A virtual assistant is a valuable asset for many businesses in different industries. Most people assume that a virtual assistant (VA) schedules appointments or answer phone calls the whole day. However, it is more than that. A quality VA assists with everything from project management to integrated customer services.
A recent survey showed that hiring a virtual assistant can help you save up to 78% in annual operational costs as your company is not required to provide any form of benefits, rent for space office, and other operational costs. There many reasons why you should hire a virtual assistant especially now during the global pandemic, coronavirus.
The type of virtual assistant you should hire will depend on the skillset necessary for your business. However, if you have a company built around intensive customer services such as online shopping, there are specific qualities that you should consider looking for in a VA.
The following are the main qualities every virtual assistant needs to have for seamless customer service and customer experience.
A virtual assistant works from the comfort of their home. One of the advantages associated with this is increased morale, which in turn leads to high productivity levels. In fact, 13% of all employees work better from home. Unfortunately, reliability issues stem from such working conditions. A VA should uphold the highest level of professionalism.
For instance, they should be quick to respond to any queries that both clients and customers might have in the wake of a sales campaign. Be sure to look out for VAs who have bad reputations with regard to reliability before hiring them. Some are known to take the retainer fee in advance only for them to disappear. One way you can verify the reliability of a virtual assistant is by hiring from reliable freelancing sites that feature a rating system.
Excellent Communication Skills
What makes customer service and customer experience exceptional is the ability to communicate effectively in a business arrangement. Many people often think that communication is solely about reading and writing skills. However, it is more than that. A virtual assistant needs to possess ‘soft skills’ which will enable the virtual assistant to speak to both clients and customers politely, effectively, and persuasively.
Don’t forget that communication skills go both ways. One main quality that a VA needs to have is the ability to listen. According to a recent survey, 44% of people shopping online said they preferred talking to someone instead of a chatbox when they had an issue. Good listening skills are a mark of a great virtual assistant. Additionally, these skills will help the VA handle a situation that requires empathetic listening in a customer service setting.
Different Cultures Communicate Differently
Remember that virtual assistants are also from different cultural backgrounds. When hiring a virtual assistant from remote locations, it is imperative to consider such factors. “The only way you can be sure about such factors is by outsourcing VAs from a trusted freelancing website”, says a career expert from the CraftResumes website. For instance, the Philippines is considered an excellent place for outsourcing virtual assistants as the literacy levels are approximately 96%.
The last thing you’d want is to hire a person who has a cultural background that might limit them from entirely properly communicating or working. For instance, consider the language barrier when hiring people from non- English speaking countries if your target market is in the UK or America.
A Good Virtual Assistant Adds Value to The Business
A good VA is proactive and doesn’t just do the bare minimum. They add value to the business in more ways than one. The willingness to be motivated by factors other than money is what you should look for in a VA. Remember to ask yourself this question before hiring a VA; Other than the fundamentals, what will you bring to the team.
Of course, as is the case with most positions in an organization, there are basic entry requirements. However, all organizations want to hire an individual who brings more to the table than just the minimum entry requirements. An average VA is computer proficient, familiar with the necessary software, and has good communication skills. However, a great VA is skilled in other valuable areas that could prove to be beneficial to a business.
For instance, one valuable skill a VA could have is social media management. Such skills are not taught in school, and social media management is a skill high in demand by those seeking to employ VAs. With that said, keep an eye out for those who virtual assistants who do the bare minimum.
Great Personality Traits
Lastly, an important quality that a virtual assistant needs to have is a good personality. The technical and educational requirements are essential, but they mean nothing if the individual has behavioral inconsistencies that inhibit them from working. One way to avoid people with disruptive personality traits is by reading their reviews as listed on a trusted freelancing website.
However, if that doesn’t work for you, consider looking out for such traits when interviewing the candidate through video calls. Are they married? Are they happy in life? Most VA interviewers ask these questions and rightly so. Approximately 69% of all VAs are married and are in their thirties. Marriage and children pertain to the ambitions and drive of the candidate in question. Additionally, you can use these questions to assess the personality of the candidate.
Remember, it is important to look forward to working with the individual who you hire. It mustn’t feel like a burden.