Virtual assistant: what it is and why it interests your business?

Virtual assistant: what it is and why it interests your business?

It is increasingly common to find companies that have hired the services of virtual assistants to perform unproductive functions. In this way, they manage to increase their productivity by allocating their human resources to carrying out the most profitable tasks that provide greater economic benefits.

We know that each company sets objectives to follow and that achieving business success is not an easy task, but not impossible. For this reason, technology has been evolving at an enormous speed to facilitate the tasks of workers and, with it, favor companies.

As we can imagine, it has undergone many transformations and modifications until having what today we know as a virtual assistant. And, above all, so that its purpose and objective is to help companies, regardless of their size, to be more productive and efficient. But before going into the subject and explaining why you are interested in having a virtual assistant in your business, how it can help you, how it would be done from… we must know exactly what it is. We started!

What is a virtual assistant?

To define exactly what a virtual assistant or telephone consultant is, we have approached the International Association of Virtual Assistants, which defines it as follows:

“Virtual assistants are independent contractors who (from a remote location, usually your home or office) support multiple clients in a variety of industries by providing administrative, creative and technical services.”

In other words, they are in charge of giving support to clients on administrative and / or technical queries made by phone or through a chatbot . In addition, they do not have to be natural persons, they can also be robots with artificial intelligence (AI) prepared to perform the functions in an automated way, offering the same service as human personnel and with the same quality.

When the functions of the assistant are performed by a natural person, it is usually a person external to the company, who has been hired to perform certain administrative functions as if it were one of the company. As a general rule, they are people who are involved with the company when it comes to providing their services remotely.

However, in the case of robot assistants, thanks to their AI, they can be configured and programmed to answer customer inquiries as if they were a human, instead of a machine. This function is carried out thanks, above all, to its voice recognition and its ability to perform bidirectional transcriptions, but we will enter later on the subject of the functions it has.

How can a virtual assistant help you in your business?

You may already have an idea of ​​how you would benefit if you had a virtual assistant, although perhaps you think it is an expensive tool … Well, nothing like that!

Think that a virtual assistant is a tool that, like the rest of the ones you already have, can be customized and adapted to your business model . Therefore, the price will vary depending on how many “extras” you want to add to the base service.

Leaving aside the economic issue, which is not essential now, let’s see how it can help you improve your business economically, which is. First of all, and the most important thing is: saving time and money .

Yes, indeed, both concepts are related when it comes to telephone consultants. This is because, whether it is a robot or an external person, you will not have to pay taxes, insurance, or training, or have a physical space in the office with equipment … You will only have to pay by the tool in the case of the robot or by the work done in the case of human personnel. Interesting, right? You want to know more? Let’s continue.

In addition to this important saving and its most basic functions that allow it to perform in an automated way all those functions that are tedious and not very productive, it also improves the image of the company in front of customers and can help you with the performance of tasks such as :

  • Administrative procedures
  • Technical support
  • Appointment management
  • Provide real-time information
  • Carry out accounting and billing procedures
  • Organize the agenda (events, reminders …)
  • Manage social networks, advertising and marketing projects, emails (CRM, Gmail …)
  • Provides 24×7 conference support.
  • Create web pages.
  • It provides telephone and online assistance 7×24 hours.
  • Create and manage databases.
  • Perform bilateral voice-to-text translations and vice versa.
  • Research and search for data on the internet.
  • Reduce the number of missed calls.
  • Opens incident tickets.
  • Manage workers’ schedules.
  • Distribute calls intelligently.
  • Make reports.
  • Manage supplies.
  • Buy products online.
  • Make reservations (restaurants, hotels, trips …).
  • Control collections and claim defaults.
  • Communication through all existing channels (WhatsApp, email, telephone, SMS …).

Why is it profitable to have your own virtual assistant?

In case there are not enough reasons for everything that an assistant can do for you so that you dedicate your time to more productive tasks, do not worry, I will give you several reasons. Keep in mind that there are a wide variety of reasons why a virtual assistant will make your company more profitable, but since it can be a bit boring reading to mention them all, I will focus on the most important ones. Take note!

