What were you struggling with in your business that led you to begin working with virtual assistant?
We reached the point where we had a great team during the core Monday to Friday business hours, but the quality and speed of customer responses would drop off significantly during evenings and weekends. During these days and times we were always finding ourselves understaffed. Hiring virtual assistants was the solution we were looking for.
Tell us a little about what you have delegated and how you work together?
The virtual assistants have enabled us to plug the gaps in our customer service schedule, meaning that when our in-house employees leave for the day the virtual assistants are on hand to take over the reigns.
We keep in touch via both Skype and Whatsapp, so if the virtual assistants need to clarify anything quickly they can always speak to one of us rather than relying solely on email communication.
How has working with a virtual assistant supported your business, and you personally?
On the business side it’s made a huge difference. The team are no longer chasing their tail each day, catching up on a backlog of work. Instead everything is up to date, meaning that we can take our time, provide a higher level of customer service, with the end result being happier customers.
For me personally it’s taken away a lot of the distractions during the day. An over-worked and under-staffed customer service team results in escalations during the day, incidents that are time-consuming to resolve and take you away from growing the business. With these distractions out of the way I can now spend more time focusing on strategic decisions.
What differences have you noticed in your business since you started working with a virtual assistant?
It has changed our outlook.
We have the formula to scale, it’s now a case of focusing on the levers that will drive our growth.
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs seeking virtual assistants?
If you hire virtual assistants you’re going to need three things.
To start, clear written instruction manuals are required. At first the virtual assistants won’t know your business, so it’s important that every task is clearly outlined. We always compile step-by-step instructions for each task.
Secondly, make sure that you have the time to carry out training. It’s not just the training that takes time but the monitoring following this, keeping track of the work and being on hand to answer the questions that will inevitably arise. The time required at the start is an investment, but it pays off in the long run.
Finally, the third thing you’ll need is patience. Virtual assistants won’t always do everything perfectly at the start, stay patient and work with them to clarify instructions and make improvements. We’ve always found our virtual assistants to be very receptive to training.
Want to learn more about YourParkingSpace, one of the UK's largest sharing economy startups? Visit the website here.
Looking to hire your own virtual assistant? Start here!
Charles Cridland is the Technical Director and co-founder of YourParkingSpace, which was originally founded in 2006 as a driveway rental platform, built to allow individuals to boost their income by renting out their unused driveway. Charles heads up the development and marketing side of things, overseeing the implementation of new features on the site and the latest marketing initiatives. Connect with the team on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.