Author Archives: Grace Fitzpatrick

4 Key Virtual Assistants You Need to Increase Revenues

4-key-virtual-assistants-you-need-to-increase-revenues

Virtual assistants can help you increase revenues of your business. But it will take a collective team effort. If you hire only one Virtual Assistant, the other key areas of revenue generation would be overlooked and be rendered useless.

Generating revenues isn’t just about sales. Your first objective should be to find a market for your goods and services. Second, you have to work to convert potential interest into actual sales. Third, you have to find ways to generate recurring sales from the same customer.

You can do this for your business regardless of size, type or industry by hiring virtual assistants. But you have to recruit talent for the 4 key positions:

Marketing – One of the most popular misconceptions is that marketing and sales are the same thing. No they are not.

The objective of marketing is to develop strategies to promote your products and services for the purpose of finding interested buyers. These strategies could include the following:

  • SEO
  • Content Marketing
  • Social Media
  • E-Mail Marketing

Your marketing Virtual Assistant will conduct research to determine the demographics and demand preferences of your market. Then he or she will propose a number of strategies that could trigger interest for your products.

Once the strategies are finalized, these will be designed, implemented and analyzed. The marketing VA will try to generate a leads list for sales to work on.

Sales – The job of the sales Virtual Assistant is to actively work on converting leads to sales. If the marketing Virtual Assistant is successful in bringing leads into a funnel, the sales VA will move them further along until they become paying customers.

A sales VA can try to convert leads through a combination of strategies such as e-mail marketing or telemarketing. You can easily find virtual assistants who are highly experienced in selling to prospects.

Quality Assurance – The QA Virtual Assistant inspects the quality of the deliverables before having it sent to the customer. If the item is a physical one, the QA Virtual Assistant would correspond with the supplier or the wholesaler to verify the status of the item.

A site inspection may be in order. But if not, then the wholesaler would be required to send official photos and sign documents to guarantee quality and assume responsibility in the event the product is sub-standard.

Customer Support – In business the saying should be “the sale starts once the product is sold”. This means the sales process does not end once a customer buys it. You have to work harder to keep your customer in your company. If not, your competitor can easily steal your customer.

Hire a Virtual Assistant who can manage customer support. You should anticipate that not all customers will be satisfied. Some will have issues or problems with your product or service. Customer support should cover:

  • E-Mail
  • Chat Support
  • Inbound Calling

The job of the Customer Service VA is to ensure the concern is attended to right away and that a resolution will be arrived at within an appreciable time frame.

When you have these 4 key positions as part of your virtual sales team, your revenue generation programs will function more smoothly. As your business grows, it will be easier to expand your virtual sales team by identifying the positions that need more virtual assistants.

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Why You Need Multiple Virtual Assistants

why-you-need-multiple-virtual-assistants

You may start out with only one, but there are many good reasons why you need multiple virtual assistants. This is especially true if you found the “One, True” Virtual Assistant who makes life and business easier.

Virtual assistants are so valuable that you will hardly find a client who would openly brag about his or her Virtual Assistant. The reason? No one wants their rock star VA pirated!

But even if you’ve found the best Virtual Assistant in the market, there are compelling reasons for you to hire others:

  • Delegate Varied Tasks. If you are hiring a Virtual Assistant to delegate the non- essential and non- core tasks, you may unintentionally overwhelm the person contracted to free up your schedule.

A Virtual Assistant; as talented and highly- skilled as she is, can be swamped with too much work. As a fellow human being, she is susceptible to the Law of Diminishing Returns. Eventually, her productivity and quality of work can be compromised.

You can start out your Virtual Assistant with administrative tasks but when your business starts to grow, you should hire another one to manage excess work.  

  • Get More Things Done. You can find a Virtual Assistant for any task or skill your business needs. The virtual assistance industry has grown commiserate with the rising demand for the service.

If you need someone to keep your online marketing strategies moving, you can find a Virtual Assistant with the experience and expertise of a Digital Marketer. Once your virtual team has been assembled, you will need a Virtual Assistant who can handle accounting and payroll preparation duties.

Even if you have the competencies for these skills, you will not have the time to ensure the quality of the deliverables. Hiring virtual assistants will guarantee you consistent high quality of work.

