The Yes, No, and Maybe of It
Quality outsourcing (Virtual Assistance) can be a tricky issue. While some Realtors® have embraced this service, others remain unconvinced. Some agents are more comfortable with using domestic resources than sending their work overseas. It's a concern whether an overseas company will provide the same quality of work as domestic services. There's also an issue about whether English is their first language.
To help you make an informed decision, this post will take a look at outsourcing and examine when quality may and may not be compromised.
What Exactly is Outsourcing (Virtual Assistance)?
Way back in 2008, Inc. Magazine wrote an article about Virtual Assistants in which they said,
Real estate professionals are among the professionals who should consider hiring a Virtual Assistant (VA) to handle certain tasks so they can devote more time to other aspects of their business.
Basically, outsourcing can be described as hiring an individual outside of the company to perform specific tasks. This can be done per project, hourly or on an ongoing basis.
Call it outsourcing, virtual assistant services or independent contracting. These people have made a conscious decision to work independently rather than in a corporate environment. They are highly skilled and qualified people who are very capable of producing a high standard of work. Many continue their education so they can continue to compete in their chosen market.
When Does Outsourcing Compromise Quality? The simplest answer is when the price is the sole factor determining a Virtual Professional. US professionals are not able to compete with the price of skilled overseas workers. However, when only domestic candidates are being considered, price often becomes the biggest determining factor. This is unfortunate. It's very rare that the most qualified VA has the lowest rates.
Quality can be compromised when companies select the lowest bidder without regard for qualifications. This can be a very costly mistake in the long run. Your Virtual Professional is representing you and your business. Only high-quality work should be acceptable.
When Does Outsourcing NOT Compromise Quality? In most cases, hiring a virtual assistance company is the most affordable option. It also provides a large pool of qualified resources. To avoid getting burned, take the hiring process as seriously with a VA that you would if you were hiring an in-house employee. Screening a must. Using due diligence in your selection process will not only result in the right candidate, but it will also ensure a quality product.
Verify that everything your Virtual Partner is telling you about their qualifications is true. Request relevant work experiences and an explanation of their qualifications. Ask for business references. Question the references about the candidate's work ethic and personal integrity.
Trust and communication are huge factors in a sustainable virtual relationship. A little legwork at the beginning of your search will result in a qualified Virtual Assistant relationship. You may even sleep better at night!