The Rise of Virtual Professionals
Over the years, outsourcing has built up quite a bad name in the world of American business. When most of us think of “outsourcing,” we’ll typically envision the archetypal overseas call center — however, is this really the only way a company can outsource work? In reality, call centers aren’t the only (or even the best) means to outsource services. Instead, it’s time to consider virtual assistants as a positive alternative to traditional call centers.
That being said, virtual assistantship has become an increasingly popular method of outsourcing, in recent years. More and more American companies are seeing the many benefits to hiring virtual assistants, over outsourcing to call centers, or simply not outsourcing at all.
What Does Outsourcing Look Like in 2021?
Before we get into the ins and outs of hiring a virtual assistant, let’s take a quick step back. By hiring a VA, you’re outsourcing a portion of your company’s work, bringing in an individual who isn’t a full-time employee of your business.
At its core, outsourcing is a pretty simple concept: Rather than having your internal team tackle a duty or a particular project, you’ll bring in workers from outside the company. As a business grows larger and larger, outsourcing can begin to look like a more favorable tactic. The bigger your operations, the more likely it is that you’ll need to handle a substantial number of highly specific and often very repetitive tasks.
Instead of taking on an overly large volume of internal employees — or even putting excessive pressure on your current employees to get huge quantities of work done — outsourcing offers companies a much more practical alternative.
While outsourcing comes with a myriad of different benefits, a few of them are:
- Improved flexibility
- Better organizational effectiveness
- Lower overheads
- Greater efficiency
- Better HR management (that’s far more strategic and focused)
In the year 2021, specifically, outsourcing can look like an especially desirable business strategy. After all, well over a year since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, work has become increasingly remote. More people than ever are gravitating towards remote positions, over traditional in-person work. Not only does this mean more individuals have been drawn to outsourced work, but it also means that hiring remote workers has been normalized. Outsourcing is no longer a last resort, for all kinds of companies — instead, it’s a logical option worth considering, no matter the nature of your business.
3 Types of Outsourced Work
Of course, outsourcing is a broad descriptor of this type of work. There isn’t just one form of outsourcing — instead, businesses can choose from several prominent forms of outsourced work.
1. Local Outsourcing
When a company locally outsources duties, they’re working with individuals in the same region. Still, these workers aren’t full-time employees, and they typically aren’t obligated to make an in-person appearance.
Whenever work is domestically or locally outsourced, companies can expect to see a few particular benefits. For instance, this way, it’s far more likely that your outsourced team will reside in the same (or a similar) time zone, as well as speak the same language. This can make the communications process far more straightforward, compared to if there was a language barrier or a significant difference in time zone.
For instance, maybe your company provides an outsourced worker (non-local) with simple outlines or instructions before leaving a particular task in their own hands. Then, you step back and allow the worker to tackle the project without intervention. This is easy to do since it’s more difficult to moderate an employee who isn’t physically available.
However, a language barrier can complicate these situations. Even if the worker you’ve hired is competent and an independent worker, it’s far easier to misinterpret instructions if a language barrier is in the way. In the end, the need for revision can slow down the process of completing a project or assignment. With local outsourcing, it’s simple to avoid these kinds of communication issues.
If any issues come up, and your company would like to bring a locally outsourced worker into the office, this is a viable option. It often isn’t necessary, of course — but many companies find it reassuring, knowing that this is on the table.
2. Offshore Outsourcing
Like the name would imply, when companies engage in offshore outsourcing, they’re working with individuals overseas. Typically, this involves bringing in workers from Asian nations, such as India.
When some business owners see the cost of offshore outsourcing, it can quickly seem like a tempting option. More often than not, offshore outsourcing is going to be the cheapest option available, if you’re looking to outsource work.
Nonetheless, before you jump straight into offshore outsourcing, it’s important to take the stipulations into account. When your new team is so far away, it’s much easier for communication issues to come into play. Maybe you give your outsourced workers a project to work on, as well as clear guidelines and expectations — or, at least, what you believe are clear guidelines and expectations. Then, once you receive the finished project, you’re surprised to find that it isn’t what you were looking for — not at all.
