The Beginner’s Guide To Hiring A Customer Service Virtual Assistant

Today I’m going to show you how to enhance your productivity and free up your time with a virtual assistant for customer service.

I remember when I first started to scale my business. I would do everything myself from writing articles to maintaining my website trying to hustle hard and get more things done. 

And If I took a day off, my blog traffic would drop. It was frustrating and nerve-wracking.

It was then that I began to realize how critical it is to outsource and delegate if you want to grow your business and get more things done, without having a meltdown.

In this straight to the point guide, I’ll walk you through everything you need to know to start delegating.

Let’s dive in.

DISCLOSURE

Some of the links on here are affiliate links and I may earn if you click on them, AT NO EXTRA cost to you. Hope you find the information here useful! Thanks.

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What Is A Virtual Assistant For Customer Service?

customer support with the help of a virtual assistant

What is a virtual assistant for customer service, exactly?

A virtual assistant is someone who works remotely and helps businesses and professionals with various tasks including admin, web design and guess what.. customer service!.

The best part about virtual assistants is that after the initial training they need minimal guidance and you can outsource as many tasks as you want.

What Is The Difference Between Customer Service And Virtual Customer Service?

It is safe to say that Virtual Customer Service is essentially customer service provided by an agent or a third party agency that works remotely

So, customer support with the help of a virtual assistant falls into the umbrella of Virtual customer service.

Do I Need A Virtual Assistant For Customer Service

customer support with the help of a virtual assistant

If you find yourself dealing with your clients or prospects every day, chances are you (and your employees) feel overworked and have the feeling that you should change something.

Maybe you genuinely want to help your customers and you go out of your way to make sure they all feel happy to invest their hard-earned money in your product and service. 

Maybe you think that it’s the most practical thing to do.

The truth is in the long run that is simply not sustainable and it’s preventing you from growing into the next level. 

According to the CEO of Mindvalley, a personal development company based in Kuala Lumpur, you should focus only on the most impactful tasks and outsource everything else.

By hiring a customer service virtual assistant, you are doing both you, your clients (and your employees) a favour. 

While a dedicated experienced professional will look after your clients, you will have the freedom to redirect your energies towards the tasks that matter the most

Now that I have made a case for why you need a virtual assistant for customer service, let’s take a look at the steps you need to follow to find the best fit for your business.

4 Steps To Hiring A Customer Service Virtual Assistant 

  • Step 1. Figure Out What You Want
  • Step 2. Decide Where You Want To Find Your Virtual Assistant
  • Step 3. Qualify Your Candidates
  • Step 4. Create An Onboarding Process

Step 1. Figure Out What You Want

virtual assistant for customer service

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1. Which Tasks Do You Want To Outsource?

The best part about hiring a virtual assistant is that you have a lot of flexibility regarding the tasks you want to outsource.

Below you can find a few general customer service services you can assign to a VA:

  • Replying to live chat sales and support inquiries
  • Resolving tickets 
  • Replying and following up on social media

To make it even more practical let’s say you run an eCommerce shop. Here is a list of tasks your VA could do:

  • Handling inquiries regarding a product/service
  • Managing client transactions, profiles and accounts
  • Shopping cart management 
  • Maintaining the CRM database
  • Processing orders
  • Generating invoices
  • Refunds

If you want to read the complete list of virtual assistant services you can check out this article.

2. What Type Of Virtual Assistant Are You Looking For?

General VAs usually do basic tasks, while specialized VAs have specific skill sets. 

If you hire a general VA you will probably save some money, but you will need to devote more time to training.

3. Should A Virtual Assistant Have Experience Working At A Call Center?

Well, yes and no. 

Again, if you have the time and resources to train your VA then you may be better off hiring a less experienced VA, as long as they are willing to roll up their sleeves and face a steep learning curve.

4. Do You Want To Hire A Freelancer Or An Employee?

Hiring a freelancer is relatively cheaper than paying someone full-time.

 Most freelancers are paid by the hour, although some offer packages and others ask for a retainer.

