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Using Virtual Assistants to Grow Your Business

TORONTO-Ecommerce Bytes had a good run down on using a virtual assistant to build your business. The article echoes some truths about virtual assistants that I’ve been pounding for a long time.

A virtual assistant is a person who works remotely to help you with various administrative tasks. A virtual assistant typically works from a virtual office, which means you don’t have to accommodate them with bricks-and-mortar office space. And with virtual office technologies they are never more than a click away for a Skype call or a web conference.

Virtual assistants can handle tasks from answering phones to setting appointments to creating calendars and more. Some virtual assistants even specialize in social media, web development or public relations. Indeed, there’s a virtual assistant for just about everything under the sun these days.

Virtual assistants market themselves online, and it can be difficult to tell if the virtual assistant is truly reputable or will only embarrass you with clients. I worked one of virtual assistants that almost caused me to lose a client because her behavior was so inappropriate. But I’ve also worked with a number of virtual assistants that have added real value to my company.

When you work with a virtual assistant company, you may pay a small percentage more than you would if you hired an independent agent, but long-term it’s often better for your business because you don’t if the independent virtual assistant gets sick your work doesn’t get done. When you use a virtual assistant company, the firm has back ups in place to help you keep the ball rolling.

Barbara Weltman, the author of the article I read titled, “Using a Virtual Assistant to Build Your Business” suggested managing the work arrangement with your virtual assistant in three steps: (1) What works needs to be done? (2) By what time? (3) Will there be regular phone chats to review upcoming work or discuss problems?

By working with a reputable virtual assistant provider like Davinci Virtual Office Solutions, you can ge these questions squared away quickly and get on with building your business.
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Land a Virtual Office Job With Social Media, Mobile Technologies

TORONTO—Are you hoping to land a virtual office job in the New Year? Looking for more flexibility and better work-life balance?

According to a survey from TheLadders, there are several things a virtual office job seeker can do now to maximize their opportunities to land a virtual office job in the New Year. The Ladders surveyed more than 5 million members about their job search efforts. Virtual office job seekers can glean plenty of valuable information from the results of the survey.

For job-search success, preparation is paramount, and the way that potential employers perceive job candidates online can make or break one’s chances at landing an interview and, ultimately, a virtual office job. TheLadders offers five tips to prepare for your virtual office job hunt. We discussed the first two—mobilize your professional resume and overhaul your online brand—yesterday. Now, we’ll take a look at three more tips for virtual office job seekers.

1. Get Back to Basics with Social Media. It’s comforting that more than 80 percent of respondents feel “comfortable” or “somewhat comfortable” using social media in their job search. You don’t need to be an expert on every social media channel, but you must have a basic understanding of the big four—Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Pinterest—as you set out to find a virtual office job. Use these sites to strengthen your personal brand online, research target employers or industries, and uncover job opportunities.

2. Look the Part. While 65 percent of respondents in TheLadders survey assert that their online profile photos send the right message to potential employers, 12 percent admit that they do not, and 23 percent confess to not even having an online profile. If you are serious about finding a virtual office job, invest in your image both online and offline with a stylish yet budget-conscious haircut, updated clothes, and a professional headshot for your online profiles.

3. Get a Smarter Phone. Owning a smart phone can have a positive impact on the virtual office job search, according to 75 percent of respondents in TheLadders survey. Use a smart phone and the latest apps to actively search for jobs, even while on-the-go. Store a copy of your resume on your mobile device or tablet so that you can respond to recruiter requests immediately. Significantly, the signaling effect to employers is that you are comfortable with new technology.
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How Virtual Office Job Seekers Can Compete in a 21st Century Marketplace

NEW YORK—Whether you are looking for a New York virtual office job or a traditional job in California, December can be a challenging month to do it. There are employers’ hectic holiday schedules and endless end-of-year preparations to consider. It can be tough to land a virtual office job interview.

That said, there are several things a virtual office job seeker can do now to maximize their opportunities to land a job in the New Year. TheLadders surveyed more than 5 million members about their job search efforts. Virtual office job seekers can glean plenty of valuable information from the results of the survey.

“Today’s hiring landscape is much different than it was even five years ago,” says Amanda Augustine, job search expert for TheLadders. “With the proliferation of mobile technology and social networking, recruiters are using more channels to recruit talent, which means that job seekers must be discoverable, current, and professional across multiple platforms.”

TheLadders offers five tips to prepare for your virtual office job hunt. Here are two of them:

1. Mobilize Your Professional Resume. According to TheLadders, you are 40 percent more likely to land the job you want with a professionally written resume. That’s true for traditional or virtual office jobs.