  • Focus on New Business. In time, your virtual team will be running its scope of responsibilities smoothly. It will require less time from your end to oversee their performance. Now maybe the time to trust your virtual assistants and delegate higher responsibilities.

If you have been eyeing new business, you will not be able to explore opportunities if you are tied down by your current role. You should learn to let go of the reins and allow the virtual team to manage the primary business for you.

It is not a permanent turnover as you should maintain close communication with your virtual team.

  • Sets Up Contingencies. Nothing lasts forever. You should accept the possibility that your rock star Virtual Assistant may one day leave you. If your VA is that good, she should be allowed to pursue and further her business interests.

By hiring multiple virtual assistants, you can identify the one who can potentially replace or take over vacated positions. This is a good reason why close communications should be maintained during process improvement sessions.

If it is your Project Manager who resigns, you should be ready to replace her with the best candidate from your virtual team.

Many successful entrepreneurs such as Tim Ferris and Michael Hyatt started out with only one Virtual Assistant. Eventually they hired a second then a third. As business grew, they continued to build their virtual team. Business is a progression; as prospects grow you should prepare to accommodate additional work by hiring multiple virtual assistants.

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How A Real Estate Virtual Assistant Can Help

a real estate virtual assistant can help

a real estate virtual assistant can help

Opportunities for profit abound in the real estate market. In the case of Australia, even with its high cost of property demand continues to trend upward because of rapid population growth, a stable economy and a tight supply of real estate. In such a competitive market, your agency should focus most of its resourced on profit building activities. If you find yourself tied down by non- essential, non-revenue generating tasks, it’s time you hire a real estate Virtual Assistant.

Otherwise, you are becoming your own real estate Virtual Assistant.

As a proprietor of a real estate business, you probably prefer to operate lean. Do as much as you can with the resources you have in order to keep costs down. While this may benefit you at the start, eventually as your business gains traction it will be more difficult to stay on top of every single task that you have to do. Working from the principle of lean eventually becomes subject to the principle of diminishing returns.

The idea behind a business is to make a profit. In order to profit, you should work to grow your business. Given that you only have limited hours in a day, the best course of action is to find ways to manage your time efficiently so you can become more productive without compromising your budget.

Hiring a real estate Virtual Assistant will give you the best of both worlds; your productivity will sky rocket without breaking the bank. You will be able to shift more focus on revenue- generating tasks while ensuring the stability of your business.

Let’s see how a real estate Virtual Assistant can help you grow your agency.

1. Administrative Tasks

Before your business can become effective, it must become efficient. This means it must be highly organized.

In the real estate business, you constantly find yourself besieged by phone calls and e-mails. You also have to update client records in the CRM. Of course, research is part of the business.

You have to keep track of new developments in the market, prepare presentation materials and review the provision of contracts to stay in line with city state legislation.

If you had to attend to all of these tasks, you wouldn’t have enough time to attend to profit- oriented activities such as closing a sale, presenting properties for sale or negotiating sales contracts.

A real estate Virtual Assistant can provide you the following services:

  • Phone handling
  • Appointment setting
  • Calendar management
  • E-mail filtering
  • Preparation of spreadsheets and PowerPoint
  • Market and legislative research

You must have taken a deep breath after reading this short list of administrative tasks! And there are more equally important tasks a real estate Virtual Assistant can do for you.

2. Marketing and Promotion

In a competitive industry, your marketing and promotional activities must remain consistent and on point. In real estate, you have to do both traditional and Internet- based or online marketing.

Studies show that adapting a strategy that integrates both marketing methods generate the most productive results.

A real estate Virtual Assistant can contribute to your marketing and promotion strategy in the following ways:

  • Website – If you’re using WordPress or Joomla, these Content Management Systems (CMS) have plug-ins that can help you capture leads and connect to Multiple Listing Service (MLS) data bases in order to get more sales.An experienced real estate Virtual Assistant can manage your website expertly and maximize its sales- generating possibilities.
  • Social Media – Of the 3.5 Billion people online every day, 2.34 Billion are on social media. That’s an astonishing 67% of the population of online users. In Australia, 25% of real estate investments come from foreign buyers particularly China.By staying active on social media, you may get more inquiries from foreign investors who plan to contract your agency’s services in order to buy property in Australia.
  • Create Marketing Collaterals – Real estate virtual assistants are also proficient in graphic design. They can help conceptualize and create designs for your marketing collaterals that can be used for flyers, posters, streamers and print ads.

