Discussing Virtual Assistants – BPO 24 Hour Services Matt Wilkie

By | August 6, 2019

This is Matt from
BPOHOUR.COM and it’s a Saturday afternoon. I just want to talk to about, why you would want a VIRTUAL ASSISTANT
and where you could actually use them? ‘Coz a lot of people don’t actually believe, or think they need a Virtual Assistant. But as many things that you’re doing everyday which you could outsource to give yourself more time or give yourself more productive time. Prime example example of that is one of my relatives every Saturday and Sunday has to produce Safety reports for vehicles and equipment Basically, it’s just filling in some sheets, printing them off but literally it takes 14 hours on
Saturday and 14 hours on Sunday. Because they have to be prepared for Monday for all the transportation documents, for all the lovely Health and
Safety that UK has these days. That could be easily outsourced
to couple of agents for Saturday and couple of agents for Sunday. That would actually completed for all Monday and at very
little cost compared to the time that they’re
actually losing them-self. The fact that matter is, that it’s a job
that you’ll have to do as part of his role. But it’s not a paid role. and it’s just something that’s
been added to his job over time. Although it’s very unlikely in
companies itself to pay for it, It’s the productivity of getting his
weekends back would actually benefit company as well as
himself in health, any time off at the weekends. If you don’t then you’ll gonna
burn out at some point. But that’s just one example. ‘Coz easiest way to find out if
you actually have an opportunity for using a VA is to sit down, list down what you do everyday and then do it over the week. So, like Monday,
check the emails, check the mailbox, send out
quotations, whatever you’re doing. Just list them all down. Break them down into roughly
how long they take as well. Then the next thing is, take that information and split
it into another two categories for stuff that you need to do and
stuff that someone else could do. Now, once you do that you get
an idea of how many hours you can allocate
to somebody else. Now..you might think..Yeah But that’s just gonna
give me an extra cost. Well, for most people there is a hidden cost which
is your productivity time. For example, how many
meetings can’t you get too because you’re busy doing
the invoicing on Friday. How many networking meetings
do you never go to? That you could do. Could you get involve with the
local small business groups? Which could actually help you network with
them with your skills and their skills to develop a market between you. There’s lots and lots of
things productive wise that you would need
to do yourself. But you’re often tied up doing stuff that
you don’t really need to be there doing. The invoicing obviously has to be
done but it doesn’t need to be done by you. The same as chasing
orders, chasing payments, making sure people have
sent their checks out. That gentle reminder on a Tuesday,
“Did you send your check out on Monday?” Those are little calls need to be done but they don’t necessarily
need to be done by yourself. This would actually give you more
time to generate new business or concentrate on developing
your legitimate business rather than dealing with a lot
of the stuff that ties you down. I’ve been in the same
situation myself. When I have my own Locksmith
Companies, security company in the UK. Where you constantly doing
things like quotations. Now, the quotations are part of the
business that needs to be done. At the same time, if
I get a sketch form pieces of equipment for an installation, someone else can put a
quotation together for me. So I could write it on a
small piece of paper. The number of passive
—, BIR, etc., etc. Then you can actually
put price together. Even if they didn’t send it off but
emailed it for me to confirm the email, that alone would save me at least 15-20
minutes for every single quotation. Now, those little things soon add up. This is where a VA actually could help you. Take your business from a one man
band to having a multiple employees. But not just to the VA obviously but actually taking your
company to the next step. Having VA is here in the Philippines,
is extremely cost effective because all the tax liabilities,
all the employment law, pains and dealing with the health
and safety regulations, When I say health and safety, I’m not talking
about — I’m talking about things like, having to have a meal area, having to have a toilet area, having to have adequate
smoking facilities, all these other things
aren’t your problem. Because I know myself in business
in UK, they are a big problem. Having to do all the health
and safety method statements for all these tasks when a lot of them
are just replicated generic tasks. But they still have to go
through the process of doing it in case the site has
slightly something different. Even that could
actually be outsourced where the generic system is put together. You say what you need. I need one for step ladders. I need one for accessing
lifting equipment. It can all be done outsourced The VA’s can do that already. This is what probably why I’m
working with somebody like myself. Because I come from a business
environment in the UK. It makes it much easier to teach people in
the Philippines what you’re actually wanting. Because I know a lot of
people put off my VA by using things like Odesk
and Freelancer for example. Because half the time people applied
from India, Pakistan or wherever and they don’t even have
the clue what we wanted. I have it myself where I needed a
specific piece of software design. A very specific in the advertise of
what I wanted and it involve coding. Not only programming
but some audio. The guy thought I was talking
about drawing picture. Yes, it is laughable. But the problem is, this is what
is putting people off using VA’s. Because you can spend ages
looking for the right person instead of getting them to
take some of your workload. ‘Til it lasts easier instead
of more complicated. That’s where we come in. Because if you have
specific tasks, here in the Philippines
I will get it first. Because I know already what
my staff are capable of. I know already where they
would need extra training. I also know that if it’s workable or I have a better solution,
I’ll put it on a table. Because part of what I do
when I work internationally is they don’t just do the call center work. They do procurement of contracts. Some very large contracts. Multi-
million account contracts. Where my prime assessments is
to viability of the contracts Part of that viability is looking at
where the contract is losing money. ‘Coz all these contracts
come out in the first place because the main client is not
happy with the existing company. Normally because
their cutting cost. Because the contract is
viable but at the same time there’s huge holes
in the contracts which would actually
make it extremely viable. A prime example of
this is if you take maintenance regimes a very big
chain of stores in the UK. They’re in every town. They’re still existing even after
the current recession situation. They have gas heaters…they used to be…
the buildings they took over predominantly what was Texas
before it become Texas home-base. So, they are the Texas stores. So, if you’ve know where
your own Texas store is, you know whose company
I’m talking about. But they have gas maintenance
on all their boilers. Now, the contract actually states
that they’re all serviced. But many of the stores at least 60% of them are
absolutely all condemned. Now, the thing with this
is each service visit would cost between 80 and
100 pounds for gas oiler. Doesn’t sound a lot. Does it? Until I say you’ll have
14 boilers in there and almost five of them work. But you’re still paying
14 hundred pounds for the servicing. So, I will look at that and say, “Well the first be the
viability here is the fact most of those units are
already condemned. Why don’t you shut them off
completely and disconnect them. It will reduce your maintenance
cost considerably.” These are the start
things I look for. I look for where contracts
are lossing money. Not only to the benefit
of the main client or the company that’s But somewhere in the middle.