  1. It offloads your staff by performing their less productive tasks, increases your profitability, and allows you to spend your time completing tasks that increase company revenue.
  2. Save on personnel costs by not needing a physical person, since the virtual assistant is a robot with artificial intelligence. This means savings in training costs, social security, payroll … without forgetting that you save on looking for qualified personnel capable of performing the tasks you want to delegate.
  3. As you are not a natural person, your work schedule is set by you and you do not have to work the day continuously. Also, you only pay for the time you work on your tasks or projects.
  4. It helps companies to grow without increasing the stress of workers, since it has a greater volume of work, since that excess of work can be done perfectly by the virtual assistant. The only measure you would have to take is to extend the number of working hours.
  5. Increase productivity without exhausting you or your employees, since it is capable of carrying out all processes from the beginning, avoiding the stress of the beginning. So your tasks will be more efficient and you will increase your productivity.
  6. Being a robot, you can configure it according to the needs of your company so that it performs the tasks correctly and focused on achieving the objectives you have set. You are very flexible regarding the amount of work to be done, as well as the hours and days to work.

How do we connect your virtual assistant with your CRM or ERP?

To offer good service to customers and keep them satisfied by creating a positive experience, virtual assistants connect to the company’s CRM and / or ERP through the Web Service.

But what is that web service? It is a communication system between two electrical devices connected to a network by using protocols and standards to exchange data between applications or systems.

And how is the connection made? Although it may seem complicated and difficult to do at first glance, the process itself is automated, so the data will be automatically updated so that the information provided to customers is real and uninterrupted.

The Web Service allows connecting the company’s CRM and / or ERP with the virtual assistant using standardized protocols. This connection allows the telephone consultant to access up-to-date information in customer databases. In addition, it will allow you to access the CRM agenda to manage appointments (create, change and cancel), create reminders of important events to be carried out, schedule projects …

Real examples of how the virtual assistant interacts with customers

Due to the multiple functionalities that the assistants have, they can be used in any company (SMEs and large companies) regardless of the sector to which it is dedicated. And as it is tailored to business needs, these examples can guide you in how you would serve your customers to increase your sales. Ah! And most importantly: no queues and no contact, because everything is by phone.

Currently there are many public and private companies, public bodies (councils, town halls, etc.), hospitals and private clinics that already have this service and are 100% satisfied. Mainly because the telephone advisor is capable of responding to clients with the same efficiency and quality as human personnel. Let’s look at the examples.

Example 1: in a public body

  1. The client calls the body with which he wishes to contact to make a query to a specific department.
  2. A virtual assistant answers the call and, through DTMF dialing, provides all possible options to the customer to know which call queue to redirect to. In this way, the attention will be of quality and efficient. An example of what the wizard would say would be:
    • Dial 1 for Administration.
    • Dial 2 for HR
    • Dial 3 for Fundraising.
  3. Once the customer has selected the option they want, the assistant will redirect the call to the agent who is idle in that department. In the event that all the agents in that department are busy, it would be queued and would be attended by the first to finish.

Example 2: in a hospital

  1. The client calls the hospital where he wants to make an appointment to be seen by a specialist. 
  2. The assistant will attend to the customer and, using DTMF dialing, will ask him what he wants. For example:
    • Dial 1 for Information.
    • Dial 2 for Nursing.
    • Dial 3 for Appointment.
    • Dial 4 for Other Inquiries.
  3. Once the customer has selected an option, the wizard provides them with all possible options via DTMF dialing. In this case you will have dialed 3 because you wanted a previous appointment. So the example options would be:
    • Dial 1 for Gynecology.
    • Dial 2 for Traumatology.
    • Dial 3 for Cardiology.
    • Dial 4 for Pulmonology.
  4. Once the client has selected the specialty with which they want the appointment to be attended, the assistant will access the hospital’s CRM and / or ERP to see what days and hours are available. It will then offer the first available option (for example, Tuesday, November 7 at 12:30) and if the customer does not benefit from it, it will offer another (for example, Thursday, November 9 at 5:45 pm).
    In such a way that they find a gap that suits the customer. As a general rule, clients usually accept the first or second option offered.
  5. When you have confirmed that you want that appointment, the assistant will ask for your phone number or email to send you the appointment confirmation. In addition, the assistant himself is in charge of registering the client’s appointment in the specialist’s agenda.

As you can see, Having a virtual assistant in your company will allow you to save on costs and time, being able to dedicate it to performing more productive tasks and more efficiently. The ideal is to have one to relieve the workers and the management team of the accomplishment of tedious tasks. In addition, the great advantage is that you can hire it for the time and duration that the company needs.

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