3. Sales Generation

You can find a real estate Virtual Assistant who has had a great deal of experience in the industry. He or she knows how to move prospects down the sales funnel.

  • E-Mail Marketing – E-mail remains one of the best forms of online marketing. In fact, it results in higher sales conversions that social media marketing.Real estate virtual assistants can use e-mail marketing to get referrals or secure repeat business from existing clientele and find qualified prospects for your agency.
  • Outbound Calling – When you have amassed a number of warm prospects in your sales funnel, you should find time to touch base with them. Real estate virtual assistants know how to establish rapport and build a good relationship with your prospects.

It could just be a customary call to present market updates plus a few pleasantries. The idea is to slowly win trust by being persistent but respectful at the same time. If you want to reel in clients, you must to what you can to remain visible.

Hiring a real estate Virtual Assistant can help you grow your agency. But you must learn to let go of some of your responsibilities in order to free up more time to activities that matter the most. It is less a question of trust and more of you acknowledging that you cannot be a Superman and do everything on your own.

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Tips On Outsourcing Property Management

Tips on Outsourcing Property Management

Outsourcing has evolved from a strategy for streamlining costs to one that directly contributes to revenue growth by introducing greater efficiency in the work flow. In its early years, only administrative tasks were outsourced. Today, you can basically outsource any type of responsibility regardless of industry. If you own properties and don’t have enough time to oversee them, you should consider outsourcing property management.

Benefits of Outsourcing Property Management

When you hear the word “outsourcing”, the first images that probably come to mind are those of a remote office managing all the different tasks delegated by a client. For those who have never outsourced before, the idea of entrusting a set of responsibilities to a third- party service provider may be difficult to accept.

But outsourcing offers many key benefits for those who are in the property business:

  1. Encourages Cost Savings – Yes there is a cost to outsourcing property management. But in the course of the long run, you will be able to generate savings because of economies of scale. The cost can be distributed over a wider range of services and a larger number of properties.
  2. Improves Productivity – When you outsource property management, you will no longer feel like you are being pulled in different directions. Now you have people who are designated to take inquiries on rentals, organize repairs with contractors, collect rent from tenants and create collaterals to market and promote your property.
  3. Greater Efficiency – For some people, just having 1 property to rent out can be a handful. Then there are those who have 20 properties to manage. Regardless of your ability, outsourcing property management can give you better organization and greater efficiency in your business. You have people who can update information through research, review and prepare contracts, manage payments and keep track of maintenance work.

Qualifying Your Property Management Outsourcing Partner

There are many agencies that offer property management services. But like other service- related industries, you will have your share of good ones and bad ones. How do you know which service provider to choose?

  1. Conduct Online Research – You can find outsourcing companies that offer property management services online. Many of these are located in remote locations like the Philippines.You may be asking yourself, “Why should I entrust my properties to a company thousands of miles away and where there is a time zone differential to deal with?”The answer is “Because you can and you should.” According to Application Check, the primary function of the outsourcing company is to organize your business. They do not have to be in the same place physically. Work can be done through online channels and frequent phone communication.There’s also a reason why the Philippines remains one of the top 2 outsourcing centers in the world, the other being India. Aside from cost advantages, Filipinos are widely reputed for consistently delivering high quality of work.
  2. Get Recommendations – Do not be surprised if associates and colleagues from the real estate community have outsourced property management services before.Find out who among your network has and get recommendations for prospective service providers.
  3. Identify Your Needs – Before actively searching for your property management company, conduct a review of your business and identify your immediate needs.Create a summary of all the different tasks in your company and categorize which ones are “essential” or “non- essential”. Essential tasks are those which you should manage yourself. These tasks are those that directly correspond to sales.Non-essential tasks are more administrative and supportive in nature. These could include phone handling, client support, rent collection and client vetting processes. These are the tasks that are usually outsourced to third parties.
  4. Prepare a List of Questions – When you have compiled a shortlist of potential property management companies, schedule each one for an interview. Prepare a list of questions to ask. Among the key questions you should ask are as follows:“What is your experience in property management?”
    “What services or tasks are included in your workflow?”
    “What is the breakdown of your fees?”
    “How would you manage different properties?”
    “How often would you send me reports?”
    “What is your approach in dealing with vacancies?”
    “How would you oversee repairs and maintenance work?”
    “What is your approach in collecting rental payments?”
  5. Get References – Before finalizing any agreement with a service provider, ask them to give references. These could include previous or current property owners who have hired their services. Take the time to contact these references. Find out what their experience was working with the property management company.