It actually adds a bit of a leeway for both of people to run contract into something that works. ‘Coz obviously a facilitate management
company won’t be too keen on shutting down half of their
maintenance revenue Simply by switching and disconnecting
half of the faulty boilers. At the same time, client would
be very happy for that because he saves more fortune. But there are obviously units that
would never be repaired anyway. There’s no parts. So, you’re actually creating contract that
might have serious problems otherwise. Because financially it’s not viable. Because of mistakes in the contract like
every single boiler has to be maintained. When if you disconnect them
it’s no longer a boiler. It’s just the So, from my own background,
I understand the needs to not downsize, downstream,
all these fancy words but actually make
business works smarter. I know there’s a lot
of people will say, “Oh, losing jobs, taking jobs
abroad, blah..blah..blah.” But I tell you now, If you haven’t go to PA or VA already,
then whose jobs did they take? ‘Coz the fact is, you
haven’t gone an assistant. And if you do have an assistant it’s
very likely that they work part time because you can’t
afford a full time assistant. Now, it doesn’t mean you..
your assistant there. Because your assistant maybe
primarily working on a phone or dealing with your account. But you could actually take a
VA on part time or full time to actually help your other assistant
to work more efficiently as well. Because it’s not all
just about yourself. There’s other stuff that can be done
that you’re probably not doing already. Somebody that deals with all your emails. Somebody that deals
with your website. Somebody that does all
your social networking. There’s a whole market there
that many businesses haven’t even looked at. Because the point is with the VA is
their expansion of your business. But at the same time it’s
all about working smarter. It’s not about working in a way
there’s actually gonna be restricted or more costly to yourself. It’s actually all about
improving your business. So, for me a VA is not about having
somebody sat there like a secretary. It is also understanding
what you need one for. That’s why I said sit
and right down your task. But then there is also the
daily, weekly, monthly, annually, quarterly, types
of work that you do. And then you let off
see you one of things that were paying
that you’re doing. Prime example of that
is company photographs. Company photographs, if
you’re using them for SEO and also to keep your
company web set-up today. They do need descriptions. They need somebody to
sit there for ages. Going through all the photos. Sorting them all out
into the right order. Giving them all the
descriptions of what they are and when they were
and who is in them. It’s something that
is very timely but long term or
something worth doing. Especially if your showing timeline of
your business from start to current. We can show the growth and
say were all back in 1987. We started out with one truck and now we have four depots
and a hundred trucks. Showing progress of the
company is something that people do find interesting in
camera productively for your business. To show where it came
from and where it’s going. There’s also a settings. And
even as a private person things like your photographs
and it’s all things out. It’s timely. It’s boring. But at the same time if you wanted them
online, somebody can sit and
sort them out for you. If you wanted them all put
into some sort of DVD, somebody can do that for you. The fact is there’s so
many tasks out there. It’s more about people realizing
they can outsource it than it’s about, “We’ll I
don’t need an assistant.” Because even a small
part time business is missing business without
even realizing them. I know myself that I hate answering
the phone after five o’clock. I do it with existing clients and business from outside of the
country that I deal with. But I need only one to
be doing that everyday. I do get lots of the
harassing, annoying companies from India and
Pakistan harassing me lately. Which really does bug me because they’re
selling me services which we already do. But at the same time they have no
respect for the timezone difference. Now, if you are in the UK by the way. If you need me to call you at 5 PM in
the afternoon, I will call you at 5 PM. I don’t expect you to be up in the
middle of the night to call me. Because quite simply, you know, we
are the guys providing service. But when you call…when
these guys call me, asking for business from me,
it’s the other way around. I’m the client. So, that’s why I complained about
people calling me at 2 in the morning, expecting me to be online and
available so that they can give me their spiel on how their
gonna improve my business with SEO. Enough arguing about that.
