There are millions of administrative assistants and secretaries worldwide. Businesses and business leaders rely heavily on them to make sure meetings are scheduled and planned, executive schedules are managed, and administrative work is completed. The latest statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics pegs the number at a little more than 3.9 million. Yet, despite a tight labor market where many occupations see upwards of double-digit growth over the next decade, the number of executive assistants and secretaries (viz., personal assistants) is expected to fall at least five percent during the same timeframe.
So, what’s the cause? Is the business need for personal assistants diminishing? That wouldn’t seem to be the case. Business leaders are inundated with meeting requests, paper work, and other administrative work. And we’re not only talking about large businesses. Small businesses and even solopreneurs are turning to personal assistants for help. However, these aren’t full-time or even part-time personal assistants who work in a fixed office. Rather, these are virtual personal assistants like Davinci Live Receptionists who work remotely and on-demand, handling specified functions and tasks.
Following is a quick look at some of the benefits businesses can realize by using virtual personal assistants:
1. Lower Cost
Many businesses and solopreneurs can benefit from a personal assistant. But hiring a full-time or even a part-time personal assistant is expensive and often more than what they can afford. Virtual personal assistants are available on-demand and provide businesses with the flexibility to only use them when they need them. This is an immensely more cost-effective solution than a permanent headcount that can run a business around $35,000 annually according to the U.S. Department of Labor. In comparison, depending on the amount of work needed, a virtual personal assistant can run as little as a few thousand dollars a year.
2. Improved Productivity
Business leaders can often get distracted with administrative tasks and inbound and outbound communications. This can take away from valuable time spent with customers, partnerships, business development, and other strategic activities. Virtual personal assistants can assume these responsibilities, fielding incoming calls from customers and vendors and making outbound calls for everything from scheduling meetings to business development. When it comes to email, they can do the same—incoming and outgoing. Some business even leverage virtual personal assistants to manage live website chat and texting (think Davinci Live Web Chat).
3. Better Organized
Administrative tasks can add up quickly, even for the smallest of businesses. Scheduling deliveries, planning and booking travel, managing a calendar, and other activities can consume a lot of time. Virtual personal assistants can help with these, and the digital era makes it even easier to hand them over.
4. Enhanced Communications
Keeping up with phone and email communications can be overwhelming but more importantly detrimental to your business. Research shows that most customers will not call back again when they fail to reach a real human. They elect to use phone because their inquiry or problem requires intervention from a real person. Virtual personal assistants ensure that your customers aren’t put through to voice mail or when that does occur they get a timely response.
But communications are more than just phone. Email remains the top engagement channel, with live web chat and text playing important roles. Email necessitates timely responses (customers expect to hear back in minutes or a few hours at the very most), while live web chat and text require live humans. Small businesses simply don’t have the time and resources to staff each of these channels. But with the help of virtual personal assistants, they can do so while making themselves look and act like a larger business.
5. Increased Business Scale
Scale is often a challenge for many businesses. Retailers have an influx in business during the holiday season. Accountants experience the same during tax season. Hospitality businesses are linked to business travel and vacation seasons. In other instances, a targeted marketing program or an influx in new business can push a small business to the brink. Hiring seasonal staff or permanent staff—not to mention training them—takes up valuable time. It also incurs financial obligations such as benefits and unemployment that many small businesses simply cannot assume. Virtual personal assistants are a great alternative or supplement when temporary scale is needed, providing small businesses with the flexibility to handle changing business requirements.
Virtual personal assistants are a great resource for small businesses and solopreneurs. Get started today by checking Davinci’s Live Receptionists.