More and more companies who deal with limited internal manpower and administrative support resources are turning to virtual assistants for help. And, for good reason—employing virtual assistants can be seen as a cost-efficient and flexible business solution for many companies.

Back in 2006, the virtual assistance industry started to gain more popularity due to the global economic recession that forced companies to implement cost-cutting measures while re-aligning their business development strategies. Since then, demand for virtual assistant services has risen.

However, despite the industry’s increasing popularity and relevance, many are still quite confused or uninformed about what virtual assistants really do. As such, in this blog, we’ll discuss in more detail what a virtual assistant is and, more importantly, the qualities you should look for when looking for one—something businesses should know to ensure they pick the right talent.

What is a Virtual Assistant?

Virtual assistants are basically employees who provide support services to clients remotely (through online, digital platforms or services) from their home or in the office. Their job specifications and areas of focus can vary depending on the client’s needs but can range from administrative and creative to marketing and digital communications.

While that might give you the impression that virtual assistants wouldn’t be as productive due to having different tasks, that’s not necessarily the case, depending on the employee or work set-up, that is. In fact, research has revealed that virtual assistants consider themselves productive or at least adequately meet their job’s demands, particularly when working from home.

Virtual assistants basically handle non-core functions and non-essential tasks to give managers and business owners more time to focus on core activities that center on business growth and development. That said, there are certain qualities that a virtual assistant should have so he or she can help the client company avoid non-essential business headaches.

Initiative and Foresight

Virtual assistants who show initiative and foresight are always a great addition to the team. Virtual assistants who possess this trait think one step ahead and find ways to get things done. They look for answers to tasks that may confuse them and are not afraid to ask help if they require additional information to ensure they do their job well. When a virtual assistant has initiative and foresight, he or she will approach every task with a well-thought-out plan and will not unnecessarily wait to do their job.

A Great Personality

Along with initiative and fundamental virtual assistant skills, clients need to consider looking at the behaviour of a candidate. When interviewing candidates, they must have a keen eye for noticing any red flags that they might possess attitude-wise. The specific red flags may vary, but they usually include things such as unwillingness to learn new things and hesitation to collaborate. It is very important for clients to hire someone whose personality fits the team’s dynamics and values to help avoid negatively affecting working relationships within the company.

And, since employees are also seen as a reflection of the business, it’s crucial to have virtual assistants who display positive personality traits—especially those who may directly communicate with clients—as this can affect the business’ reputation in a good way.

A Contributor of Ideas

Another great quality that a virtual assistant must have is the readiness to contribute ideas that might help the business. After all, ideas and creativity impact the journey of any business, and employees who constantly think of ways to improve their jobs can have a positive effect on the company as a whole. From seemingly minor things such as adding relevant visuals to an otherwise boring presentation to spotting possible gaps in the business’ marketing strategy, these ideas can help a business achieve more growth.

Virtual assistants, as we’ve mentioned, focus primarily on non-essential tasks. However, if they come up with (and are willing to share) ideas that can benefit the business, that shows that they are active, dynamic thinkers who not only think of their job but also the well-being of the company as a whole.

Willingness to Listen and Learn

An important quality that is sometimes overlooked is the ability and willingness to listen and learn. A virtual assistant who knows how to communicate properly with their client and listen is definitely an asset. Having good listening skills minimises the possibility of committing errors in doing specific tasks. In terms of feedback from the team and colleagues, listening means you value their insights and what they have to say. This shows that you’re also willing to learn and grow in your role—a valuable trait regardless of position.

A virtual assistant who listens makes sure to take necessary measures to learn, such as listing down and clarifying certain instructions that weren’t clear to avoid any mistakes. They are also eager to grow and adapt to the changing demands of their work environment.

Get the Right Talent

Virtual assistants who possess these qualities are certainly valuable and sought-after, and we at Forward BPO have such kind of talent. We are an outsourcing company based in the Philippines which offer various business services and solutions. As a BPO company, we provide different services such as live chat, after hours call answering, virtual assistant, multi-channel customer care, back office support, and digital marketing—all of which are designed with your business’ needs and success in mind.

If you need more information on how we can help you move forward, contact us today.