It’s a little bit irritating and had ten people do it to me today.
That’s why I’m a bit tired today. But, anyway, fact is there’s
lots of things that VA can do. That would be a prime example where people can actually call and
handle your calls for you. You can transfer your number unto
a Skype number for example. And started it when you’re logged in.
It goes to you but you can also use the
same account with your VA. So you can track what the
conversation put up in Skype. But also any conversations would
actually go through on Skype as well Via live telecoms ‘coz you just
got a Skype telephone number for the UK, US , Australia,
wherever your business is. And you can use that as a
transferring number when your forward your existing number
to that number. So, it actually get speak to a live
persons that aren’t answering machine. There’s lots of things that the
VA can and would do for you. And one thing I would say about living in the
Philippines and knowing Filipino people, they’re very keen to please the
person they are working for. Jobs are very important here. The fact is, people are
very proud that they are working for somebody
that is a foreigner. They like to be working for the foreigner. They like being part of
an international company. They like working for
BPO24hour.com for example because it’s a call center job. Now, I say it call center because
that’s where our business started Well, it did start in
Excel, data spreadsheets. But the growth came from
the call center side. But in UK, a lot of people do
not like a call center jobs. But here, it’s a good job
because it pays a good salary. And as part of the whole thing
with the Virtual Assistants, is in the UK, US, Australia
cost effective wise, VA in the Philippines is very cheap
but also their language skills and grammar skills is also very good
because everybody here speaks English. I believe it’s somewhere around 97%
and 98% of population speak English. It’s taught in school. The fact is they are taught
it as the second language. But also most people here are speaking
at least two language as if not three. Because like here, where I live in Cebu,
a lot of dialect Cebuano or Bisaya. The people here also do Tagalog
which is the language dialect which is mainly for Manila and
then they also have English. But also you’ll find a lot of people here
have worked for Japanese, Chinese, German, different companies and may
also speak another language depending on which company they worked for. Because a lot of time their
employers do not speak English or Tagalog or dialect,
so they get through it by actually learning the
languages they need. That’s the solid dedication you’ll get. But it also means a bit of
commitment from your side to help develop the business
you want from the VA because you can get a good
VA but to get the perfect VA, you gonna have to develop it with them. You gonna have to be the — and say “This is how it is processed.
This is how I want this done.” Because working systematically
and methodical, you’ll get less mistakes but
also the productivity improves. It’s beneficial for everybody and this is
what I think with the Virtual Assistants. They are good but like
most tools in the toolbox, the ones good is the person using them. So, they will do exactly
as they’re told. If you want them to use
a bit of initiative, you have to make them aware
to use a bit of initiative. People are used to doing as
they’re instructed to do. It’s not a bad thing if you understand
how it works and how to process people. How to get people to do specific jobs. And one of the things I
recommend is actually doing when you have the breakdown,
you could now set, “I want you to do my email
checks in the morning. “I want you to call the
suppliers by one o’clock.” “I want you to make sure
that any incoming calls, you take their email and tell them I’ll
email them back by end of the day. Those are the things, are very simple
task that you could note down. But if a VA has that information, they work better and
work smarter for you. This is why, you know, I’m
trying to bring it as across as it’s not gonna be an instant
success with everything. Because they need to understand
how your business works. How you work. What do
you want from this? Where they can help make your life easier? And in return, they’ll
give you the commitment. They’ll put the hours in.
They’ll put the effort in. And they are looking for a
long time, permanent jobs. And the main thing is, you’re not just hiring somebody
that just walked off the street. All the people that are
doing our VA’s have skills that they brought from
college universities. We have people that have
very technical knowledge. They could be engineers. They could be web designers,
IT guys with Masters Degrees. The fact is, there’s a lot of people
here with a lot of skills then. That’s why there’s a bit of flexibility
with using somebody like BPO24hour.com because you may have
your regular VA but then you want a website designs
and build it from scratch. You could then just drop us an
email or get your VA to contact me and I’ll give you a few people that
can do it and you take the best one. The one you feel most
confident with and happy one. The point is, the VA
business is here to stay and to be honest I
actually think overtime. People who have gone actually start
to see why company should be doing it instead of trying to avoid doing it. I know it’s a growing business.
It’s growing all the time. But at the same time, they’re still a
bit of a stigma with outsourcing. But we are overcoming it all the time. But also it’s part of doing
business these days. It’s necessary. There’s part of your business
that isn’t viable to do locally. I know for a fact a lot
of legislation stuff. I would actually be more happy getting
something to do it in Philippines and proofreading it in the UK. If we are still offering a
business out of the U K. Because the advantage with that is, it only takes me a couple
of minutes to browse things but takes me all day to actually sit
there and write about your things. Well, let me know some feedback. Let me know what you think. Let me know
what your thoughts on having a VA. What would you see a VA
doing in your business? Just give me some ideas that I’m
gonna consider and discuss that. Okay. This is Matt from BPO24hour.com.
Thank you for your time.

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