Hiring a virtual assistant offers huge benefits for your business. Aside from freeing you from the hassle of doing administrative tasks, it also saves you from the costs associated with having a full-time employee, such as wages, benefits, utilities, rentals, and others. These tasks can take you away from what you and your team should be doing – your core tasks.
When hiring virtual assistants, it isn’t enough to just hire the first VA you see. There are certain skills that you need to consider before delegating some tasks to them. So, if you are planning to hire a virtual assistant, here are 10 skills you need to look for.
Skills Of A Virtual Assistant
- Excellent Oral & Written Communication
- Computer Proficiency
- Quick Thinking & Effective Decision Making
- Time Management
- Honesty and Trustworthiness
- Organizational Skills
- Love For Learning
- Detail Oriented
- Ability to Meet Deadlines
Skills Of A Virtual Assistant
When looking for a virtual assistant, you want to make sure that they really possess the skills to successfully finish the tasks you delegate to them. Here are 10 skills you should be looking for in a virtual assistant.
1. Excellent Oral & Written Communication
In most instances, the virtual assistant will talk to clients on your behalf. They will do it face-to-face either in the office or via chat services like Skype, Messenger, Viber, and others. For this reason, they need to have good oral communication skills. Some tasks will require the VA to send and answer emails, write content, or create social media posts. For these functions, they will need to have effective written communication.
To be an effective communicator, you also need to have the ability to listen attentively. This is especially true regarding instructions and directions that are given by clients that need strict compliance. Effective listening skills can help improve your selling ability, conflict resolution, and customer satisfaction.
Effective written and oral communication are musts for VAs. They must create reports and presentations or attend meetings with clients and vendors. They might also be providing the client with regular updates. In addition, your ability to communicate effectively will help diffuse a difficult situation using calm and soothing words. It will come in handy when giving feedback on the particular task at hand.
2. Computer Proficiency
In today’s digital age, virtual assistants with computer knowledge will have the competitive edge over VAs who are non-computer proficient. Virtual assistants need to stay abreast with tools that can help improve productivity and efficiency such as Asana, Hubstaff, Tello, Xero, to name just a few. They need to keep tabs on new tools that are being released or upgraded.
Knowing how to type is a computer skill that every virtual assistant should know. Most clients expect fast results when they put in a request and fast typing skills will help VAs effectively accomplish tasks assigned to them. Most companies will require VAs with a typing speed of at least 60 words per minute.
Also, with cloud technology, VAs must know how to transfer data or information reliably and securely. They should know how to share files in real-time using cloud file-sharing platforms like Google Drive, Google Docs, and Dropbox. Word processing is another important computer skill VAs should possess. They will be entering data and structuring pieces of text using word processors so it pays to have knowledge of word processing tools.
3. Quick Thinking & Effective Decision Making
Virtual assistants need to be able to be decisive and think quickly in different situations. If the client is working in a different time zone, it means that the employer might not be immediately available to answer questions. They need to be experienced and confident in searching for possible solutions on their own instead of waiting for the client to respond.
VAs should know how to prioritize tasks when they encounter problems. Good virtual assistants need to take the quick initiative as this would mean that high-priority tasks might not be completed during expected emergencies or downtime. VAs need to think on their feet so good decision-making skills are vital.
Clients will not always be around to answer questions or concerns, so it is up to the VA to make the right judgment and be decisive. They will think outside the box to find a suitable solution. If a problem arises, VAs must think fast and process information as quickly as possible. Effective decision-making means using their intuition to determine the kind of assistance that will be effective when a problem develops.
4. Time Management
If you are handling just one or two clients as a virtual assistant, time may not be of the essence. However, as your portfolio and your clients grow, you will not have anticipated how busy you can become. Time management may become an issue when you have a lot of things to do. This is where virtual assistants can be really helpful. Virtual assistants are well-organized and can prioritize their workloads to meet deadlines.
VAs know how to manage their time wisely because it is common for them to handle multiple clients with different schedules. They use online calendars and prioritize their tasks in a certain way so they don’t miss out on important details. They set their meetings at certain times of the day when they are less pressured to perform certain tasks.
When work piles up, time management skills will let you take on new tasks. It will allow you to organize your busy schedule. Here are some time management strategies you can consider:
- Prioritize tasks and schedule them accordingly
- Work in a conducive environment
- Allot time for each task
- Stick to the schedule
- Take regular breaks
- Maintain a work journal
5. Honesty and Trustworthiness
VAs should show up, perform their tasks promptly, and help you grow your company. You can expect them to be honest with their progress reports and how it can help you achieve your goals. Reliability is one of the important traits of VAs. You can allocate tasks to them and they will surely do it diligently.
As a virtual assistant, honesty is very important, especially in a virtual relationship. Unfortunately, some businesses don’t take honesty into consideration. VAs build their work around business ethics and honest behavior and values. They don’t want to ruin their reputation by doing something unethical.