Be suspicious if the company does not want to provide references. If they say a Confidentiality Agreement is still in place, don’t buy into it right away. These agreements usually lose their binding nature after 6 months.

You should also be wary of companies that do not have a mobile responsive website and social media pages. It could mean they are not invested in their business or have a suspicious reputation in the industry.

Outsourcing property management services is a proven way of increasing productivity, improving work efficiency at the least possible cost. Take the time to qualify the prospects and make sure the company has the competency and experience to effectively manage your properties.

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5 Tasks Bloggers can Outsource to Virtual Assistants

5-tasks-bloggers-can-outsource-to-virtual-assistants

5-tasks-bloggers-can-outsource-to-virtual-assistants

Bloggers have a lot of tasks in their hands and they need reliable Virtual Assistants to help them keep their sites on tip top shape.  As the site becomes more popular, more work needs to be done.

It is given that a blog thrives on quality content.  Featured articles keep visitors coming back, so bloggers spend more time on writing.  However, a blog site cannot survive on articles alone.  

There are other areas that need attention as well. But a blogger can only do so much and he/she needs a life too.  Soit is wise to enlist the support of Virtual Assistants who will be able to handle these tasks.

Here is a list of tasks, bloggers can delegate to Virtual Assistants.

Social media management

Your blog must be able to reach a bigger audience.  Your content maybe excellent but if you do not reach out to your target market through social media platforms, all your efforts will go to waste.  

Have someone manage your Facebook page, Pinterest, Twitter, Google+, Instagram and StumbleUpon while you rest.  Leave posts and promotions in the hands of a reliable Virtual Assistant so you will not get too caught up in networking.  This way you’ll be able to focus on writing.

Read comments and handle replies

It is important to engage with your visitors.  However, there will come a point in time when you cannot handle this yourself.

Give specific instructions on how to reply to prevent generic responses. Let your Virtual Assistant handle this so as not to alienate yourself from your loyal readers who are used to getting a response from you.    

Calendar management

Have someone manage your schedule and you’ll be surprised at how well your time is spent.  When you do this yourself it is difficult to keep tabs on your commitments and even schedule other activities.  

It is better to assign this to someone who will have a better perspective of your calendar.  Meetings and other activities will be scheduled as your Virtual Assistant sees fit.  

The last thing he/she wants is to overbook you.  You will never be amiss of important events in your life and career.

Sorting email

Building an email list is essential to the success of your blog.  However, all queries and requests for sign up may be left unattended when you are swamped with work.  

Let your Virtual Assistant filter out your mail and allow him/her to respond on your behalf.  Having someone monitoring your inbox will free up your time and allow you to finish priority tasks.

Blog maintenance

It is better to outsource this to a tech savvy Virtual Assistant so you can be assured that your site’s design is consistently updated.

There are many blogs being created by the day so you to make sure that your site will continue to generate traffic and standout.  

While you focus on content, you can be assured that the following design components are being worked on.

  • Layout
  • Theme, color scheme, images
  • Fonts
  • Navigation
  • Responsive design
  • Widgets

Bloggers are creative people by nature. But once overwhelmed and stress sets in, the creative process can be stifled. Hire a Virtual Assistant and you’ll find yourself consistently writing amazing content.

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Why Your Small Business Needs a Virtual Assistant

why-your-small-business-needs-a-virtual-assistant

If large businesses such as Xerox and Bank of America hire virtual assistants why shouldn’t small businesses? Regardless of the size of your business, you will benefit greatly by hiring a Virtual Assistant. This is especially true for small businesses:

Manage Your Costs

Small businesses are characterized by having limited capital and access to funding.

Some small business owners take the Lean Management concept to the extreme by doing everything themselves. The end result is lower productivity and poor quality of deliverables.

Your best option is to hire a Virtual Assistant because it won’t break your budget. Virtual assistants are paid per productive hour and being self-employed, are not entitled to benefits. Since they work from remote locations, you don’t pay for their costs of rendering service.

Accomplish Your Goals

Goal setting is an effective way of moving your business forward.

