Selecting a Virtual Assistant Company? 4 Things to Look For
Times are changing in the world of virtual assistance. Where once your best chance to find a VA would be to peruse freelancing sites for a self-employed, work-from-home provider, it’s increasingly common to find companies that employ VAs and match them with suitable clients.
This model has some advantages, especially if you’re seeking a virtual assistant for business (as opposed to personal) task outsourcing.
Still, not all VA companies are the same and if you’re going to commit to regular expenditure on virtual assistant services, you want to know your money will be well-spent.
The four tips that follow should be helpful in your search for a virtual assistant company. They relate both to choosing a provider for quality and to making sure you select one that’s a good match for your particular business and task requirements.
1. Look for a Company with its Own VA Office Facilities
Some virtual assistant companies employ work-at-home staff. While this may get you a VA at a more economical rate, it might not be ideal if you need access to business-grade services.
This is especially true if you’re seeking a VA company with staff based in a developing country like the Philippines, where residential-grade facilities (such as electricity and Internet services) are seldom up to the standards you might expect in the Western world.
Providers that operate from office facilities are generally equipped to support mission-critical communications, and have backup solutions for Internet and power interruptions, meaning you won’t find your VA is incommunicado just when you most need his or her help.
2. Choose a VA Company with a Diverse Service Range
One of the great things about working with a virtual assistant company is the possibility to access multiple VAs without multiple online-research and recruiting sessions. This is a real advantage if you’re running a business that needs to scale resources up and down in line with workloads.
For maximum flexibility, try to find a VA company that provides specialists as well as general virtual assistants.
This is a strategy that will pay off when the need arises to add some more pages to your website or create a new marketing brochure, because you’ll be just one phone call, Skype chat, or email away from the web development or graphic design help that you need.
3. Check How VAs are Assigned to Clients
As many companies and business owners have discovered, the best results from working with VAs are achieved when a little time and effort is taken to integrate the remote staff into the business.
However, for that level of integration to be possible, you have to know that the same virtual assistant/s will be working for you every day, every week.
Not every virtual assistant company assigns its resources in this manner however, so if you don’t check the process for client-assignment, you might find your tasks being shuffled around among various members of the provider’s workforce.
That’s why it will pay to ask each of your shortlisted virtual assistant companies how solidly they can guarantee that you’ll always be working with the same dedicated VAs.
Of course if you only have occasional tasks that you wish to outsource, integration and consistency might not be so crucial, but businesses seeking virtual assistants are increasingly looking to outsource tasks of high importance.
4. Favour the VA Company that Will Recruit to Suit
As noted in the section above, a virtual assistant who is assigned exclusively to your business is likely to be of more value than one who’s juggling your tasks with those of other clients.
However, if you will be working with the same virtual assistant for any length of time, it stands to reason that he should be as closely matched to the culture and ethos of your business as possible.
As long as you are prepared to allow a couple of weeks or so from your first contact with the provider to the assignment of your VA, the best way to find the right assistant is to choose a provider who will recruit specifically for your contract.
There’s one other good reason to favour the company that recruits to suit your needs…
Frankly, a provider with idle VAs waiting for client assignments probably isn’t doing a great deal of business. That might be worth treating as a red flag, since providers with a good reputation usually have more than enough work for all their virtual assistants.
Pay Attention to the Vibe When Talking to Providers
The four tips in this post should help you to compile a checklist of things to look for in a virtual assistant company. In a future post we’ll list a few more, but the ones provided here are among the most important.
Talk to a few virtual assistant companies and as well as looking for the right answers to your questions, assess how your questions are answered. The best companies will be pleased to give you as much information as you need, and will be open and direct in spelling out how their services work.
If you’d like to speak with our team as part of your VA company screening process, we’ll be delighted to answer your questions. You can call Virtual Done Well at +61 2 8045 2311 (Sydney) or send us a message using our quick and convenient online enquiry form.