When it comes to the world of outsourced work, communication is one of the barest necessities. If this communication is at all strained, the entire relationship is bound to collapse. Not only will you face language and cultural barriers with offshore outsourcing, but the sheer size of the distance is also only going to make the situation worse. If there’s an emergency, and you need to work with your outsourced team, an in-person meeting is rarely an option. Traveling overseas is anything but quick and easy — it’s also expensive, and not every company can handle those kinds of travel costs.
3. Nearshore Professional Outsourcing
If you’re seeking out the middle ground between local and offshore outsourcing, nearshore is generally the way to go. Rather than bringing in workers from faraway regions, nearshore outsourcing allows companies to keep things just a bit closer to home — without actually being at home.
For example, outsourcing work to certain European countries would be considered nearshore outsourcing, if you’re an American company.
Or, you could welcome Latin American workers onto your team — this is another popular form of nearshore professional outsourcing. That’s where Virtual Latinos comes into play. Whenever you work with one of our highly qualified Latin American VAs, you can expect the following perks:
- Virtual assistants who have undergone digital marketing certification and training, through U.S.-based courses
- The chance to work with a VA who is in either the same or a similar time zone
- The knowledge that your Latin American VA is a college graduate
- Lower costs than if you hired a domestic virtual assistant
- No more language barrier — our VAs are tested in English and are fully bilingual
- The option to choose between either direct or assisted hiring
- A wide selection of VAs with strong marketing prowess and experience, hand-picked by us
Outsourcing Solutions Come in Different Forms
Not only can the proximity of your outsourced team vary, depending upon the needs and preference of your business — it’s also possible to choose between several forms of outsourcing solutions.
Call Centers or Contact Centers
While call centers and contact centers aren’t exactly the same, they’re similar modes of outsourcing.
A call center is exactly what it sounds like: a department tasked with handling inbound and outbound customer or client calls. It’s certainly not unheard of for companies (especially larger corporations) to outsource their call centers. Often, these centers can be found in India, which is a top pick for large-scale, offshore outsourcing.
Traditionally, the individuals you find in a call center are customer service professionals, focused primarily on answering customer inquiries. Still, this isn’t the only kind of call a representative may be faced with. Call center representatives can also handle debt collection, telemarketing, billing, and more — it all depends upon the needs of your business.
While it is possible for call centers to exist internally, it’s often the case that they’re outsourced.
A contact center, on the other hand, has some similarities to call centers — just with some added advantages. Much like a call center, a contact center is tasked with managing both inbound and outbound interactions between customers and your company.
However, contact center workers aren’t limited to phone calls alone. Instead, these centers take advantage of the many modes of digital communication, now available to the wider public. Contact center workers might use channels such as apps, messaging, email, texting, social media, and other forms of online interaction. Of course, they’ll also handle phone calls.
Like a call center, a contact center can be an internal fixture of a business — still, this often isn’t the case. It’s common for contact centers to be outsourced as well.
Virtual Assistant Companies
So, we’ve already drawn attention to virtual assistantship — but what does it entail, exactly? What sets virtual assistant companies, such as Virtual Latinos, apart from other outsourcing solutions?
Generally, VAs will assist businesses with routine tasks — duties that are important to a functioning company but can be tedious and time-consuming to perform. Depending on the type of business and its current needs, virtual assistants might handle business development, administrative tasks, marketing, social media management, and more.
The tasks virtual assistants can handle are vast. Maybe you’ve learned that scheduling and coordinating appointments is the bane of your existence — and not only that, but due to your lack of experience or efficiency, these calls end up consuming several hours of work, each and every week. This could all be remedied simply by hiring a virtual assistant, who can handle these phone calls with experience and ease. Just like that, you’ve freed up several hours of your time to focus on other areas of growing your business.
By working with a virtual assistant, it’s easier than ever for your business to focus on what matters most: Providing services or products to your clients. Whenever you’re bogged down by monotonous tasks (such as administrative work or keeping your social media up to date), it’s too easy to lose sight of your strategic goals. Instead, you’re devoting most of your time to these background details, rather than focusing on the actual core of your business. Virtual assistants make it far easier to grow your company, much more quickly.