But your ability to accomplish goals is contingent on the availability of time. By delegating non-essential tasks to a Virtual Assistant, you can dedicate more time to the core business of your enterprise.

You will be able to focus 100% on each and every goal you have set for the day. In the meantime, trust that the VA can hold the fort down while you are working on growing the business.

Fund Projects

When are able to manage your costs with a Virtual Assistant, you will be generating cost savings.

Cost savings play important roles in business. They improve your financial flexibility. You have the option to increase savings which will help tide you over during lean months.

You could also re-invest in your business by expanding projects and programs. For example, you may want to initiate marketing and promotional activities. Cost savings represent internally- generated funding and can be used to cover projects.

Expand Your Network

As a small business, you can gain traction by expanding your network of connections and contacts.

A Virtual Assistant can get this done by expertly managing your online marketing campaign. The experienced VA can get this done through SEO, social media marketing, content process marketing or consistent networking.

Online marketing is a powerful tool for building inbound traffic to your website. Even if you have experience in managing your social media activity, it would be best to delegate this to the Virtual Assistant. Online marketing is a time- consuming task.

Pursue Opportunities

With a Virtual Assistant onboard, you can re-direct your focus on other projects. But there is one condition.

You should learn to trust your Virtual Assistant!

This means letting go of the reins and turning them over to your VA. Pursuing an opportunity is like starting all over again. It will take absolute focus to determine if it is viable and feasible enough to take the risk.

You are only handing some of your responsibilities to the VA. This doesn’t mean you are no longer involved. Instruct your Virtual Assistant to frequently update you on developments regarding your primary business.

By contracting the services of a Virtual Assistant you will be able to streamline your costs while improving your level of productivity. With consistency and dedication, your small business may not be so small in a few years!

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Planning to Sell Your Own Home? Here’s How You Do it!

Planning to Sell Your Own Home? Here’s How You Do it!

Planning to Sell Your Own Home? Here’s How You Do it!

Selling your own home can seem more challenging than when you bought it. First you have to overcome emotional attachments. Second, you would want to make sure there is demand in the market for a house such as yours. Third, you may have to conduct repairs to bring up its selling price. Fourth, you have to come up with a time table that covers from sale to transfer to a new home. And lastly, the tasks involved in selling your home can be overwhelming.

What tasks are these you may ask?

  • Marketing and promoting your home
  • Preparing and reviewing contracts
  • Scheduling property visits
  • Reviewing bids
  • Managing expenses related to the sale
  • Taking phone calls from interested parties
  • Producing marketing collateral
  • Following up with prospective buyers

One look at these tasks and it’s easy to understand why hiring a real estate agent is the first course of action by property owners who want to sell their own home.

But hiring the services of a real estate agent can be quite expensive and reduce your overall return on the sale of your home:

  • There are related expenses to pay for such as ad placements, principal home photography and monthly subscriptions to online sites.

What’s more is that a real estate agent cannot devote 100% of his or her time to the sale of your home. They have other clients to attend to. More than likely, they would prefer to allocate more time on properties that would result in a faster sale.

The truth is, you can sell your own home without a real estate agent. In fact, it’s been gaining in popularity in the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia.

The process is called For Sale By Owner or FSBO and it increases the net return on your property by eliminating the agent’s commission and having better control over related expenses.

Here’s a step- by- step process on how to carry out a successful For Sale By Owner :

1. Research and learn everything that you can about the real estate market. Study trends, find out about the latest developments and try to acquire the latest CMA or Comparative Market Analysis on your area. The CMA must cover the last 6 months. The CMA shall be the basis for arriving at the final selling price of your home.

2. Hire a Virtual Assistant with experience in real estate. Delegate a number of tasks to the Virtual Assistant so you still have time for your full – time job.

3. One of the key tasks that you should assign to your Virtual Assistant is marketing. Here are ways the VA can get your marketing to generate interest:

  • Open an account for your property at a reputable For Sale By Owner site.
  • Have you approved at your neighborhood community page at a number of social media accounts.
  • Link all of these social media accounts to your FSBO account.
  • Update all text content and images at your FSBO and social media accounts.
  • Manage all inquiries from the phone , e-mail and social media.

