Many small business owners decide to outsource their work to virtual assistants or off shore workers. This can be a very effective strategy, however, there are three main problems a business owner may encounter with virtual assistants. Hiring virtual interns, instead of virtual assistants solves all three of these problems.
The first big problem that a business owner may find with virtual assistants is time zone issues. Many virtual assistants are located in other countries like India, Pakistan, or the Philippines which means they are about 10-15 hours ahead of the average North American business in their time zone. This can make things very frustrating or challenging if you need to do things like a live chat or phone call. In both cases, someone needs to really adjust their schedule which can be very inconvenient especially if you are a busy small business owner.
The second challenge that a business owner may encounter when working with off shore virtual assistants is the language barrier. Many off shore virtual assistants actually speak very good English, but there are still problems in two big areas. The first area is when they need to interact with your customers. Sometimes customers will get frustrated when they know they are speaking to an off shore call center where English is a second language. The other big area is if they are doing writing for you. Many times, the technical way they were taught English doesn’t always translate over to normal written or spoken English in America.
The third major challenge is that many of these emerging countries do not always have the best internet reliability. The technology is sometimes not as advanced, so the internet can be down for multiple days in a row due to bad weather or the like. A recent example was a business, who had recurring situations where a storm came in and the business was not able to get in touch with their virtual assistant for three to four days.
Virtual interns are definitely different from virtual assistants because they are able to solve all of these problems, and more. At most, the highest difference in time zones for a virtual intern in North America is going to be three hours from the east coast to the west coast, so a business owner is always going to be able to get in touch with his intern.
Interns are college educated students that speak English well and can easily interact with your customers. Finally, the internet reliability in America is fantastic and if worst comes to worst they can always go down to their local coffee shop for free WiFi. In a nutshell, hiring virtual interns over virtual assistants is the best way to help grow and expand your small business.