In addition, hiring a freelancer gives you much more flexibility. 

That said, hiring a full-time employee has its advantages, as you can rely on someone who is probably more committed to the success of your business (although that is not always the case).

Weigh in on your options and make up your mind before you move to step 2.

Step 2. Decide Where You Want To Find Your Virtual Assistant

virtual assistant for customer service

You have four options:

  • Job Boards and Freelance Marketplaces
  • Social Media: Facebook Groups, Linkedin and Instagram
  • Virtual assistant companies
  • Referrals

Let’s deep dive into each of them.

1. Job Boards And Freelance Marketplaces

The fast and easy way to find a great VA for your business is to head over to freelance marketplaces.

Not only are they free, but they also have a pool of trained and experienced VAs with tons of reviews. 

However, if you want to post a job ad you must be willing to spend some money.

  • Upwork – hourly rates start at USD9 per hour for Virtual Assistant / Customer support). You can pay USD49.99 per month and post as many job ads as you want
  • We Work Remotelystarting at USD300 per job posting
  • Flexjobs – starting at USD399 per month
  • Greatassistant.com (Profit factory) – one-time fee of USD3.500 + USD95 per month

Profit factory is a company that caters for busy entrepreneurs and claims to help those who have common concerns regarding outsourcing and virtual assistants such as:

  • I can’t let go of control
  • I don’t have the time to train an assistant
  • What should I delegate?

If that resonates with you and you can afford their service, you can check them out.

2. Social Media

Facebook

customer service virtual assistant

Facebook groups are the go-to online communities for finding virtual assistant jobs.

That’s good news for you.

You can join a Facebook group and create a job posting for free( in line with the group’s main guidelines). It is as simple as that.

To find groups you can go to google and do a boolean search: here is what you should type in the search bar: site:facebook.com “virtual assistant” AND Groups

Alternatively, you could type ‘virtual assistant groups’ on Facebook and join a few of them. 

To make it easy for you you can start joining these three groups:

Be specific in your post and state if you require customer service experience to screen the candidates beforehand.

Alternatively, you could join a Facebook group in your niche and share what you need. Someone may hook you up with your dream VA. 

It could be a shot in the dark, but it is worth trying.

Linkedin

customer service virtual assistant

Does Linkedin have outstanding filtering functions?.

That means that you can find VAs who work in certain industries- such as customer service,or VAs who are based in certain countries.

Customer service can be time-sensitive, so you may need to have someone available at a specific time.

Want to find experienced candidates? You can filter for that as well.

Just type ‘Virtual assistant’ or ‘Executive Virtual Assistant’ in the search bar and filter for ‘country’ and service category (you can find it by clicking on ‘All filters’).

For example Va for customer service based in the US.

On top of that you could even create your job posting or have access to more features with their paid membership:

The bad news is that some virtual assistants seem to favour other platforms like Instagram.

Instagram

customer service virtual assistant

Instagram is still the main active tool for finding clients for many virtual assistants in different niches.

And that’s great for you.

Why? Because you can find many virtual assistants.. for free!

#ifitsfreeitsforme

Simply go to Instagram and type ‘Virtual assistant’ in the search bar. 

You have two options:

  • Send them a direct message
  • Create your job advert and publish it in your stories (or posts).

The latter works especially well if you have a few virtual assistants in your network. 

In case you don’t, you can start following a few of them and some of them will follow you back.

Alternatively, you can go to google and type: site:instagram.com (“virtual assistant” AND “Customer Service”). You will get a few results for VAs for customer service.

Bear in mind that the most qualified VAs have a website listed in their bio, which proves that they are taking their business seriously so make sure to check for that.

3. Virtual Assistant Companies

A virtual assistant company is a company that specializes in connecting businesses, entrepreneurs and professionals with trained and experienced VAs.

If you have enough budget you can rest assured that you will find a great VA with no hassle.

Just one problem. There are a ton of virtual assistant companies out there.

So here is a list of the top 100+ virtual assistant companies. Just click on the link and scroll down to find the one that best fits you!

