What you should expect from a Virtual Assistant
Choosing to use a Virtual Assistant can be a big decision. There are lots of VAs out there but how do you make sure you choose a good one?
Whether you are completely new to PA support, have experience working with a PA but have never gone virtual or if you have used a VA before but it hasn't worked out quite as you expected, here are the key qualities I think you should expect from a Virtual Assistant.
Look for the same standard of conduct that you would expect from an employee. Your VA will be representing you and your brand so you should feel completely confident in the way they conduct themselves over the phone and on email. A good VA will quickly grasp the way you like to work and reflect that in the way they liaise with your stakeholders and clients.
Reliability and Consistency
Once you have agreed how you will work with your VA, you should feel confident that they will deliver on the agreed terms. If you have agreed set hours or your VA needs to complete tasks to a deadline you should be able to expect these to be met without question.
Regular and clear communication
One of the factors that make people hesitate to use a VA is that they can feel detached and as a result, not get a good sense of how a VA is adding value. A really competent VA will keep the communication going so you feel connected and you get a good sense of what they are working on for you. You may want to agree daily or weekly updates via email or a regular scheduled call which will be the opportunity for your VA to update you on what they are working on and ask any questions and for you to give feedback or allocate tasks. Essentially, and certainly in the early days as you build a relationship, you should be hearing from your VA on a regular basis.
Trustworthiness, honesty and discretion
Depending on the type of support you require, you may well be sharing important and confidential information with your VA. Check whether your VA is data protection registered. When you are choosing a VA, ask about their experience and the type of clients they have worked with. It is always a good idea to check out what others say about them too. You should be able to trust your VA completely.
Sometimes, it can be part of the role of a PA to filter emails and enquiries before they get to you so that you are freed up to concentrate on your priorities. They can also sometimes need to respond to things robustly on your behalf or in order to get things done! However, your VA is representing you and your brand so they should be polite, warm and approachable in all their dealings with you and others.
This works both ways and whilst you and your VA may be juggling multiple priorities, a good understanding of the need for some degree of flexibility is key. Both you and your VA should be prepared to offer this to maximise your working relationship.
You haven't got time to chase up and follow up on everything. That's why you have hired a VA!
If your VA is in control then so are you!