Many start-up companies and small businesses find it beneficial to outsource work to virtual assistants. It prevents them from having to take on the cost and responsibility of hiring in-house staff, whilst still benefitting from having someone to support them in the day to day running of their business. If you are thinking of outsourcing work to an outside contractor then read on to find out our top tips on how to choose the best virtual assistant.
Fit for purpose
Before you even begin your search for a virtual assistant, you need to have a clear idea of the tasks you expect them to manage. Many small business owners will simply require their virtual assistant to carry out basic tasks such as answering telephone calls, mail forwarding, invoicing and other admin tasks. However others may require their virtual assistant to take on larger projects such as social media management, digital strategizing or project management. Having a good idea of the tasks you expect your virtual assistant to carry out will determine what skills they need to possess. This will make it much easier to narrow down your choice.
Research and references
Whilst the testimonials on a virtual assistants’ website are a great place to start your research into their credentials, it is unlikely that they are going to publish negative comments about their business! If you are looking for an honest review of a virtual assistant, then why not ask them for their references or email a few of the companies that have worked with them. This will give you a better idea of the virtual assistant’s performance and reliability, helping you to decide whether they are right for your business.
Your virtual assistant will be the middle person between your clients and business so it is essential that they can represent your company in a way that you are happy with. A virtual assistant should possess excellent customer service skills and be capable of turning around tasks in a timely manner. Check their qualifications and experience for a better idea of their ability to represent your company.
The idea of having a virtual assistant is to help you manage your work load so that you have more time to spend on other important tasks. Therefore it is important that your assistant is there whenever you need them to be. Find out what hours they are available to work for you and whether they offer extended hours of service, such as evenings and weekends. If you are looking to increase the time that your phone lines are open for customers to call in, then you will need a virtual assistant that is able to commit to those hours.
If you are looking a virtual assistant that can also provide a virtual office address, then you will need to find out where they are located. If you are looking to target a certain geographical area, then you will want to find a virtual assistant that is based in that area. Alternatively you may be looking to enhance the size of your business, through using a prestigious address. To do this you will need to choose a virtual assistant that operates in a major city like London.
With so many people offering their services as virtual assistants, it can be hard to know who to choose. Whilst the cost of their services will play a part in your decision, it is more important to find a virtual assistant that can meet the needs and requirements of your business. By conducting thorough research and checking references you will find it easy to narrow your choice down to a virtual assistant that can provide the support you need.
By Megan Hunt
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