Ready to Use a Virtual Assistant? 24 Questions to Ask Before Hiring

Ready to use a Virtual Assistant? Great. Once you have shortlisted your potential candidates think about the questions you are going to ask.

Now, don’t skip this step. It’s really important that you take the time to get on the phone or Skype with prospective VAs. By talking to them, you’re going to be able to tell if there’s a ‘connection’ or not. And asking these questions will give you a better idea of where they stand on different things and whether they love what they do or not.

Here are 24 questions to ask a VA before hiring them:

1. How long have you been in business?

2. What target market do you serve?

3. Where are you located? (What time zone more specifically)

4. What hours do you work?

5. Do you work after hours or on the weekends?

6. Is there an extra charge for rush projects?

7. What is considered a rush job?

8. What is the turnaround time on projects I send?

9. Do you have others on your team? (More specifically, what if you get sick or your computer crashes – do you have a backup plan so my work will still get done on time?)

10. Do you have client references? May I contact them?

11. How soon can I expect you will respond to an email/voicemail from me?

12. How do you do your invoicing? (Specific day of month?)

13. What payments do you accept?

14. Do you require me to sign a contract? If so, what does it entail? (Specifically, does that ‘bind’ you to working with them for at least 3 months before being able to end the working relationship?)

15. What is your preferred form of communication?

16. Out of everything you do for clients, what is your favourite?

17. Do you charge for time we spend emailing or on the phone?

18. What is your availability?

19. Do you invoice upfront or after projects are completed?

20. What software/computer programmes do you use?

21. Do you have a confidentiality agreement?

22. Will my work be sub-contracted to someone else?

23. What security measures do you have in place?

24. What do you charge? (How is time billed – 15 minute increments, per project, etc)

You might be thinking, wow that’s a lot to ask. But keep in mind you have every right to ask these questions and even more. It’s not only for your benefit, but the VA’s as well. Just as you’re ‘interviewing’ her (or him) to see if she will be a good fit for you and your business, she’ll also be able to get a feel for whether you would be a good fit for her. And you don’t have to ask them all if you don’t want to. Maybe after a few questions you’ll know right away if will work or not. Ask as many or as few questions as you feel you need to, to be able to get a good feel for who she is and how she does business.

Also keep in mind that you don’t have to tell the VA yes or no once you’re finished the consultation. Let her know you’ll be in touch within 24 hours (or however long you feel you need to finish the rest of your calls and to make a decision). Of course, follow your gut and if you talk to someone that you gel well with, whose personality you love, and whose skills are exactly what you’re looking for, then by all means go ahead and sign up right away. Just don’t feel pressured to sign on the dotted line immediately.


How to Get the Most From Your Voicemail to Email Service

If you have a voicemail to email service, then you already know how great it can be. Aside from giving you the ability to share your voicemail messages with colleagues for easier collaboration, it also lets you decide if a message requires instant action or if you can add it to your to-do list to take care of later. Voicemail to email service is becoming an essential feature for many VoIP users, but are you making the most of this popular feature?

There’s more to this feature than simply receiving your voicemail right to your email. Although this is a great way to stay on top of your missed calls, you could be going the extra mile and take some of the following tips into account. It can take a little creativity at first, but once you see the different ways voicemail to email can be used to save time, you’ll start thinking about more ways to make that possible.

To help you started, we’ve come up with a few tips to help you get the most from your voicemail to email service.

Collaboration

Keep your team in the loop, wherever you are. Traditionally, voicemails are stored on the device you received them on, making it more time consuming to share the message with anyone else. So, if there is information in the voicemail that you need to relay to someone else, you would have to stop what you’re doing, type up an email or pick up the phone, and summarize the pieces of information you just received. With voicemail to email, you can send the entire message right from your voicemail. Simply forward the MP3 file to your colleagues to keep them in the loop.

If your team is using a CRM to manage leads and accounts, you can have notes added from the voicemail so that your sales agents and customer service team can see these notes. This enhances future interactions with customers and prospects since everyone knows what the caller needs and how they can help.

Keep Order in Your Inbox

Having important messages, like voicemails from customers or partners, sent right to your inbox improves response rates and boosts customer satisfaction. It’s a small step that really makes a huge difference because even if there are some people who don’t pay much attention to voicemail, everyone checks their email.

To help you manage and sift through the number of emails in your inbox, try using labels, and setting up rules that move emails to specific folders for better time management. With Gmail, you can even add a tab specifically for voicemail emails so you can find them all in one place.

Another way to keep your inbox in order is with web automation apps, like Zapier. These can be a huge timesaver once you get the hang of them. For example, once the voicemail is dropped into your inbox, you can fire off notifications to specific parties, have it moved to a folder, or create tasks in your CRM for agents to see. It’s like creating rules or filters for your inbox, except you’re integrating external apps.

Web automation apps may seem intimidating at first, but they’re surprisingly easy to use once you get the hang of it.

Prevent Unnecessary Voicemails

Most voicemails can be prevented with a little forward thinking and the help of other VoIP services. When you use service flags, you can set up a voicemail greeting specific to your availability; that way, callers can know when and why you’re unavailable. A service flag is a VoIP capability that overrides your auto attendant and time conditions to let people know specific and timely details about your business.

For example, if you’re going out of town for the week, you can set up a service flag on the dates you’ll be unavailable to inform callers when you’ll be leaving and returning, and how they can reach, if at all, in the event that they need to get in touch with you. This also works well during holidays when hours of operation are irregular.

Use Voicemail to Email with VoIP Providers

There are apps you can purchase just for voicemail but user reviews show that they do not function as well as a voicemail to email service from an established VoIP provider. In addition, choosing a service provider over a stand-alone app will enable you to receive support and access multiple features that will create a communications strategy that is built for growth.