What Virtual Assistants Do

What Virtual Assistants Do: Sales, Customer Service and More

Ari Santiago
Ari Santiago
Published: Dec 15, 2021
Last updated: Nov 13, 2022
virtual assistant

The past couple of years have seen a boom in the virtual assistant (VA) business. Do a quick online search and you’ll find hundreds of assistants for hire, as well as dozens of platforms to connect you with them. There’s also been a significant uptick in the number of businesses contracting with VAs, and how many they work with.

But why the rise in interest?

There are a few contributing factors. One is that with the widespread adoption of remote work, businesses are better prepared to delegate to remote assistants. Improvements in virtual hiring platforms have helped too.

But the main reason is simply this: they’re often the most efficient for getting a job done. Below are some of the main benefits VAs can bring to a business.

Not Just Admin: VAs For Sales and More

It used to be that VAs generally did administrative work like organizing paperwork and calendars⁠—and many people still think that’s all they do.

These days, however, it’s quite easy to find remote workers to assist in more specialized facets of a business. Below are some roles VAs are most often contracted to fulfill.

Virtual Sales Assistants

A remote sales assistant can support your regular sales team by researching prospects, arranging meetings, and compiling notes. This lets your sales team focus on cultivating customer relationships and targeting higher-value deals.

Virtual sales assistants can also handle cold calls, emails (for cold or warm leads), and cross-selling or upselling. It’s not uncommon for businesses to have entire teams of remote sales assistants, especially during busy seasons.

Virtual Customer Service Representatives

Virtual customer service representatives (CSRs) can filter incoming messages, resolving simple concerns on their own while forwarding more complex issues to in-house support specialists. This way, you can make your business more responsive without cutting into your own time.

Virtual CSRs can be especially useful for responding to queries sent outside your regular business hours. Since VAs’ hours are flexible, many enterprises contract them to manage after-hours messages or to supplement their teams during especially busy periods.

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Virtual Bookkeeping Assistants

A virtual bookkeeping assistant can help with organizing and overseeing your finance/accounting tasks to keep your books of accounts up to date and accurate. This way, you can keep track of your company’s cash flow and adjust your business plans accordingly.

Bookkeeping assistants will be in charge of data entry and other basic bookkeeping tasks. They can also send and follow up invoices, prepare basic financial reports, process payments and refunds, and balance sheets. With their help, your accountant can do their work more efficiently.

Scale Up with Flexible Remote Workers

One of the major advantages of working with virtual assistants is the speed and flexibility with which you can bring them on board. With no overhead costs or long-term contracts, you can enlist their services as the need arises.

Many businesses use this to their advantage to meet seasonal demand. Virtual sales assistants, CSRs, or marketers can be brought on for long hours during holidays or other sales seasons, and their hours reduced when it’s back to business as usual.

You can also scale for major projects. Creating or redesigning a website? Virtual assistants can help in the administrative side of web development full-time for a few months, then stay on for a few hours of weekly maintenance afterward. The same can be done for business development, recruitment, accounting, and so on.

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Experiment and Implement⁠

With all the varied skills virtual assistants bring to the table, it’s possible to assemble entire teams of remote on-demand workers. This opens up possibilities for testing new initiatives with lower costs, fewer long-term risks, and shorter time to market.

Some of the more obvious uses for this include getting into eCommerce (or other digital pivots, as it were), but there are many other uses too. Launch new products. Gather experts to research in fields your current staff aren’t familiar with. Develop training programs. All of these and more can be undertaken quickly⁠—and effectively⁠—by dedicated virtual assistants.

Introducing a New Way to Recruit

In other words, what virtual assistants do presents a new way to recruit. Not entirely new, of course, as remote on-demand arrangements have been around for a while. But with all the developments in hiring platforms, service models, and so on, there’s bound to be a method or two that your company hasn’t explored yet.

Business leaders around the world foresee that these new forms of virtual hiring will play a pivotal part in keeping companies competitive. The question is simply how best to put them to use.

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