Business · Freelancing · offshore virtual assistant · Uncategorized · virtual assistant · Work at home job

Ace Your Virtual Assistant Interview

Ace Your Virtual Assistant Interview

The process of landing on a job as a virtual assistant, also involves some streamlining. Of course, all employers wanted to make sure that they’re hiring competent and professional people, to work on their business and tasks, and one way to do it is by conducting interviews.

These interviews can be conducted one on one or by group, wherein, aspirants are interviewed at the same time. Other employers may even submit you to an online examination, before or after the interview process.

Online interviews are now made possible by using various platforms, such as Skype, Go To Meeting and Google Hangout, to name a few. And just like any typical interviews, you may get nervous and jittery, regardless of the set up.

I mean, come on, this is kind of a make or break moment, right?

So, having said that, let me share with you proven and surefire ways, that will help you get through the interview process and hopefully nail the job you’re applying for.

Make a list of your assets and skills

Making a quick note of your skills, assets and other relevant things about you and your work as a virtual assistant, will make it easier for you to present and sell what you can bring to the table.

It can also save you the time and effort of doing the outlining mentally, while in the actual interview, as this can cause you to miss out beneficial skills, and relevant facts about the things you do and can do.

Be careful not to write long statements,though or you may end up reading a script when you answer. Just jot down relevant skills, applications or programs that you know and the services you can offer, and you’re good to go.

Be punctual

Respect your interviewer’s time by going online for the interview, 10 to 15 minutes earlier than the agreed hours.

By being punctual, you send out a message that you are a professional, and that you are serious about getting the job. You also earn yourself some time to prepare, and make sure that everything you need for the interview is working efficiently, like your headset, speaker and camera, if needed.

If for some reason, you can’t meet your interviewer on the agreed hours, due to some unavoidable circumstances, send out an early notification and request for another convenient schedule for him to conduct the interview.

Most employers don’t mind tweaking their schedules and making adjustments, but  I would recommend this to be a one time option.

Confidence is key

It always is. Even if you’re feeling nervous and jittery, maintain your confidence by focusing on your skills, that you believe makes you a perfect fit for the post you are going for.

By focusing on your competency, and experience, if you already gained some, you will feel confidently geared and focused in presenting yourself, and answering the questions that will be thrown at you.

My personal technique is to take a deep breath before the interview starts, and quickly look back on the relevant assignments and tasks I have worked on effectively in the past, in order to remind myself that I have the capability to deliver and that I am fit for this.

This process of reassurance, helps me conquer my nervousness and retains my  confidence.

Be honest

Honesty as in everything, is very important even during interviews, especially when it comes to questions about your character, skills and competency.

Interviewers and/or employers will be able to tell if you’re just saying the things you say, because you think that’s what they wanted to hear.

Make sure that you can stand by the competencies you claim you have on your CV. Better to set your clients’ expectation early on and express willingness in learning things, than mislead them and inefficiently deliver later on, when you get hired.

Be honest with your expectations as well. Being able to establish mutual trust, even at this early stage of the application process, will ensure a positive working communication and effective working relationship, when you get hired.

Be professional

Express everything in a professional manner at all times. It may also do you good, if you avoid sharing personal circumstances that you may be encountering in your personal life.

I have been in an interview wherein, I was in a tight competition with another person, who has the same skills as mine, but I ended up getting the job because the other person, according to the interviewer,  has divulged personal problems that she’s been going through, during the final interview.

Some employers may be okay with it, but it’s always good to deal with business, by drawing a line between your personal and professional life.

Light personal questions may be asked when you get hired, as a “getting – to know you better” phase between you  and your boss, but even then, I suggest it would be better to keep personal problems at bay.

Conclusion

Virtual interviews actually doesn’t have that much difference with conventional one on one interviews, that companies perform to assess aspiring employees.

And so, the interview process, regardless of how it was done, is an opportunity for employers and businesses to streamline aspirants, and choose who they think would be positively beneficial for their business.

With that end goal in mind, which is to find competent people, virtual assistants should see this as the perfect time to “sell” their skills and competency, and build a positive impression, and the qualities listed above may just help  you to successfully do that.

Share your interview practices and experiences in the Comments sections. I look forward to hearing your stories.

Business · customer service · Freelancing · offshore virtual assistant · Uncategorized · virtual assistant · Work at home job

3 Habits of a Less Effective Virtual Assistant

3 Habits of a Less Effective Virtual Assistant

We all know the habits, that leads to success towards professional growth.

Habits like hard work, patience, dedication and focus, are surefire ways to achieve growth by promotion, or earn you a raise.

But how about the habits that leads to inefficiency, and drives you to be less effective?

For virtual assistants like me who works from home, the keys to success or the road to failure, are not different from conventional employees.

In fact, I think we are more susceptible to distractions, and more prone to resistance, of getting out from our comfort zone .

Having said that, what really are the habits we need to break away from, to achieve efficiency and effectiveness on what we do.

