Virtual Assistants are good at what they do, but they’re not as intimately involved in your work as you are. It can seem daunting to train someone to take on work you know and do so well, but there are simple ways to make it easy for you to offload tasks and get the biggest bang for your Virtual Assistant budget.
At Hands On Tap, we use teams of Virtual Assistants that work together to learn and help each business.
Here are five tips to get the most out of your Virtual Assistant service:
Start with simple, repeatable tasks
Start with things you do repeatedly that are low-value. Administrative things like updating spreadsheets, filling in paperwork, or following-up with leads. You know the work well and have done it repeatedly, so you know what you want and how you want it done.
Provide samples of your work, and templates for them to fill-in. Send a spreadsheet template to be filled in based on research.
If you do cold calling, use your smartphone to record some calls as samples to send your Virtual Assistant. You can also provide a script, or at least some guidelines for what to say, what the goal of the calls are, etc.
Provide background and context for everything
What is your business? What makes your business unique? Why is this work important to the success of your business?
Just like a well-managed employee, a Virtual Assistant should understand the work, how it fits into the success of your business, and why it’s important.
Create systems & processes
Well-run businesses have systems & processes, and often documentation. Constantly firing off random work to random people at random times is grossly inefficient.
Take an inventory of the work you and others do everyday, and make a list of processes. Lead generation through social media could be one process. Lead qualification could be another. Creating social media posts, following-up on past due invoices, responding to customer inquiries, etc. The list could go on and on.
Once you have a process inventory, figure out how each process works together to make your business run. Some things will be sensitive that you might want to keep yourself, such as corresponding with sensitive clients.
Outsource an entire process, or part of a process
When you have a process inventory, document how you want processes executed, and delegate or outsource.
You may see a surge in productivity. Once someone is familiar with your process, they’ll get better at it after some time. They might even find ways to improve your process, especially if they understand it and how it fits into your business.
Sometimes there are fires to put out that take priority, but not everything should be a fire. If you send multiple tasks, processes or customer inquiries to a Virtual Assistant, make it clear which take priority.
Fires will likely be first, but make it clear what’s next. If there are deadlines for certain things, communicate them as early as possible.
Speaking of communication, here’s a bonus tip: communicate clearly & give feedback
If you don’t tell someone what you want, they need to make assumptions, and that won’t go well. Taking an extra few minutes when outsourcing a task to clearly explain what it is you want will save time and money. The last thing you want is a Virtual Assistant to waste their time and your money doing something you didn’t want.
Explain what you want, and ask someone to repeat in their words what it is you want to confirm understanding.
When your work is done and you’re happy, give some feedback. Send some comments about what went well and what didn’t. A feedback loop is critical to improvement.
Don’t be shy to ask for feedback too. If you could have set expectations earlier or given one additional piece of information or context, it could have saved some time and money.