4. Ask an engineer or a general contractor to assess the amount and cost of repairs needed by your home.

5. Hire an attorney to draft your contract of sale.

6. Hire a professional photographer and a set designer to take high resolution images of your home.

7. Give these images to your Virtual Assistant who will produce marketing collaterals for distribution.

8. Ask the VA to check on the latest legislation on the sale of property in your city state.

9. Ask your VA to schedule all property visits.

10. Review all bids and offers.

11. Review the contracts with the VA.

12. Ask your attorney to review and facilitate the contract of the winning bid.

A Virtual Assistant can do what the real estate agent can as far as marketing the property and reviewing contracts are concerned. And the cost of services will be much more affordable.

If you’re planning to sell your own home, you should be successful as long as you keep the process highly organized.

 

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5 Types of Virtual Assistants That Will Grow Your Business

5-types-of-virtual-assistants-that-will-grow-your-business

One lesson that entrepreneurs need to learn right away is that virtual assistants can help grow your business. Entrepreneurs are risk takers; they want to be in the driver’s seat and lead the company toward long- term growth and sustainable success. There’s just one problem: You can’t do it alone.

You need help. More accurately, you need assistance of the virtual kind. Here are 5 types of virtual assistants that every business needs to go to the next level:

Administrative Support

The foundation of the Virtual Assistant lies in the ability to provide administrative support. Entrepreneurs often find themselves overwhelmed with the sheer volume of responsibilities that accumulate for every overlooked task.

You need a Virtual Assistant who can handle the following administrative services:

  • E-mail Filtering
  • Calendar Management
  • Appointment Setting
  • Follow Up Calls
  • File Management
  • Phone Handling
  • Transcription Services
  • Preparation of Presentation Materials
  • Bills Payment
  • Online Interviews

By delegating these tasks to a Virtual Assistant, you can allocate more time to attending to the core functions of your business.

Accounting Services

Many businesses fail because the owners were not able to consistently keep track of the flow of money. You cannot support expansion programs more so fund operating expenses properly if you do not know where your money is going.

You can hire a Virtual Assistant with an accounting or clerical background and can render the following services:

  • Bookkeeping
  • Payroll Preparation
  • Preparation of Financial Statements
  • Preparation of Cash Disbursement Schedule
  • Accounts Management of Payables and Receivables
  • Inventory Management

IT/ Website Support

If you have a website, you should have it audited from time – to – time for upgrades, maintenance or improvements.

You do not have to keep the Virtual Assistant for IT/ Website Support full- time. But it is absolutely important to have him or her on speed dial for immediate repairs. Remember your website is your place of business online. If it breaks down, you may lose a fortune on unearned revenue.

Can you imagine waking up one morning and the first thing you see online is a warning that your website has been hacked?

Services include:

  • Trouble shooting
  • Web Analytics
  • Improvements
  • Maintenance

Online Marketing Service

It doesn’t matter what the nature or industry of your business is. You need online marketing services. This is the most cost efficient approach to marketing. Statistics fully support the value of online marketing.

A Virtual Assistant can manage the following online marketing services for you:

  • Search Engine Optimization or SEO
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Pay- Per- Click Advertising
  • Online Advertising
  • Networking

Content Writer

A significant component of online marketing is content writing. People are highly influenced by the content that they come across. This is the reason why businesses regularly outsource blogging work.

It is not part of their core competence and they want the blogger to manage the entire project. The objective is to deliver fresh, engaging and relevant content that compels readers to take action.

Your Virtual Assistant can create content for the following:

  • Blogs
  • Articles
  • Posts
  • Web Copy
  • Marketing Copy

You do not have to hire these 5 types of virtual assistants at one time. You can start out with administrative support, accounting and have IT/ website support on call. As your business begins to gain traction, you can bring in the online marketer and the content writer.

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People are People: Why Outsourcing Customer Services is the Best Solution

people-are-people-why-outsourcing-customer-services-is-the-best-solution

Outsourcing services has become an increasingly popular solution for businesses that want to introduce efficiency in operation. Over the last 20 years outsourcing provided several benefits for businesses which include the following:

  • Reduced cost of business
  • Greater productivity
  • Increased business flexibility
  • Lower risk to business expansion
  • Improved quality of deliverables

Businesses that are outsourcing for the first time, usually delegate non- essential tasks such as administrative work or back office support. With the growth of global outsourcing, businesses are beginning to outsource more specialized tasks one of which is customer service.

