Hiring dedicated virtual assistants has become the norm for SMEs and individual business owners who want to save cost and concentrate on their core activities. It not only helps them to take care of their revenue generation, but also frees up more productive time and resources for themselves. However, simply hiring a team of VAs at a remote location is not enough to get the desired results; you have to be in the driver’s seat to get value for your money. There are certain best practices that one has to follow to get the best out of their virtual assistant.
Here are 4 tips to get the most out of your virtual assistant:
Hire the right skill sets
This might sound a little familiar if you’re a busy entrepreneur; you are always looking for smarter ways to get things done. But in this endeavor, most of the SMEs tend to take short cuts and end up hiring wrong VAs.
This can happen in more ways than you can imagine. Most of the time, due to prior commitments, you simply contact a service provider and ask for a resource who can help you with a specific task. Vendors have to get their resources engaged, so they provide you with any random person to take care of your niche process. More often than not, in such scenarios the results are frustrating. Another instance that often leads to wrong hiring is simply trusting the resume of the candidate. Your outsourcing partner shares a set of resumes with you which go through and pick the resource with the most suitable skill sets. If you do not test the knowledge of your remote resource, failure is bound to happen.
In a nutshell, the possibility of hiring the wrong VA always looms large if you do not follow a set procedure while picking up a resource.
The best way to hire the perfect virtual assistant is to first find out what exactly you want to accomplish by hiring a remote resource. It calls for a certain amount of research on your part. Take a thorough look at your operations and find out what exactly is hindering your business. This research will help you to pin-point the skill sets that you need to smoothen your operations. The next step should be to find out a vendor that has a certain reputation in the market. Give them a detailed requirement; if possible discuss your needs at length with them. Once you get a list of resources, insist on testing their skills. Give a go-ahead for hiring only when you are fully satisfied.
Provide the right training
Now that you have hired a VA with the most suitable skill sets, you should get the desired performance. But it won’t happen unless you provide your resource with proper training. Simply allocating a task to your virtual assistant and expecting that it will be completed within the stipulated time frame doesn’t work in most of the cases. This is simply because there is a certain procedure that one has to follow to get the desired results from a process. For example, you hire a VA for cold calling and the resource has all the skills and experience of dealing with prospective customers over the phone. You give your remote resource all the phone numbers and expect a certain number of leads by the end of the day. Do you think, it will work? Unfortunately it won’t. The reason is simple; lack of training.
Ultimately, it is your product or services that the VA is promoting. It’s your responsibility to train him/her on the USP of your offering. Spend some time with your resource, share the salient features of your product or service and work on a sales pitch. You can expect good results only after giving comprehensive training to your VA.
Your business is your baby and you would love treat and manage it in your own way. But with the arrival of a virtual assistant, things change to a certain extent. The new resource will bring in new ideas to do things. This situation invariably leads to fear of losing control in entrepreneurs and SMEs. You as a business owner always want to stay in complete control of your outsourced work, and hence unknowly fall into the trap of micro-managing the outsourced process. It is advisable to avoid this trap as it creates insecurity in your remote resource.
A Forbes study suggests, “Micro-management creates rebellious, hapless employees who are unable to make independent decisions. This leaves you, the leader, constantly putting out fires, rather than focusing on the larger tasks that only you can perform.” You, as a business owner, would certainly concur with this finding and hence it’s your job to avoid such a situation in your outsourcing arrangement.
Set clear expectations and engage your VA
The best way to get the most out of your virtual assistant is to set clear expectations. While delegating work to your remote employee, it is a good idea to put everything in black and while. It not only avoids misunderstandings, but also gives you a reference document to fall back on in case of any disputes. It always helps to have absolute clarity on things like:
- Notice period for your VA to take time off
- Your customer service policies
- Communication channels to be used
- Autonomy your VA will have to make decisions
- Frequency of progress reports
- Outcome you want to achieve
Proper employee engagement is another important aspect of maintaining a healthy working relationship with your VA. In a remote environment, employees often feel cut-off from the main team due to lack of a proper engagement strategy. This further leads to a diminished sense of belonging which reflects on the performance of the remote employees. You can do away with this stumbling block by rewarding your VA with cash/kind for their good performance. Randomly checking-in on non-work related issues also helps in creating a “We” feeling in your virtual assistant.
Hiring a virtual assistant to take care of your non-core business process is easy, but driving the desired results in a remote working environment takes meticulous planning and employee management. Hope these tips will help you in getting the best from your virtual assistant. Data-Entry-India.com is a reputed name in the field of providing customized virtual assistant services. For more information on virtual assistants, drop a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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