Where do you spend the bulk of your day? Is it responding to e-mails, following up with clients, or curating your social media? Tasks like these have little to do with your work, but they take up bits and pieces of your day. You may not notice as it's happening until you realize it's 6 p.m. and you barely made a dent in your to-do list.
Fortunately, there's a way to solve this predicament. Many busy people have hired a virtual assistant as a way to let go of tedious tasks and focus on deep work. When another pair of hands focuses on simple tasks, it can quickly open up hours for you.
Imagine coming into the office every morning to a sorted inbox and no pending social media replies. You only need to check a report of fulfilled tasks while sipping your coffee. Whether they’re located in your same town or several time zones ahead, a virtual assistant will become your second brain by anticipating your needs and most common answers to requests that come your way.
Areas of Support of Virtual Assistants
Do you need a list of the best hotels in Cabo? Or do you want someone to answer a growing batch of emails from leads? A virtual assistant can help you with both of these tasks and others such as:
- Checking your emails
- Handling bookkeeping
- Conducting online research
- Data entry/management
- Creating presentations
- Managing your schedule
- Staking out business deals/new clients
And just about anything else you can think of. Virtual assistants are like an extension of yourself. You can have them handle tasks that take you away from running your business. The tasks you delegate to them depends on the type of business you have.
For instance, if you run a boutique, then a virtual assistant can help you find deals on merchandise around the web. And if you operate real estate firm, you can have them schedule open houses and manage interested buyer lists and outreach.
Next, let’s take a closer look at how a virtual assistant can bring less stress and more productivity to your workday.
Achieving Inbox Zero
Inbox Zero seems like a dream for many, even with the use of digital tools. Useless notifications still make their way to the top of your inbox, begging for your attention.
A virtual assistant can help you clean up your inbox, sort e-mails based on priority, or even respond to inquiries while you’re away. Even better, they can be the filter for any incoming email, ensuring you only get information that is pertinent.
In the past, you had an office assistant to handle all of your incoming calls. This meant taking down names and numbers, scheduling appointments, and reaching out to prospects. However, most of today’s communications are via email.
Having a virtual assistant to manage your inbox is critical if you want to keep your business in good standing. Both clients and prospects expect to receive a reply email in a timely manner.
Once upon a time, it was alright to send a reply email within 24-48 hours. Yet, times have changed. Today’s consumers are looking for responses in as little as one hour.
Unfortunately, there aren’t enough hours in the day to respond to every email in that time frame. And this is especially true on your days off. You can find more businesses now offering customer support over the weekend.
With the help of a virtual assistant, you too can offer 24-7 email customer support.
Managing Social Media
Dialing back on your social media time? Don’t let that affect your communication with your customers. A virtual assistant can take care of your business’ social profiles for you, updating with regular posts and replying to any notifications you receive.
Why is this essential? Because today’s customers are looking to interact with brands using social media platforms. So not answering your social messages in a timely fashion can hurt your business.
Let’s take a look at what the stats tell us. Roughly one-third of consumers prefer to obtain customer support via social media. If you’re still investing in a call center only, then it’s time to switch up your strategy.
It’s important to use the right online channels for customer engagement. While it varies from industry to industry, we find that 67% of consumers prefer Facebook and Twitter for reaching out to brands for support.
A whopping 70% of consumers are already using social media for customer service, which is very telling. These platforms are key to maintaining great relationships with your target customers. Plus, we find that consumers spend 20-40% more on brands that engage with consumers on social.
Not responding quickly can hurt your customer relations. About 42% of consumers want a response within the hour. By hiring a virtual assistant, you can ensure this expectation is met and you continue building strong relationships with prospects and customers.
But social media isn’t just about providing online customer support. It’s also a means for outreach. You don’t want to open up a social media account and wait around for the messages to come in. You’ll need a strategy to build your visibility and attract your audience.
A virtual assistant can help you do this in a number of ways. For instance, an assistant can share your blog posts, share posts from your followers, and engage in conversations. These tasks alone can eat up 2-3 hours of your day.
Mastering your Calendar
If you’re receiving more invitations than your body can handle, a virtual assistant can take care of them and build a better schedule for you. Let them be in charge of your calendar, and you'll never be overbooked again... unless you want to.