VAs always want to do the right thing all the time. They always want to speak the truth because this way they will be able to earn the trust of their customers. Knowing that they can rely on you is your ticket to getting more customers because they know that you can get the job done.
6. Organizational Skills
Virtual assistants are known for having great organizational skills. They know how to prioritize tasks and work on the urgent ones first. Being organized keeps client information easily accessible, helping you keep up with your schedule. Virtual assistants are good at email management, password, client information, birthday lists, holiday timelines, appointments, reminders, and others. Their organizational skills will help keep your systems in place.
Virtual assistants can help you create structures and set priorities while enhancing productivity and devoting their resources and attention to tasks that can be finished immediately. Virtual assistants can help significantly reduce tax avoidance, clutter, misunderstanding, inefficiency, and unproductivity.
VAs are usually assigned to manage social media accounts. They have systems in place to monitor any important changes. Virtual assistants can back up your files. Their organizational skills allow VAs to finish their tasks efficiently and excellently. Having excellent organizational skills will help VAs seamlessly execute their tasks. They can organize the entire process and the documents they need for work.
7. Love For Learning
Just because they are already skilled in something does not mean they will end there. To become successful, VAs must be willing to learn a new skill. By doing so, the virtual assistant will have the opportunity to take on additional tasks. There are so many things that a virtual assistant can do, and being a VA is a never-ending learning process.
Part of the learning curve of virtual assistants is developing the ability to accept criticisms and suggestions. VAs need to be open-minded when their clients criticize their work. It is through feedback that the virtual assistant will learn. Hence, they should not take it in bad faith or bad blood but consider it as a stepping stone to improve and increase their productivity.
It is through their willingness to learn that a virtual assistant will be able to achieve career growth. First, they should learn to love their job because if they don’t, virtual assistants will never succeed at any task. If there is an opportunity to learn and grow, grab it. It will help take your career to greater heights.
Virtual assistants care about their integrity and so won’t do anything that will destroy it. VAs are well aware that integrity will allow them to retain the trust of their employer. On the other hand, if they lie about one thing, their reputation will crumble faster than they know it. But delivering what is expected of them will likely yield a referral to other clients.
VAs diligently do their work even if their clients are not looking and are in another time zone. They will only bill you for the time they worked, not on browsing social media or other personal endeavors. Virtual assistants have their own standards of integrity and will do their best to ensure they do not break that rule.
Integrity goes with professionalism and reliability. VAs are dependable and ensure the quality of their output. They will not look forward to their forthcoming paychecks but find value and fulfillment in accomplishing tasks and contributing to the success of their project.
9. Detail Oriented
Sometimes there are minor mistakes or details that we fail to recognize. In research or accounting-related tasks, this could spell the difference between income loss or gain. In customer care-related tasks, not fully understanding the complaint of a customer could translate to lost business for you.
Virtual assistants are detail-oriented, easily spotting any mistakes before they get seen. They can see the intricacies of the task at hand. VAs may also be handling multiple tasks at a time, so they know the importance of the details for each project they will handle. Virtual assistants have the uncanny ability to remember things and keep them in their memory banks.
Because of their attention to detail, virtual assistants will go the extra mile and fix simple grammar errors or misspelled words. They tend to ask questions to fill up missing information or data. By asking questions, they will also be able to obtain helpful information that can be used in the future.
10. Ability to Meet Deadlines
Virtual assistants know that their clients expect tasks or projects to be completed within the set deadline. The ability to meet deadlines is one of the most important skills of VAs. They understand that not being able to submit a task within the date needed could become a source of frustration and disappointment for their clients.
Aside from that, meeting deadlines speaks volumes about the values and personality of the virtual assistant. It gives clients confidence and peace of mind that the task they delegate will be done at the deadline. This shows a lot about the reliability and efficiency of the virtual assistant. For the VA, it could translate to good reviews and a long relationship with the client.
Virtual assistants use their time management skills in prioritizing tasks. They jot down deadlines and set alerts for projects they are working on. They focus on the task at hand and follow their schedule to the letter to reduce anxiety and make them more productive. They start their day with a clear idea of what needs to get done for a particular day.
When hiring a virtual assistant, you want to delegate tasks to the most qualified candidate. Look for one that has these skills to ensure that they will be effective in what you will assign to them.
Why Outsource with airisX?
Outsourcing allows you, as a business, to focus on your main competencies and operations and forget the hassle of sharp learning curves when the task falls outside your company’s core area of business.
By outsourcing to a leader like airisX, you will be able to scale up quickly by getting the right resources, processes and technological infrastructure. No matter what your scaling requirements are, airisX will give you the best optimized solution and you will be able to focus on making your customers happy. Your back office operations will be simplified, giving your users a high-quality experience.