Transaction Costs and the Virtual Personal Assistant
| Peter Klein |
You can outsource grading, paralegal work, and other services, so why not personal assistance? Some credit cards now feature a concierge service that acts like a crowdsourced, virtual, personal assistant. By exploiting scale economies (a network of specialist assistants that can respond quickly and cheaply to specific client requests) and reducing excess capacity, such services offer dramatically lowered production costs, compared to the conventional model of one dedicated assistant per client (or small group of clients). But the lack of bilateral commitment may make it difficult to encourage relationship-specific investments, so the transaction-cost effects are ambiguous. (Thanks to Chihmao for the pointer.)
If you want to discuss this further, have your people contact my people.