How to Overcome the 9 Biggest Challenges with Filipino Virtual Assistant
Filipinos are some of the best workers in the world. However, nobody’s perfect. There will always be challenges that come when dealing with anyone. Here are the biggest roadblocks you will probably face when working with your Filipino virtual assistant.
1. The disappearing act
Filipinos (and many Asians) tend to be very afraid of confrontation. Rather than talk to you about any problems they might be having, they’ll just disappear. They might feel very shy around you and be afraid that you’ll fire them if they can’t complete the assignment.
You must be proactive in initiating communication. Make it clear that disappearing is not an option, and that your VA can always come to you if they have any kind of issue. In the beginning it can be a good idea to check in every day to ask how they’re doing. They’ll get used to talking with you and coming to you with problems, so it starts to feel natural.
2. Bad internet
Internet in the Philippines, especially outside of Manila, can be slow and unreliable. Getting it fixed can take days. When you hire your VA, make sure you ask them about their internet access. If they don’t have reliable internet doing the tasks you assigned will be very difficult. The best thing you can do is sidestep the problem by hiring someone who has decent internet in the first place.
3. Unreliable electricity
Electricity in the Philippines has become more reliable in recent years, but can still go off, with or without warning. Another thing to remember is that the Philippines experiences an average of 8 to 9 tropical storms per year, some of them very strong. Earthquakes are also common.
Filipinos are accustomed to dealing with these issues, and if you hire a good VA they will do their best to complete their tasks on time.
4. Not enough work to fill their time
Before you hire a full-time VA make sure you have enough work to keep them busy. It’s a good idea to audit your business and set aside the tasks you want to assign your VA before you even hire anyone. Figure out your training process and get your materials together. That way you’ll have everything ready for them.
5. Expecting one person to do everything
I’ve heard stories of people hiring Filipino VAs and expecting them to have a ridiculous range of skills: maintain a WordPress blog, write social media posts, SEO articles, sales letters and emails, create websites and videos, and on and on. Very few people can do all that. If you offer a very high salary you might be able to attract someone (although odds are they aren’t looking to work as a VA).
It’s a better idea to concentrate on one area and hire someone to do that job. For instance, if you primarily need someone to keep up with your blog, look for someone with WordPress skills. Once your VA has mastered that job, you can train them to take over other tasks.
6. Hiring too many people at once
Unless you have a lot of experience managing remote workers it’s better to start with one VA. Once you know what you’re doing you can hire on more people gradually. Train up your first VA, and when their hours are full up hire another one.
7. Lack of communication
Don’t ignore your VA. It’s bad for productivity in that it will make it more difficult for them to complete their assigned tasks. It also destroys the social bonds that you want to form with your them. It can be easy over time to view your remote worker as an app rather than a human being. They will feel that. It erodes the loyalty you want them to feel towards you.
Make the effort to talk to your VA and develop trust with them. They’ll repay you with loyalty and hard work.
8. Sky-high expectations
You wouldn’t hire an Australian for an entry-level position and expect them to be perfect right away. Hiring virtual assistants is not an instant cure to all your problems. It will probably take a few months to get everything sorted to your satisfaction. Start gradually and add something new when you’re sure the foundations are firm.
9. Drops in productivity
Sometimes a VA who’s been doing great will hit a wall. If you’ve kept up with communication, it should be no trouble to ask them what’s going on. Keep an open mind and don’t be too quick to pull the plug. They might just be confused because you gave them unclear instructions. They might be having personal problems that you could help them with.
It’s up to you how much slack you want to give to your staff. You’ve invested a fair bit of time and energy into your VA – give them a chance to handle their issues and get back to their accustomed efficiency.
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