Do You Know Which Country Offers the Best Virtual Assistants?
The very nature of the virtual assistant industry makes it easy to choose where you look for talent to help you run your business. This presents a huge advantage in terms of value, which a few years ago would not have been attainable.
At the same time though, there is such a thing as being spoiled for choice, and though you can cast around a global talent pool, it doesn’t follow that the quality you need is present in every locale.
In the next few paragraphs, you’ll discover a few facts about outsourcing to VAs in different countries, and learn why many businesses in Australia, Europe, and North America focus their remote-talent searches on the Philippines.
VA Nations: Where to Search for a Virtual Assistant
It’s possible to find a virtual assistant in just about any country and in this regard, a lot will depend upon your skill requirements—especially language skills.
Language becomes more and more important in fact, as globalisation continues to break down trade barriers between the nations of the world.
If your business has need of skills in a specific language, then it may make sense to look for a virtual assistant in a country where that language is spoken, although again, multilingual VAs can be found just about anywhere.
If we put aside language for a moment though, or at least assume that you’ll be seeking an English-speaking virtual assistant, the countries with the biggest VA markets include the following:
- United States
- United Kingdom
- New Zealand
- South Africa
Hiring Virtual Assistants Overseas: Why Do It?
If cost is not your biggest concern, there’s a lot to be said for virtual assistants located in your home country. After all, it’s a sure way to save, compared with the costs of hiring through regular local employment channels, and of course there are benefits to be had from working with VAs who know the business culture in your country.
These benefits might be less important though, if your business targets global rather than national markets. In this case, a virtual assistant from an English-speaking, developing nation like India or the Philippines will often be a better bet, especially for small-business start ups or anyone with the need to keep labour costs to a minimum.
Quite simply, VAs from these countries offer excellent value because of the economic circumstances under which they work. Rates will be a lot lower than those charged by VAs in developed nations, while skills are typically on a par and in some cases, superior.
Does India Offer the Best Virtual Assistants?
India for example, has long been a favourite outsourcing destination for technical activities, software development in particular. There are also plenty of virtual assistants operating in India, ranging from general VAs to specialists in accounting, web design, marketing, and other professional business activities.
However, if you’re looking for a general virtual assistant, or for somebody who can help you with customer-relationship tasks, you should be aware that many larger companies have fallen out of love with Indian call centres and shifted customer-sensitive processes to the Philippines.
Well actually, it’s not that the companies that have fallen out of love with Indian call centres, but the companies’ customers have—and here are some of the main reasons why:
- Indian accents can be difficult to understand, which makes phone communication difficult and turns customers off.
- Customers sometimes find Indian agents to seem rather brusque and even slightly aggressive. This is almost certainly a misperception, again caused by the limitations of phone communication, but at the end of the day, customer perception is everything.
- Many customers just don’t like to think that they have to go through an agent in a foreign country in order to interact with a vendor or service provider at home.
To some extent similar issues are experienced by companies working with outsourced developers in India. But before the accusations of cultural bias start to fly our way, we also note that many businesses are totally happy with outsourcing to India. The important thing is to be careful and employ a rigorous process for virtual assistant selection.
The Philippines: Home of Best-in-class Business VAs
So what makes the Philippines such a popular outsourcing destination and why are these Pacific Islands considered to be one of the best sources of virtual assistants?
The following characteristics of Filipino VAs are widely cited as reasons for business-owners to want to work with them:
- A first-class work ethic
- High standards of education
- Excellent written and verbal English communication
- Little if any accent to identify them as offshore workers
- Strong understanding of western business culture…
And of course, the ability to work for fees that are far lower than in developed countries.
One last important point to note is this… When you hire a Filipino virtual assistant, you’ll receive excellent value for money, but if you’re concerned that it’s an exploitative practice, rest assured we don’t feel exploited.
Everyone Wins When You Outsource to the Philippines
You see, while the rate at which Filipino VAs work is much lower than you’ll pay in many places, it’s typically well above the average salary our people can expect to earn in conventional jobs. That makes off-shoring to the Philippines a real win-win arrangement.
In fact, if your virtual assistant plays a role in your interaction with customers, it can even be a win-win-win arrangement, because your VA will gain excellent value, as will you—and perhaps most importantly—so will your customers.
In fact, for some first-hand endorsements of the Philippines (and Virtual Done Well) as the place to go for top-flight virtual assistants, just stop by at our home page before you get back to work, and take a quick look at our client testimonials. They’re at the bottom of the page, so please enjoy the rest of the content as you scroll your way down.