Well-known business leaders like Michael Hyatt, Tim Ferriss, Julia Pimsleur, and many other industry thought leaders have all said that their decision to hire a virtual executive assistant was one of their greatest business success "aha" moments. Why? Because using a virtual executive assistant is a proven way to be more productive and increase business growth.
In fact, some have gone as far as writing articles with bold titles such as "5 Reasons Why You are Actually Destroying Your Business by Not Hiring a Virtual Assistant!" and "Why A Personal Assistant Should Be Every Entrepreneur's First Hire."
But not all virtual executive assistants can offer you the same level of support.
It all comes down to how proactive the virtual executive assistant is.
Do they only do what they are tasked, or do they anticipate your needs, going above and beyond to pull your business forward? Do they pull from a vast knowledge base of best practices, or do they rely solely on their own grit to get your work done?
These are huge aspects to consider before you hire a virtual assistant.
Left-brain vs. Right-brain
Although the left-brain, right-brain dominance theory has been debunked, the point it makes still holds true: some people are great at some things and not so great at others.
In the world of virtual assistants, this translates to: every virtual assistant is an island.
On their own, virtual assistants are regular people with limitations. They may be well-educated with specialized expertise in a certain area, but they will only ever be as good as their knowledge and yours combined...
The Case for Hiring a Managed Virtual Assistant
...unless they belong to a network of highly trained and managed virtual assistants.
The reason for this is clear. When you hire a virtual assistant from a managed service provider, you receive thousands of collective service hours worth of well-defined best practices and proven processes that are updated on a regular basis.
So your virtual executive assistant is always in the loop, and can bring well-documented insights to your stale, underused, or non-existent systems.
With managed service providers, you receive the best virtual assistant services available today. Your business will thrive...and your stress will go way down.
Plans fall through. Meetings need to be rescheduled. Hotels overbook guests. Concerts sell out. Kids get sick.
Life is messy. It requires flexibility and a commitment to finding solutions.
So what happens when your virtual assistant -- who you need to be agile and proactive -- only does what is requested of them?
Frustration, lack of ROI on your investment, and lost productivity happen.
You'll lose valuable time, money, and patience if you hire a virtual assistant that just takes orders and delivers the work "as assigned."
In order for a virtual assistant to be most successful at managing your business needs, they must be proactive on your behalf.
Here's what a proactive virtual assistant looks like:
- Case by Case (or...package by package) Basis A client gives their virtual assistant access to all of their passwords through a service like Bitium in order to hand off various repeatable tasks like making travel arrangements, ordering office supplies, and shipping gifts to customers on their birthdays. As an aside, the virtual assistant notices that there is no clear procedure to accept packages at the client's residence, which results in several weekly failed deliveries that the virtual assistant must follow up with. After the virtual assistant brainstorms with their in-house supervisor, the virtual assistant creates an external process to deal with package deliveries to the client's residence. Now, when the delivery person arrives, they are greeted by a friendly sign that directs them to call the virtual assistant. Once the delivery person describes their package and its sender, the virtual assistant either buzzes them into an entry room to leave their package or gives them other instructions. So instead of the client having to collect "sorry we missed you" notes on the door, scan them for the virtual assistant, and worry over missed packages, the client's involvement is now zero.
- All-In-One Ecosystem A client has several properties rented through Airbnb and Homeaway. The primary virtual assistant works with a backup virtual assistant team member in-house to directly handle every aspect of the properties. From booking to departure and everything in between, both virtual assistants work together to coordinate cleaning and repairs, respond to interested calls and emails from potential renters, and maintain the overall brand messaging of the client at every touchpoint. By being the client's eyes, ears, and mouth, the virtual assistants are able to provide essential brand-centric touches to the property for every guest without anyone handholding them or telling them they should. The client gets two virtual assistants and the power of their collective network for the fixed price of one virtual assistant.
- One Stop Solution A virtual assistant is tasked with handling online orders and store management as well as coordinating deliveries and invoices. The virtual assistant goes further by creating a process to make sure that each order is not a bogus one. Additionally, when the client decides to adopt several unique tools and systems, the virtual assistant is able to access their internal wiki to watch tutorials and read about best practices that other virtual assistants in the network have utilized and documented.
- Customer Service and Handholding Several virtual assistants from the same managed service provider work with an independent firm of telecom experts and consultants to manage customer experience online and over the phone. The virtual assistants handle the porting of numbers when the firm has new carriers, and they deal with all of the firm's cancellation requests. Typically, each call takes 30-60 minutes, which used to be a huge time drain for the firm's busy field reps. Now, the virtual assistants keep both sides informed on progress and updates, and document all interactions in an online portal that the firm (their client) can view at any time.
- High Octane Prospecting Several clients are investors who prefer a virtual assistant to act as their analyst and help them investigate companies they're interested in acquiring. The actual prospeting process of each client is kept secret to protect each client's secret sauce. But the results are the same: getting prospects to a call. In addition to traditional prospecting, the virtual assistants who work with these clients have developed unique processes to find articles that are useful for finding emerging companies or industries.
- Mindshare for Vendor Relations Many businesses hire a virtual assistant to plan events, trainings, conferences, and the like. The best virtual assistant services share information and preferences amongst themselves regarding venues, vendors, and catering in order to provide an even better service to clients. The best virtual assistant services will try their best to supersede the "non-refundable" policy of vendors through shared techniques learned from each other about a particular vendor. Want your next Lunch and Learn session to have the best swag items with white label designs? Get a virtual assistant backed by the experience of their entire network, and what you'll find is that your virtual assistant has access to a lot more than you would have access to if it was just the two of you working together to bang out results.
- On the Fly (pun intended) We've all experienced delayed or canceled flights. Subsequently, we've all spent loads of time frantically trying to make the necessary rescheduling arrangments. Don't you wish you'd had a virtual assistant to handle all the scheduling management for you in those instances? The best virtual assistant services will automatically find you alternative flights. You won't have to ask them to adjust your schedule to make sure you'll still get to appointments, meetings, and other crucial commitments. They'll already be on it.
The above examples show the level of proactive service you receive when you hire a virtual assistant through a managed service provider. Managed service providers are able to accommodate requests that may seem out of the norm. They typically end up giving you more than what is required by leveraging a large staff of virtual assistants trained to give each other help.
In short, Prialto is a managed service provider that always tries to anticipate the needs of our members (clients). We proactively provide useful suggestions culled from thousands of support hours accumulated over nearly a decade of delivering the best virtual assistant services.
Our highly trained team of managed, dedicated, expert virtual assistants help each other to help our clients. So when you hire a virtual assistant through Prialto, you are getting the best virtual assistants available today.