This post is contributed by Anupam Rajey, CEO of Acelerar Tech, a leading KPO firm that offers virtual assistants for social media, Internet research, email & chat support, and more. Anupam is a seasoned marketer and sales expert. You can learn more about Acelerar here on VirtualAssistantAssistant.com.
The inspiration for today’s post actually came from a Quora question someone asked me the other day.
The original question was: what are the most effective methods you have used in your business to increase VA productivity?
Needless to say, delegating tasks to virtual assistants can save you both time and money. As an entrepreneur, your prime objective should be growing your business.
So you should not mingle with petty tasks that you can easily delegate to others, such as social media management, Internet research, desktop publishing services, and more.
As rightly said by Natalie Sisson in her blog post, “A Virtual Assistant is the key to helping you save valuable hours each day. To run a successful business, quality time must be pumped into it. Trying to do everything by yourself will burn you out.”
The best thing about virtual assistants is that you can hire them for everything from making customer service calls to sending ‘thank you’ notes to your prospective clients.
This is the reason why more entrepreneurs are delegating tasks to VAs.
As the industry has grown, so have the demands of virtual assistants and the standard needed to render consistent high-quality services. The bottom line is each and every entrepreneur wants to maximize the productivity of the virtual assistants they hire.
Before I proceed further with this post, let’s have a look at the answers my fellow Quora members gave:
All the members expressed succinctly how to increase VA’s productivity. Thanks to them!
Here are my five simple tips that will increase the productivity of your virtual assistant.
1. Close collaboration is a key to success
Though virtual assistants already have experience, competencies, and required skill sets to perform assigned tasks diligently, they need close collaboration to give their best.
Sometimes, they might need a little training. For example:
You hired a virtual assistant to execute social media marketing strategies for lifestyle products. And your virtual assistant has 8 years experience in social media marketing, but he never did social media marketing for lifestyle products.
In this case, he will take some time to adapt the right approach and social media strategies for your products.
He will present you a comprehensive marketing plan. As you know the products more than he does, you are in the best position to tell what will be more productive in your market.
So a close collaboration is a must to maximize the success of virtual assistants.
Nick’s Notes: Collaboration is key, especially at the beginning of a new VA relationship. Over time, as you give feedback, it’s kind of like the Pandora app. They learn what you like and dislike, and aim to improve the “playlist” every day.
2. Measure performance to set high, achievable goals
It is imperative that you should measure the performance of your VA.
Most entrepreneurs let their VAs work independently, and they don’t measure VAs’ contributions to the growths of organizations.
If you want optimal performance, you should establish a metric to measure your VA’s performance.
However, when you are assessing the performance of your VA, you should consider all the aspects. Maybe, your VA needs some training or guidance to understand your niche in a better way.
Martin believes, “Managers should make sure that they review the work done by the virtual assistants to assess their quality and then providing feedback. This ensures that the loopholes in work quality can be fixed in a timely manner. Keeping a regular check on virtual assistants is important to know about things that they might be struggling with.”
Nick’s Notes: Your KPIs (key performance indicators) will vary based on your business and industry, but might be metrics like sales, website visitors, customer support issues resolved, or whatever matters most in your operation.
3. A motivated VA makes a real difference
Everyone makes mistakes. Your VA is a human so he or she might make a few mistakes. As an entrepreneur, you should accept it as a part of a job and motivate your VA to perform better.
If you have a VA from a different culture, you should deal with him with extra care.
Your VA is also your employee. The only difference is he works remotely.
When your VA does something really good, you should give him a bonus or incentive. This will keep him motivated and he will always try to give his best.
Dorie Clark and Sue Williams suggest in a blog, “Gratitude for a job well done is always appreciated, but more specific praise can actually shape your VA’s input. If you laud your assistant’s word choice on social media, they will probably place a higher value on such tasks. For instance, Dorie made it clear that she appreciated my suggestions about how to improve processes or solve problems, so I felt encouraged to do so.”
Nick’s Notes: There’s obviously a lot that goes into the science of motivation, and monetary rewards are just one part of it. My general rules include saying thank you for a job well done, sharing the finished product the VA helped create, and giving occasional bonuses.
4. Simple processes boost performance
You should make sure that you have a simple system in place to work with your VA.
As a VA works remotely, you will need some programs for a smooth collaboration, communication, and file sharing. And keep in mind, costly programs with lots of bells and whistles are not always better.
There are many free programs that can help you run an operation smoothly, such as Google Hangout, Skype, Dropbox, Asana, Slack, and more.
Remember, the best program is the one that your VA can adopt easily. Most of the VAs are quite familiar with these free programs.
If you are going to use a new software program, make sure you give your VA time to learn the new system.
Liat Behr says in her blog post, “Tools empower. Knowing which tools to use and how to use them can make the difference between getting stuck and a job well done”
Nick’s Notes: Simple well-defined processes set both parties up for success. When you eliminate the guesswork, everyone knows what’s expected and how to get the job done.
5. Involved virtual assistants exceed expectations
Virtual assistants are experienced professionals, and they view your business with a different view. Many times, they can have better ideas.
So, instead of restricting your VA to specific tasks, you should try to involve your VA in the overall process and bigger picture business.
If he understands your business objective well, it will be easier for him to achieve the goal.
To maximize your VA’s productivity, you need to provide him with a free virtual floor where he can share his ideas without any hesitation. This will encourage him to do better.
Kelly Cannon hit the target in her post, “Be sure that you give your VA ample opportunity to discuss any of her own questions or concerns with how the work is going. You’ll inspire more loyalty and better work if you take the time to get to know your VA. Ask questions about her life, and let her know how much you appreciate a job well done.”
Nick’s Notes: Some of the most helpful and useful innovations in my businesses have actually come from VAs. They were neck deep in a process all day long and found a smarter way to get it done. If I’d insisted they keep doing it “my” way, they would have lost hours of productivity and probably a little piece of their soul!
If you want to increase your VA’s productivity, collaborate closely with your VA, set a metric for performance measure, motivate him, have simple processes, and involve him in the overall process.
If you follow these measures, you will certainly maximize your VA’s productivity.
If you have anything to add on how you’ve increased the productivity of your own VA, be sure to leave a comment below.