|We propose a scheme for triggering a dissipation-dominated highly efficient excitation transfer from a single-photon wave packet to a single quantum emitter. This single-photon-induced optical pumping turns dominant dissipative processes, such as spontaneous photon emission by the emitter or cavity decay, into valuable tools for quantum information processing and quantum communication. It works for an arbitrarily shaped single-photon wave packet with sufficiently small bandwidth provided a matching condition is satisfied which balances the dissipative rates involved. Our scheme does not require additional laser pulses or quantum feedback and does not rely on high finesse optical resonators. In particular, it can be used to enhance significantly the coupling of a single photon to a single quantum emitter implanted in a one-dimensional waveguide or even in a free space scenario. We demonstrate the usefulness of our scheme for building a deterministic quantum memory and a deterministic frequency converter between photonic qubits of different wavelengths.