Key Attributes of a Great Virtual Assistant
With more companies, entrepreneurs and individuals seeking remote support now than ever before, it is important to consider what makes a great Virtual Assistant. We have put together what we feel are the key attributes to look out for when searching for the right VA to bring onboard to your business.
The ability to communicate effectively is extremely important, especially if you are a remote worker as you do not rely on face-to-face communication. A lack of communication or poor communication can result in delays, extra costs and an inability to complete tasks correctly. The sign of a good Virtual Assistant is someone who is easily reachable, quick to reply, asks questions when things are unclear and is able to speak knowledgeably and professionally to both you as the employer and your customers and clients. Being a good communicator should also lend itself to being a good listener, and, as such, your VA should be able to take on board what you or your customer or client is asking of them, taking notes and allowing the person to finish speaking before responding. Finally, the sign of a good communicator is someone who is friendly, polite and able to diffuse any difficult situations that they might face. Bringing a VA with excellent communication skills on board means that they should be able to complete jobs to a high standard and strike up long-lasting relationships, not just with you, but with your key clients as well.
Excellent Time Management and Organisation Skills
A VA is, more often than not, juggling multiple deadlines, projects and tasks at any one time and, as such, a high calibre VA should be able to keep themselves exceptionally organised and be adept at prioritising what needs to be taken care of first. A VA with good time management and organisation skills will be able to look at a project and give a good estimate as to how long it will take to complete and plan their schedule accordingly, resulting in projects being completed on time and to a high standard whilst also keeping on top of other duties.
The Oxford Dictionary defines resourcefulness as ‘the quality of being good at finding ways of doing things and solving problems, etc.’ and this is a vital quality that any successful VA will possess. A strong VA should be experienced using several different systems and technologies and will also have reliable contacts they can call upon when given a task to complete or faced with an issue. A VA who is resourceful will be able to use their problem-solving skills in order to find the best, most efficient and fastest solution to any problem thrown their way!
For a lot of VAs, their job role and duties can be quite fluid and are not always set in stone from day one. It is therefore important that your VA can constantly adapt and be able to face new challenges, as and when they come about. It could be that, initially, you bring a VA on-board to help with administrative tasks, but you may then ask them to assist with social media, researching and liaising with clients later down the line. You may even give your VA a task to complete which they aren’t well-versed in and where they have to ‘learn on the job’, so flexibility and the ability to adapt is essential in ensuring that they are able to execute any duties sent their way.
Ability To Take Initiative
With hiring managers and employers seeking people who are able to think on their feet, it is vital that your VA uses their own initiative when working and is able to manage themselves well, with or without supervision. A VA worth their salt will do far more than passively wait for instructions, so look for a VA who is asking for more work to help you and the business, identifies areas for improvement within a project or a system that you use and then takes action in order to improve it, without you having to ask them first!
Attention To Detail
Professional VAs should have a keen eye for detail and will know how vital meticulousness. When hiring a VA you want to look for someone who spends extra time searching for and correcting mistakes, big or small, as well as someone who goes the extra mile to ensure that everything is correct before they send it over for review. The quality of a project is reliant on detail provided by you as the employer, and it is important that, if your VA doesn’t feel they have enough information to complete the task to the best of their ability, they quickly point this out and ask pertinent questions in order to gain more detail. However, it is also important to note that everyone makes mistakes and that VAs are only human, so the odd spelling mistake or wrong number may happen every now and then. That being said, a competent VA should recognise and amend any mistakes very quickly.
A VA who is tech-savvy can provide huge benefits as they will know the best virtual tools to ensure productivity and efficiency. Your VA must be able to use the most modern of digital tools in order to help your business and provide quality. Look for a VA who can recommend systems to use to help your business and projects run smoothly, such as project management tool, Asana, or somewhere safe to store your important client information, such as cloud storage platforms or a CRM system. It is key that your VA keeps up to date with the different technologies out there and is able to adapt to new tools as required within their role.
Ability To Take Onboard Criticism
Within every role, there is nearly always room for improvement and this is the same for a VA. A good VA should always be open and receptive to constructive criticism, if it is something which is going to help them work better and result in better results for the business. If there are things that you feel your VA could be doing more efficiently of effectively, then tell them. VAs are in a lucky position whereby they can learn from their clients or bosses, many of whom have been in business for quite some time, so any useful tips or areas for improvement will be important to your VA.
VAs handle a lot of work that requires managing confidential, personal and private information, such as client contact information, credit card details, banking details and access to accounts. As such, honesty is a key quality to look for when interviewing a VA. It is important that you ask them how they have displayed honesty or discretion in a previous, or current, role and how they manage and handle private information.
We feel these are the key attributes that successful Virtual Assistants should have in order to stand out from the crowd and be a brilliant addition to your team or company. However, at Lily Shippen we thoroughly screen and vet all potential VA candidates to ensure that they have these skills and more! Once we have vetted the candidates and got to know your business and your requirements, we will match you to the VA that we believe can best support your business needs. For more information, please download our Virtual Assistant brochure, below, to learn more about our VA offering and how we can help you!