Not everyone understands how to use a Virtual Assistant or what a VA can do for them. I get asked regularly what kind of business I’m in and when I tell them I’m a Virtual Assistant I get asked the normal question ‘what’s that?’ And then when I explain that for me, it means being like a personal assistant, only virtual, briefly their face shows their unspoken question which is soon voiced. They can’t even begin to perceive how we (VAs) receive the work or get it back to the client if we don’t see them face-to-face.
We get many requests online and a good number of these clients do understand that we work virtually and make their requests accordingly, but some still have this mindset that they need someone close by and request that. But it’s more the phone clients we get that do not understand the virtual aspect of what we do. We advertise in the Yellow Pages in all the states of Australia but there is no ‘Virtual Assistant’ category and so we’re listed in the WordPressing & Secretarial service section, but make sure we also add a number of things that we do so people can clearly see we are more than a secretarial service. However, because these people haven’t found us online, they are less likely to appreciate or understand the virtual aspect of our role and are more likely to think they need to drop off the work, or sit by our side as we type for them, or that they need to stay on the premises to answer any questions we have. Sometimes it’s purely a fear of letting whatever their project is go out of their sight.
There are times when there is a genuine need for someone local but I find that in 95% of the job requests we get the work can truly be done virtually. The work can be delivered by many means, phone, email, internet download, fax, courier, mail, dropped off or picked up. The majority of clients I work with do not need to see me at all, and most of their contact is by email but occasionally by phone. Periodically someone might drop something off or I might go pick it up, but that’s not often. I have clients who are interstate or overseas and have never met them but we manage fine via email.
It is the role of all Virtual Assistants to educate their clients and potential clients and assist them in understanding how easily technology allows us to assist them. We need to work at taking away the fear of the unknown and ease them into this new way of providing support to them. Sometimes it has to be done one step at a time, other times we can simply introduce the idea and it is embraced immediately.
I invite you to read some of my earliest posts on this blog which are client case studies. I also invite anyone reading this blog who uses a VA for their business to add comment or send me their story as a case study to be added on these pages. KMT