In business, it’s all about establishing, building, and maintaining relationships. And what better way to do so than with in-person interactions? For this reason, it’s important to make an effort to attend events and meetings with prospects, clients, and partners.
The issue here is setting aside time to make all the events in a given month, while still operating a business. You don’t want to overload yourself with too many appointments in any given week (or day). It doesn’t make sense to drain yourself out with meetings if you won’t have enough time to sustain your business.
You can try using software and apps to help manage it all, but even this can take away valuable time from doing more important tasks. You have to reach out to find out about events and times, figure out how to fit it into your schedule efficiently, and still handle your managerial duties.
It’s just not practical. Why go through this ordeal when you don’t have to? A virtual assistant will even take it a step further and send out reminder emails to ensure whoever you’re meeting with won’t forget about your appointment.
Then if you have to give a presentation, plan discussions, do research, or organize other materials, your VA can help arrange it all.
You’ll find that having your own virtual assistant will also make your small business look more professional.
Contacting customer service is one of the worst tasks ever. The waiting on the phone, jumping from one employee to the next, and awful hold music can drive anyone crazy. Except for your virtual assistant. Send the task over and never have to listen to a pre-recorded menu again.
Surely, you know better than anyone that great customer service goes a long way when dealing with a brand. It can be the difference between continuing to use their service and dumping them for a competitor.
So as a business owner, you have to keep this in mind. Thankfully, there are numerous ways you can enhance your customer service today. You’ll find the internet is your friend in this case, especially since the majority of consumers are expecting fast and convenient communications with brands via email and social media.
However, customer service isn’t just about being available and responding quickly. It’s also about how you handle those communications. You want a professional on your team who can interact with your prospects and customers professionally.
And it’s also vital for your customer service professional to know extensively about your brand. This way, they can portray your business in the right voice, light, and tone. They should be able to answer questions like they’re a part of your in-house team.
Virtual assistants make it their mission to learn all about your brand so they can act as an extension of it. You’ll quickly find that managing your own customer relations is a full-time job of its own.
When you hire a virtual assistant, you can ensure your customers and your brand are taken care of. Plus, it’ll save you a day’s work so you can focus matters that grow and expand your business.
Customer service is the backbone of every company and shouldn’t be overlooked. Consumers that have a negative experience with a brand are 88% less likely to come back. And 75% of consumers expect to have a consistent experience each time they engage with your brand.
The fact 55% of consumers are willing to pay more for a better brand experience says it all!
This category can be as broad as you want it to be. Do you need to follow up with a client? Trying to get more connections to complete a survey? Instead of wasting hours on these tasks, let your virtual assistant handle them for you, and watch your productivity grow.
In business, it’s all about managing communications. You’re dealing with partners, employees, customers, and prospects. Each group is vital to the existence and expansion of your company. If you’re not able to maintain consistent communications with them, then it’ll hurt your growth.
For example, your in-house team relies on proper communication to ensure the scope, details, and instructions for projects are clear. Staying on top of deadlines and micro-managing teams can be difficult when you have bigger tasks to handle.
A virtual assistant can manage your projects and communications with your in-house staff. This way, you can focus on attending meetings, hosting events, and managing calls with prospects and customers – you know...driving more business to your company.
The same goes for communications with your prospects and customers. As we’ve mentioned earlier, your VA can handle scheduling, emails, social media, and phone calls for you so you don’t get tied up in mundane tasks.
If you’re not needed in a particular conversation, then you can school your VA on gathering and providing necessary information from the business communications they manage for you.
Use your VA to send progress reports to partners and customers to keep them in the loop of ongoing projects. You can also use them for outreach to turn prospects into customers and past customers into repeat customers.
Start Using Your Time More Productively
If you’re serious about becoming more productive, then the first step is to get more done in less time. You can’t do this if you’re wearing multiple hats and handling micro tasks each day.
With a virtual assistant, you can earn back more of your time. You can use this to focus on bigger tasks, attending meetings, and even getting home quicker to spend time with your family.
You can’t go wrong with a virtual assistant. You can scale up or scale down their tasks as needed, allowing you to control your budget.
If this sounds like something your business needs, then it’s time to look for a professional VA service. Contact us today to learn about our virtual assistants!