Here is my top 3 list of those habits, and tips on how to not let them get the best of of you.

Procrastination

Admit it, there are times as a virtual assistant, that you encounter tasks, that you find brain deadening. Tasks that you find less pleasurable to do, which you may tend to avoid doing, by passing the time and pushing it for later.

These tasks, I suggest are actually the ones that you should tackle first.

The thing is, I found out that when I start my work day, doing the task I find less pleasurable, it motivates me to invest more time to focus on them, and make sure I do them as efficiently as I can.

The end result is that, I get to manage my time more effectively, after conquering them. Completing them, also gives me a sense of fulfillment afterwards.

Complacence

Your services as a virtual assistant, may have you focused on a particular niche, or specialization. But that doesn’t mean you stop there.

While it’s good that you stabilize yourself with the skills you have, you should never stop acquiring new skills and exploring ideas, on how you can become better on what you do.

That being said, having access to the internet most of the time, offers endless opportunities to learn new platforms, applications and procedures, that can open more doors of opportunities and experiences.

Just take the time to read, read, read and with the goal of upgrading yourself of the recent trends. It’s going to be worth it.

Unprofessional

Work ethics matters, regardless if you’re working remotely or in a company. And for a virtual assistant, this is one good trait to build and define, your brand of service on.

A professional service sends out a message of value, for your clients’ time and trust, and it can define a make or break working relationship.

Having said that, sending timely communication responses, efficient delivery of your work output, professional communication skills and being enthusiastic, are a few traits of showing professionalism, that can earn you long term working relationship and repeated clients.

Bottomline

The road to failure and success may seem like a choice between travelling a smooth road, or a curved road less traveled.

The road to winning may be bumpy and bloody as you go along, as it entails the need to break away, from the things that gives you comfort and joy. But what you gain, at the end of your journey, makes it worth the sacrifice.

Feel free to share your comments below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Business · Freelancing · Uncategorized · Work at home job

Want to Be a Virtual Assistant? – Here’s What You Need to Know

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Have you been hearing a lot about being a virtual assistant? About how you can work for companies at the comfort of your home, and maybe earn more than what you’re earning now?

Is it getting you curious, to the point when you’re just about ready to hang your gloves from your 9 to 5 job?

Well, I can tell you that those things you heard were true.

I have been in this business for 4 years now, and  for a mother of 4, shifting from a 9 to 5 job to being a home based virtual assistant, is one of the best decisions I’ve made, and I never looked back.

I earn more than what I used to earn, and I am now one of Upwork‘s top rated freelancers. I can say that the decision to shift has indeed worked for me.

But wait, before you throw the white blanket, and bid your company “adieu“, I would also like to assure you, that being a home-based virtual assistant, is not  a walk in the park, it’s not even close. It also has two sides.

To help you get off the fence of indecision, let me share with you a list of pros and cons of being a home based virtual assistant.

Pros

It gives you work – life balance

Since you’re working at home, you can still oversee and have a hand on your household.

If you have growing children like me, you don’t get to miss seeing them so much since you’re there, and still get to do little things for them and with them.

You get to know their needs firsthand, and not hear it from your housekeeper, or read it from the notes on the fridge, as the case when you leave home for work.

Of course, this nature of work will still require you to get extra help at some point, especially when you’re already catering to a number of clients, and since every task needs focus, it would be advisable not to do everything on your own.

No more traffic and no more OOTD (outfit of the day) worries

Since your workplace is your home, you don’t have to fight your way out of traffic, to get to work. You don’t have to worry about rushing to get your make up done, or decide what outfit to wear to the office. You can even work on your pajamas!

That sounds comfortable, right? But, it’s still good to wear something that will get the working vibe on, to avoid getting slouchy.

Putting on a collared top or a nice shirt, can also come in handy, when you suddenly have to go into a video call or meeting with your employer.

Doesn’t hurt to be caught dead wearing something presentable, besides, staying pretty will give you that extra boost of confidence and professionalism while you work.

Allows continuous growth

Your work as a virtual assistant will require your use of the internet most of the time.

This will give you exposure to all sorts of information, programs, applications and platforms. Maximize this opportunity to feed your mind.

Also, you learn something from working with employers in different parts of the world. Every task becomes a window to a new information that can win you new opportunities.

It allows flexibility

Some assignments will be on what I want to call “as needed basis”, meaning the client will only get in touch with you if and when they need your services. You can identify this type of work, on the job posting.

It’s my advice that if you have extra hours to burn, turn it into cash, by taking these types of tasks. They may not amount to much, but get to it for the learning, and for the experience.

The unlimited opportunity to earn more

Now this depends on your experience, skills and how much time you’re willing to dedicate. Some jobs are paid by the hour, some by fixed price amount. It may be hard climb at first, but it’s worth it.

So if you’re a newbie, start by building a reputation first. Get your hands on as much jobs as you can, and learn the tricks of the trade as you work.

