Virtual Assistants

Virtual Assistants – Hiring Local or Overseas?

“Price is what you pay. Value is what you get.” – Warren Buffet

When making the decision to outsource some of your business tasks, the option of hiring an overseas virtual assistant, (VA), versus hiring local can be a challenging decision and may not be a one-size fits all solution for every business.

As an Australian virtual assistance service, we know Aussie business, culture, language and needs. We can match the tone of the customer, and your business, both when speaking to customers and all written communication. We know when slang is appropriate, and when it is not, and maintain high levels of professionalism in all our interactions.

When hiring anyone, either in-house or outsourced, it is extremely important to be comfortable with their level or written and spoken communication. We all know how it feels to be placed through to an overseas call centre, or getting the feeling that your requests have been palmed off to someone overseas. Is that the same experience you want for your customers?

It is also important to remember the reason you are hiring a VA, to get time back. If you find you are having to micro manage your VA, it defeats the purpose you hired them for in the first place. A local VA will become part of your team, and as they spend more time in your business will quickly become adept at finding solutions as your business grows and changes based on what others are doing within your local industry.

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A local VA will also have local knowledge. If you need them to organise a gift, book a local venue or organise an event, they will likely have contacts within their own network to find the best solution and often a better price. An overseas VA will more likely have to rely on generic Google searches and hope for the best.

Also it is worth considering time differences, local internet speeds and basic business acumen differences. A local VA can match your business hours, and be available at short notice when something urgent pops up, or you need to speak with them at short notice. It is also worth considering simple things such as spelling differences, (British versus American English), imperial versus metric, date formatting, etc. These differences can mean that you spend more time proofreading, checking their work and often putting out fires.

As Australians we are often frustrated at our internet speeds in comparison to the rest of the world. Our frustrations however are from us comparing ourselves to other first world countries. When you compare our speeds to areas in Southeast Asia, (where most overseas VAs are based), you might feel better about our situation;

Country Average Speed -Megabits Per Second (Mbps)*
United States 14.2
Canada 13.1
United Kingdom 13
New Zealand 9.3
Australia 8.2
Malaysia 5.2
Indonesia 3.9
Philippines 3.2

*Speeds have been taken from Q1 2017 State of the Internet / Connectivity Report

Keep this in mind when hiring someone by the hour. Even if they are quick, their internet connection and technology may slow them down, adding to your billable hours.

When it comes down to it, finding rockstar VA will help you get more done, give you back time and help you make more money. When considering the value a VA can add you your business, don’t let price cheat you out of value.

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