working your on-demand job. By design, most on-demand companies are set up to discourage calling in to speak to a live person for help. Usually, both customers and workers have to go through the official app or website to get support. Generally, the support staff of most of these companies are pretty quick to respond, sometimes within a few minutes. Many of them also have systems in place for you to signify when a problem is urgent, like putting the word urgent in the email subject line and they'll give those emails priority attention.
Most companies also have detailed knowledge bases or help centers online that you can search through to find answers for your questions. For example, here's Airbnb's help center for Hosts. And here's Lyft's help center where you can choose whether you're a passenger, a driver, or an applicant. Here I can just click through the menus. Now, some of the worker help centers are open to the public, meaning anybody can access them through the website, while others are accessible only by registered and signed in on-demand workers. It depends on the company.
Whichever the case, though, you'll be able to find answers to the most common questions other people working the same job have asked. But, in addition to being knowledgeable about your side of things, the workers side of things, you should also know where to send customers when they need help. If your customer uses the smart phone app to request service make sure you are well versed with the app so you can show them how to use it, or to fix problems. Familiarize yourself with the company's website and memorize the menus or links customers may need to click through to find important information. For example, if a customer wants to know how to request a refund you should know either how to do this yourself, and if it's possible for you to do it yourself, or how to use the website or app to place the request.
Now, in addition to the official company resources, another way to really learn your job and to get a perspective on it that doesn't necessarily stick to the company's messaging, I suggest looking for discussion boards where other people working the same job have conversations. For example, UberPeople.net is an online form for Uber and other ride-share drivers to ask questions, share stories and suggestions, and offer and ask advice. I like independent sites like these because people can speak freely and don't have to tow the company line. Sites like this are great places to pick up tips and tricks you won't learn from the official company site.
A good way to find discussion forums like this is to simply do a Google search for the name of the company followed by the job title and the phrase discussion board, or community, or forum. For example, airbnb hosts discussion board. The first result takes me to the site called AirHostsForum. Here we'll find a community of Airbnb hosts asking each other questions, and offering answers and suggestions. So if you're spending a good deal of time doing your on-demand job, I really recommend becoming active on discussion boards like this, both as a reader and as a contributor.
Ask questions when you have them but also contribute answers or offer suggestions when you have something to say. Being knowledgeable about situations other people have encountered can be a great help when you're on the job and run into the same problem or issue yourself. Instead of having to figure out things for yourself on the spot, you might already have an idea of how to handle things based on what other workers have posted or offered.
Garrick Chow explains the basic structures of the on-demand economy and the skills and characteristics of successful on-demanders, so you can determine if on-demand work is the right fit for you. Then learn about the time commitment and expectations around pay, what the employer provides, and what one can expect from clients. Garrick then discusses tools to keep you organized, including how to best track income and expenses.
Finally, the course offers tips and tricks and a case study based on the author's firsthand experience as an Uber driver.
- Preparing to work on demand
- Managing expectations from on-demand clients
- Tracking expenses and mileage
- Optimizing your income
- Getting support online
- Case study: Becoming an Uber driver
Skill Level Beginner
Q: This course was updated on 05/26/2017. What changed?
A: A new video was added that explains how to optimize your LinkedIn profile for on-demand work.