A virtual PA is a special assistant that works from a home office or virtual office. He or she offers a range of tasks, depending on client demand. In many cases, office tasks like document typing and emailing are the regular tasks. Others do more specialized tasks like designing websites or marketing business on the internet. A virtual PA is expected to be smart and competent.
Outsourcing jobs to virtual professionals brings about new issues in the industry. Clients usually have to discern whether they can deal with the drawbacks. In some cases, online professionals may need to be oriented by a client to new and specialized tasks. This is, however, expected. After all, many clients have extraordinary demands.
Then again, we come to terms of discussing what a virtual assistant must possess. The professional background of an assistant is relevant whether they work in the office or they work from a remote location. That means they should have administrative, personal relations, and communication skills.
In addition, virtual professionals are expected to have advanced internet browsing skills. Clients need them to do research every now and then. Hence, they should know how to work with search engines.
Appropriate Microsoft skills are extremely important, for online assistants basically work using Word or Excel. This is not much of an issue because virtually all assistants and secretaries working online from a remote location are computer literate.
Since tasks are usually sent through email, online professionals are expected to be efficient in managing their emails. This is also not really an issue because everyone now knows how to create email accounts, draft emails, send emails, attach files on emails, and open documents. Perhaps an issue would be responsiveness. Clients expect their virtual personal assistant to respond right away to their messages.
A common issue that clients and VA’s encounter is misunderstanding or misinterpretation. Tasks sent through email or said over the phone may be mistakenly understood. This results in errors and sometimes huge errors. These mistakes can cause delays and disruptions. A preventive remedy would be to make instructions clear. The service provider, on the other hand, should clarify confusing tasks with their clients.
Clients may sometimes expect too much from their assistants. This can cause frustrations at certain instances. It is important that clients and service providers talk about how they can work mutually. Clients should know the capacities and limitations of their virtual partners. Online service providers, in return, should know what their clients do and should understand the rationale behind every task.
Not every virtual PA is perfect. There are competent professionals and unreliable ones no matter which industry you look at. In addition, the drawbacks of obtaining virtual PA services (such as communication lags) are inevitable. Every option has drawbacks. Then again, there is a perfect reason why virtual assistance is a growing industry.