To make it easier for you here is a list of the top 5 virtual assistant companies for customer service:

In case you choose this option the next two steps are going to be much easier and faster for you.

Step 3. Qualify Your Candidates

virtual assistant for customer service

1. Pre-screening Candidates

By now you should know quite a few things which are helpful to filter candidates quickly, and you should be able to answer the following questions:

  • What skills should the VA have?
  • What languages should the VA speak fluently?
  • What tasks will the VA carry out?
  • Do you need to hire a freelancer or an in-house employee?
  • Where do you want to find your VA

Before reading each application, make sure that they first meet the requirements, as laid down above.

2. Video Interview

It’s time to get to know them. You can follow a script or simply make a few general questions just to check if you are a good match.

It’s up to you to decide!

If you want to make it quick and have a lot of candidates you can also ask them to send you a video application and contact the best ones.

3. Assign A Small Project

There is nothing like getting down to business when it comes to picking the best candidate.

By assigning a small task, not only you can assess their technical skills, such as typing speed for instance (ask them to track the time spent on the task), but you can also check if they have good manners and get a sense of how they behave when they are under pressure.

Step 4. Create An Onboarding Process

customer service virtual assistant

It’s time to take ownership.

The onboarding process is key, no matter how experienced and skills is the VA that you hire. You must build systems and set expectations right out of the gate.

This is the right time to check the following things:

Workplace  –they must have access to a disturbance-free workplace with a solid Internet connection. You don’t want their screen to freeze when they chat with customers about refunds.

Time Commitment – talk about your preferred working hours and check and ask about their availability and flexibility – that is especially important if their time commitment varies over time.

Access to tools – if everything else goes well this is also the time to show how to navigate all the tools they need to get the job done.

Customer Service Virtual Assistant FAQ(s)

customer service virtual assistant

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What’s The Difference Between Virtual Customer Assistants And Virtual Assistants For Customer Service?

A virtual customer assistant (VCA) is a business application that simulates a conversation in order to deliver information and address customer’s concerns.

The VCA relies on knowledge repositories and NLP technologies. 

Even though in some cases it provides a strong customer service proposition it is still not comparable to an actual human performing the task – a virtual assistant for customer service.

How Much Does A Virtual Assistant Charge Per Hour?

In case you decide to hire and train a VA on your own, without relying on virtual assistant companies you must be aware of market prices.

Virtual assistants charge anywhere from USD1 to USD100 per hour. Sometimes even more. So the spectrum is pretty broad.

On average, virtual assistants for customer service make around USD16-19.

What If I Don’t Have Enough Work For My VA?

In case you hire someone and she is not paid by the hour, you may wonder ‘What the heck do I do if I end up not having enough work for my VA?’. 

Well, you can solve this problem beforehand by planning accordingly, but in case things go sideways you always have a solid backup plan: get them to upskill!

The better she becomes, the more productive she will be. Also, once she leaves you she will tell everyone how good it was to work with you. It’s a win-win!

Can I Ask My Virtual Assistants To Take Customer Calls?

Why not?

As long as you have enough time, virtual assistants can be easily trained.

Not only can they respond to customer queries in a timely fashion, but they can also help you sell your brand and boost sales if they are given the right motivation.

How Do I Handle A Remote Virtual Assistant?

These days you have many options:

If you want to save time, you can simply send them voice notes on Instagram to give her feedback and use Gmail for more formal and structured emails – that’s what I do!

How Do I Become A Customer Service Virtual Assistant?

Oh, so you have skipped all the way down here because you actually want to know

 ‘ How can I find virtual customer service jobs’. Cool!

I always recommend these two because they are no-nonsense guides and they work – all the people who attended these courses are running their online business – great value for money:

Conclusion

Now that you know all the steps to hire a virtual assistant for customer service, all you have to do is take some time to choose the best course of action and start screening candidates.

Happy Interviewing!

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The Beginner’s Guide To Hiring A Customer Service Virtual Assistant

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