Customer service plays an important role in developing a business. Its main purpose is market retention. With the expanding role of the Internet and the increasing influence of social media, consumers have more access to information while becoming accessible to your competitors.

If your customer service isn’t spot on, you could easily lose your customers to proprietors of the same trade.

Just how important is market retention? Here are the statistics from a survey conducted by ProvideSupport:

  • 13% of dissatisfied customers will tell 20 other people.
  • 78% of customers report competent customer service are responsible for a great customer experience.
  • 45% of consumers will abandon an online transaction if their concerns are not properly addressed.
  • Loyal customers are worth 10 times more than their first purchase.
  • A 5% increase in customer retention will improve profitability by 75%.
  • The probability of selling to an existing customer is 60% to 70%; the probability of selling to a new customer is 5% to 20%.
  • 80% of your revenue will come from 20% of your existing customer base.

At the crux of customer experience is customer service. If your customer service team cannot satisfy the concerns of your market, you stand to lose much more than failure to generate new sales.

The problem with customer service is companies are resorting to automation. In their effort to minimize mistakes they have been implementing Artificial Intelligence or AI systems to take the place of human customer service agents.

Technology companies such as Apple, Microsoft and Google have come out with AI assistance to standardize the level of service and reduce the risks associated with human error. The goal is to introduce large scale AI systems that can manage customer support services.

But the results have been far from desirable. Apple’s Siri AI system has been the object of much scorn and vilification as Microsoft’s Tay AI.

Perhaps one day these technology companies will understand customer service is a function that is best conducted between humans. A customer service transaction is typically emotionally charged. An irate customer wants an immediate resolution to his or her concern because time lost could be opportunity cost.

Machines do not have the capacity to manage customer support services because they have no empathy. They do not understand “need” and therefore exhibit no sense of urgency.

The most effective solution to customer service is also the simplest, least presumptuous one. Outsource customer service to providers of human virtual assistance. Let the customer service agent become human and relate to the customer as another human being.

Forget the automated scripts and spiels. These can remain only as references. For the most part, allow the human in the customer agent to shine through. It is in man’s imperfection that customer service becomes perfect.

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How to Market your Virtual Assistant Business

how-to-market-your-virtual-assistant-business

A Virtual Assistant must constantly find ways to widen client base. This business is not showing any signs of slowing down and it gets more and more competitive as more people join the virtual workforce.  

You have to be able to stand out by executing a good marketing scheme.  It is time to cast your net wider and be ready for the big haul.

There are so many ways to bring your business into the market’s awareness but I have decided to narrow it down to the basics. Let people know you exist by reaching out to them via the following methods:

Create a website. You cannot market your business properly without establishing a strong online identity.  Make sure that you create one that will give people a distinct overview of your services.  

If you are not skilled in creating a website, it is advisable to enlist the service of a web designer. This is the first thing that potential customers look into so put much thought and time into the process.  

Keep in mind that your website gives people a 24/7 access to your Virtual Assistant business, so it is important for you to maintain it properly.

Update contents on a regular basis, keep your design simple and fresh and make sure that navigational system in use is always current.  

Do not neglect your website because this is your virtual doorstep.  No one will knock when it looks uninhabited.

Create a Blog.  Do not underestimate the power of blogging.  Let people know more about you and your business through the articles you post.

Virtual Assistants deal with people across the globe and it is important to cultivate trust prior to any business dealing. A website will draw in people while the blog will help maintain interest.  

This is an avenue for you to service your existing clients, share knowledge and interact with people who visit your website.

If you wish to land more interviews from potential clients, it is always a plus to have a blog on your website. There is also a plugin that you can use which will automatically send details of your latest blog posts on your Facebook business page. Generate “Likes” and you generate interest.

Create a Facebook page for your business. With over a billion users, this social platform provides you access to a huge number of audience.  You do not have to be a big corporation to be able to post an Ad here.  

Facebook has helped launched many small businesses around the world and now it’s your turn.  Set your target market and Facebook will help you reach out to them. It will be easier for you to narrow down potential clients based on demographics.  

Social media marketing will help you interact with a bigger audience, win new customers and promote your Virtual Assistant business.  The possibilities are endless when you utilize this platform so use it not only to connect with your friends but to give your business the attention it deserves.

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