Consider every client a credential, and you’ll need to work in creating a positive experience for each.

Once you establish a good reputation, you can now sell your services at a higher rate, just make sure to make it reasonable.

You can work anywhere

Well, not really anywhere – but anywhere as long as you have access to  good internet connection.

This is an advantage, especially during out – of – town trips, or in the event of sudden power interruption in your area. Just bring your laptop with you, and go to a place where there’s internet access, and voila!, you’re back in business.

Now that we’ve covered the advantages, let’s check out the other side of the coin.

Cons

Prone to distractions

I think that virtual assistants like me, will agree that this should go on top of the Cons list as a home based virtual assistant.

Especially if you have kids at home, or your area is susceptible to outside noises which can certainly drive you out of focus.

Tip: If the distraction seems too much, it will help for you to pause for a minute or two, to regain concentration and catch up on your ideas.

No employee benefits

Since you’re working at home, you don’t have the medical or sickness and disability coverage that a company offers their employees.

13th month pay or holiday incentives are on your employer’s discretion, but most does not have this when employing a home based virtual assistant.

Certificate of employment and records of income

Since you’re working for different clients with varying rates, these documents can be hard to secure.

Tip: Upwork can provide you a certificate of your earnings for a specified working period signed by their SVP of Operations.

What’s next?

Working at home comes with rewards and consequences, as with everything. Knowing what to expect will give you a more solid standpoint, in deciding what road is best for you to take, in your career.

It’s good to keep in mind, that wherever your decisions take you, may it be keeping your 9 to 5 job or working home based, the success of its outcome will require hard work, discipline and determination.

Feel free to post your questions and comments below.

 

Business · customer service · Uncategorized

Learn the Art of Good Customer Service

 

Learning the Art of Good Customer Service

BPO industries here in the Philippines are continuously growing. They are sprouting everywhere.

Actually, most of the ads in the job section these days, are mostly from a call center. So, if you’re thinking to start and give the call center life a try, below are some tricks to help you thrive in the call center industry, but if you’re already there, read on, it’s nice to get back to the basics.

Having experience as a call center agent,  BPO quality specialist and as a customer myself, I have come up with some bottom line “basics” on how you can provide a superb customer service experience,and achieve a smooth call flow during your shift, that may even earn you a commendation.

Let’s slice them up 🙂

Greetings

Hmm,sounds basic right? But believe it or not, it can set the mood of your entire call.

A positive and cheery mood will most of the time rub off to your caller, even when he’s over the edge mad and frustrated.

To do this, try smiling when you deliver your opening spiel or think of something that cheers you up to set your tone. A cheerful greeting gives your caller a picture and feeling of pleasantry that will seem impossible to be exchanged with profanity and frustration, and he will feel that extra confidence too. So, as with everything, what you give is what you get.

Active Listening

The ability to hear and listen are two very different things and knowing the difference makes the difference. Call center agents are so familiar with this, I bet.

Of all guidelines taught to them, this will be the first to go on top of their heads. Hearing is just letting the customer talk without really engaging yourself in the conversation, Listening is obtaining information with interest of knowing the story and putting yourself in their shoes.

The ability to master listening skills can be the key towards a smooth and quick call most of the time (big win when it comes to AHT). The key to this is focus .

Listen to the client as if it were only two of you in the room personally conversing. Doing this will help you relate to their concern and feel their frustration, by picturing your self in their situation. You will get an idea of the best approach of communication to use especially if the resolution is opposite of what the caller is expecting to hear.

Apology / Empathy

By experience, I would personally say that expressing apology once or twice is better, than repeating it each time you hear their frustrations and inconveniences, given that it was expressed sincerely.

Too much can be a little irritating. Acknowledge their frustrations, apologize, then state what you can do. That, after all, is what they’re calling for.

Resolution

This can be tricky, since it may not be the solution that the customer has in mind, but you have to stick with the processes. If this is the case, I suggest you weigh out options for alternatives. It helps to start out with “Here’s what I can do for you”.

It makes them feel you’re doing what you can to resolve their concern, and you should. If it calls for you to do a little more, like calling them back for an update, then do so. An extra mile will go a long way.

Closing

Make sure to finalize the call in a positive note. It’s like an act in a theater play. Most of the time, the audience will surely leave the theater feeling positive and satisfied if the act was finished with a happy ending.

Leave your customers with positivity, even if the resolution didn’t go as they planned. They will still have that feeling that they were listened to, cared for and valued.

Conclusion

So, there you go. Working in a call center is harder than what everybody imagines it to be.

Everyday is a new challenge, but along with it comes the opportunity to provide service, and regardless of how far your customers may be, or how long the call took, it is still up to you to make every call a positive experience for you and your caller.

A positive attitude goes a long way in everything, and it’s also a surefire way to help you thrive in the BPO industry. Customer service should always be good service – nothing less.