Monday, April 20, 2015

A Virtual Assistant’s Indispensability in eServices Industry.

The Rise of Virtual Assistant’s.

Introduction: The Internet introduced many good things to the world. For example: Earlier a business owner would need to own or lease a piece of real estate such as a shop or a business floor to sell. This needed huge investments. So the business was then restricted to only those who had the capital resources. Now, businesses got the platform to offer their products and services at a virtual marketplace called e-shops through the medium of Internet. This led to whole new lifestyle and way of shopping coined as eShopping . Further ahead, companies started offering their services online.  These services include : Legal services, managerial services, accounting and financials, customer support, sales, typing services etc.

Going ahead,internet platform gave businesses a flexibility in human resource deployment. It was now possible to outsource the certain sections and departments to a completely different location of country. Besides this, with the work from home opportunities, jobs could be outsourced to work from home type employees.

So What Did This Lead To? A work from home opportunity led to the rise of Virtual Assistants. The Virtual Assistant could be located anywhere, and all they needed was a good broadband/DSL internet connection and telephone support services as part of the basic infrastructure. The need to allocate an office space was eliminated and hence businesses saved on rental costs per employee. Besides this organizations could hire workforce from different countries at lower costs thereby saving substantially. Some popular countries for outsourcing include India, Philippines, South Africa, Egypt etc.

Benefits of Hiring a Virtual Assistant:
  • Fewer HR deployment problems.
  • Lower contractual rates from countries such as Philippines, India, Egypt etc.
  • Better flexibility in hiring: Not restricted to locality.
  • Low paper work for businesses: VA’s maintain their own tax and account books.
  • Employee Acquisition is cheaper when done online as compare to the conventional route of hiring through HR Agencies.

​6 Essential qualities of a Capable VA (Virtual Assistant):​

a) Numero-Uno Communication: The first and foremost important quality of virtual assistant is Excellent communication and speaking skills. VA’s are the contact points or the front end people of an organization. In a way they are the brand ambassadors of your product or service. The confidence with which they are able to speak to the customer, sell the idea or handle issues will result in increased customers confidence or a lost sale.​

4 tips for Excellent communication:
Tip#1 Speak with Clarity.
Tip#2 Converse Confidently.
Tip#3 Maintain a Calm tone at all times especially when handling aggressive customers.
Tip#4 Confidence comes with training and Subject knowledge. Hence one must strive to become an expert in his field so as to be an authority.​

b) Giving Solutions That DO Work!: Many a times we have seen that customer care executives come up with solutions that are ready-made. VA’s need to understand that every customer is different in terms of communication, tolerance level, problems, expectation level. However where they differ in so many aspects, they share a common attribute: Each customer is a Potential “Long-Term” client. If you are unable to meet the expectations and cause any dissatisfaction, chances are 1)Firstly, The customer will not return to you, hence the business suffers from repeat-orders 2)Second, business loses its customers to its competitors which means good news for your competitors and is definitely a cause of worry for your business.​

The best way to tackle the problem of customers is by charting out solutions that are customized. Incase where the VA feels it’s not possible , an alternative solution or necessary compensation can be worked out.

For example, just recently one of my friend had ordered a​ Philips DVD player worth $40 (about 25 pounds) at a popular e-shop site. 12 days passed by and the product remained undelivered. After several follow-ups and practically talking to 5-6 executives, each executive was coming up with their version of apologies and excuses for late delivery.  In the end the order was cancelled and my friend wrote a 1500 word article on their services and posted it to many Complaint-board sites. He then emailed the article to the e-shops twitter account. Within 12 hours he received a call from the executive apologizing for the inconvenience caused and offered a compensation along with  an alternate product of same brand but higher pricing. My friend however rejected the deal and cancelled the order for a full refund.​

Conclusion of the story: Had the representatives acted earlier, notified of the situation or maybe even offered a deal within the suitable time, My friend wouldn't have placed an order on the competitor’s site. Instead what the representatives offered as a solution was a cliche – “Sir, We apologize for the inconvenience cause. We are looking into the matter and will get back to you soon” … which they never did.

e) Understanding customer’s grievance and handling the same to not just meet their expectations but delight them.

f) Provide customized services: I had other day contacted Google Premium email services for some technical issue that had occurred. We received the response within 24 hours, the surprise was the manner in which the email was drafted. It was Superb! We loved it. The executive wrote – what looked like to me a completely customized email response .. and a medium sized one. They executive had added support phrases such – ‘Please do not worry, I will definitely assist you with that’ and ‘Please do not worry, I have checked your account info and here is the problem … “
What a simple yet effective way of writing. They understood that the customer getting in touch with the Google’ contact support is obviously worried about something and they tackled it right away by the phrase – ‘Please do not worry, I will assist you..’


g) Flexibility : Managers love working with colleagues who know they can depend on and most importantly will go that extra mile to do what is needed. There could be times when business may expect some flexibility from their employees. Example, Extended working hours, working in shifts, working in lieu for an absent employee or performing a job role which could be out of their work allocation. Showing flexibility and accommodation in such cases can result in growth of VA’s careers and increase in contractual rates.

​Summary: We hope the article has been of some use to our reader’s i.e You. We love to hear you feedback through comments or you may get in touch with us directly at joshua[at the rate of]

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