Do you have an FAQ page on your Virtual Assistant website? Have you considered the possible questions that might be asked of you about how working with a VA would work for a potential client?
Because I manage a network for VAs as well as provide a service for clients from my site I have a mixture of questions that relate to both VAs and Clients. But let’s just focus on clients for today. Below are lengthy explanations but you can shorten them somewhat for your own purposes.
Possibly the first one is ‘What is a Virtual Assistant or VA?’ I have this question answered on the home page of my website because I feel that is a question that needs to be answered before the site is explored any further. Basically it is someone who provides a business support service by virtual or remote means, i.e. phone, fax, email, internet and isn’t present at the workplace of the client, i.e. no face-to-face contact. That service traditionally is administratively based but has expanded to include many other services today including bookkeeping, transcription, website management, database management, social media and a number of other things. If someone concentrated on one thing only, e.g. bookkeeping they would be called a bookkeeper, generally, but if they’re providing other services as well, then they could be called a Virtual Assistant – assisting other business owner/operators on a virtual basis.
The next most frequently asked question is ‘how much?’ The answer to that question is often answered by other questions such as: What do you want done? When by? Which software programs? and sometimes other questions as well. Some VAs have their rates listed on their sites, others don’t. While it is recognised that some clients will shop on price only many others want to be assured that the VA they choose is the right one for the job. Generally jobs are priced by an hourly rate but something like transcription is often charged by the audio minute (1 hour of recording can take 3-4 hours of typing) or word-processing might be charged by the page or word count. Some jobs maybe project based, e.g. a website or blog set up and then maintained. If you are going to list your rates on your site then you need to be clear about them so that clients aren’t confused by their meaning. I personally prefer to speak to the client first and then let them know. And because I also manage a VA network clients can have their jobs sent out to the team for quotes and time turnaround so they get a variety of answers and can make a choice as to whom they wish to work with.
How does the work get to you and back to the client? I get asked this one quite a bit when meeting people who have not come across our industry before. My answer is this: You know how it works in the corporate world with a secretary and boss, usually having offices next to each other and nearby. They communicate face-to-face, by intercom or phone or by email. Well, let’s place those people apart, and that the boss has gone overseas on a business trip. How do they then communicate? Phone, fax and email. And possibly a file sharing service as well (like dropbox.com). Well, we work in exactly the same manner. Doesn’t matter we’ve never met the client face-to-face, it still works very well and some of my long-term clients have been with me between 7 and 12 years. I know their businesses well and they understand my abilities well.
How do I know if my information is safe? Many VAs have a non disclosure/confidentiality document available and also shred any documentation not needing to be kept. Perhaps research is the best friend of the client here. Research the VA or VA network you wish to seek support from and see what is said about them online, how long they’ve been around for, if they have any credentials.
I’ll share more on this next week.