TheLadders survey discovered that while 29 percent of respondents have received feedback on their resumes from a professional writer within the last six months, 35 percent have never received professional feedback. Consider hiring a professional who can turn your laundry list of experiences into a narrative that supports your goals and outsmarts the technology gatekeepers as you seek your virtual office job.

2. Overhaul Your Online Brand. According to TheLadders survey, more than 35 percent of respondents Google themselves only on an annual basis, and 16 percent have never Googled themselves. To monitor your online brand, Google your name regularly. Remove inactive profiles or update them to reflect your current personal brand and resume. Increase the security settings on sites reserved for personal use so recruiters cannot find them.

In tomorrow’s post, we’ll discuss more strategies virtual office job seekers can employ to help them land a job in the New Year, including mobile and social tactics.
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Will Santa Visit Your Virtual Office This Year?

TORONTO—Will your boss be more of a Santa or a Scrooge this holiday season? And does it make a difference if you work from a virtual office?

According to BMO’s Commercial Banking Holiday Survey, 53 percent of working Canadians say their employer will be hosting a holiday party. Regionally, employers in Quebec are most likely to host a celebration for their employees (60 percent), with those in Atlantic Canada the least likely (45 percent). No mention was made in the study about virtual office workers or how they might be included.

"In a challenging business environment, it is encouraging to see that many employers are continuing to recognize the contribution of their employees and celebrate the successes of the year," says Steve Murphy, senior vice president of BMO Commercial Banking. "This survey, in many ways also reaffirms what we are seeing from employers across the country—that they are investing in their people and their businesses, but in a measured and very deliberate way as they adapt to the new dynamics of the business environment."

Alright, so where does that leave virtual office workers? Will they be invited into the office to take part in the festivities? What if the virtual office workers are in other cities? Does that mean they are left out of the holiday fun? Can virtual office workers celebrate virtually? Or does that just create office envy?

The way I see it, virtual office workers may feel somewhat isolated when they know the office-based staff is having a holiday party while they are still hacking away at their keyboards. I think managers should find ways to make virtual office workers feel included. Maybe that means giving them a longer lunch hour and a gift certificate to a local restaurant. Or maybe that just means holding a webcast that lets the virtual office worker greet their office-based counterparts.

On the other hand, virtual office workers are used to working alone and may prefer to continue driving productivity during business hours and spend extra time with their family when they finish the day’s tasks ahead of schedule. Not all virtual office workers are created equal. So know your employees and ask them if they’d like to be included—virtually—in the company office party or just take a couple hours off to celebrate with family.
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Virtual Assistants Can Help Improve Your Customer Service

TORONTO—Could poor customer service be hurting your business? A virtual assistant can help you remedy your customer service issues in a hurry.

According to consumer firm [24]7, more than one-third of consumers have switched suppliers as a result of bad service and three in 10 have not signed up to a service because of the bad customer service they received initially. Virtual assistants can help ensure better customer service.

What’s more, the survey showed that 51 percent of respondents felt frustrated when companies do not know who they are or what their issue is, despite having interacted with that company via another channel previously. Once again, a virtual assistant can help you turn that around.

“Consumers are now saying ‘enough is enough’ and are willing to change providers if a service doesn’t meet their expectations,” says Mike Hughes, European managing director for [24]7. “Bad service is costing firms customers and cash, and organizations need to better understand what constitutes good customer service.”

Here’s some more data from the survey: 35 percent of respondents said that they frequently feel dissatisfied with the customer service they received, showing that many brands have work to do in delivering a better customer experience. This figure rose to more than four in 10 amongst people aged 65 or over and dropped to one in five amongst 18- to 24-year olds, showing that elderly people are less tolerant of poor customer service.

“The world has changed for customers and they demand that companies know who they are, what they want, and how they want to be served. Customer service and the multi-channel experience are essential. Brands risk alienating their customers to the point that they take their business elsewhere,” says Hughes.

“Consumers use their mobile, online, social media, and web chat when interacting with customer service teams and they expect smart, integrated service across all channels. They don’t want to constantly repeat their issues and expect prompt resolution.”

How can a virtual assistant help? Davinci Virtual Assistant services are the solution to your customer service challenges. From administrative support and managerial tasks to creative services and personal scheduling; virtual office assistance is versatile, professional, and reliable. Davinci’s virtual assistants are skilled at providing meeting support, travel planning, communications assistance, project managing and a variety of other tasks.
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