In fact, it’s even possible for your virtual assistant to directly aid you in growing your business. For example, your assistant might utilize LinkedIn to help you research potential leads. This is especially useful if you’re the owner of a B2B company and need to keep a list of prospective clients. Then, if you’re looking to enhance your proposals, your VA can take care of designing clean, effective presentations.
Small businesses, especially, can benefit from working with a virtual assistant. At this stage, your biggest goal is likely to grow and expand your company — this growth is going to be far more sluggish if you’re distracted by routine tasks. Plus, your small business might not have the funds to hire full-time employees or provide training and a physical workspace. Hiring a VA solves this issue, as it is far less costly than bringing in full-time employees — and although you’re saving money, it’s still possible to receive professional work of the highest caliber. It’s a win-win.
Project-based outsourcing has also been steadily gaining popularity, thanks to the internet. Maybe you’ve heard of sites like Fivver and Upwork — both of these services fall into the “project-based outsourcing” category.
When a worker is brought on to tackle project-based outsourcing, they’ll generally only be responsible for a single project. Once this project has been completed, they’ve finished their duties. While virtual assistants manage routine tasks over extended periods of time, the writer you just hired on Fivver will provide you with the specific copy you asked for — generally for a one-time payment.
Sites like Fivver have a variety of other uses, however. If you’re in the process of designing your new company logo, but lack sufficient experience in graphic design, it’s easy to hop on over to a project-based outsourcing service. This is especially useful when you lack someone on your team who has the necessary skill set, but you need the task performed, urgently.
Or, maybe you’re hoping to create a short video to help showcase your company and its services. This is another type of instance where you might turn to a project-based outsourcing service. All you need to do is find a video editor with experience in creating advertisements and other professional videos.
Keep in mind that, rather than handling duties that might be part of a larger project, project-based outsourcing gives workers responsibility for the entire project. From start to finish, the outsourced worker will take care of the project at hand — rather than honing in on specific components or details.
Contract Vs. Full-Time Outsourcing
Finally, it’s possible for outsourced workers to work with your company on a full-time basis, or to take the role of contract employees. Sometimes, outsourced workers will be hired based on a project-based contract — much like we described above, with project-based outsourcing.
Still, it’s also possible for workers to become full team members, taking on a long-term role within the company structure. This is often the case for virtual assistants, for instance.
Contract-to-hire is another option, in which the outsourced worker starts out as a contractor, before becoming a full-time team member, later down the road.
How Outsourcing to Call Centers Can Impact Your Business
Let’s take a look back at call centers. Like we’ve mentioned, call centers have been a popular option for outsourced work — however, in more ways than one, they’re becoming a less favorable system. After all, call centers tend to neglect some of the core duties of modern-day business interactions.
The Pros of Outsourcing to Call Centers, as a Business
You’ll Save Money
Typically, call centers are going to be outsourced to regions with a significantly lower cost of living — India is the most common option when corporations are looking to outsource their centers.
If you’re going to manage a call center, you’ll pay less money when you opt for offshore outsourcing. Alternatively, internal call centers necessitate that you pay for full- or part-time employees — this will almost always be the pricier option. Outsourced call centers allow companies to save on infrastructure, operational, labor, and overhead costs.
Call Volume Will Be Easier to Manage
When you experience periods with high call volumes, it’s useful to have an outsourced team to help you out. This way, overflow calls can be more easily answered — this is just one way to begin improving business-customer relations, if that’s a concern for your company. Your internal workers are going to be placed under considerably less pressure, as well — all these phone calls will be taken out of their hands, so that they can concentrate on other duties.
It isn’t unheard of for businesses to experience an unexpected surge in calls, which their current staff might be unable to handle. For instance, maybe you’ve just released a new product or service, and word has spread quicker than you’d anticipated. Missing calls from potential customers can be detrimental since these individuals likely don’t have any existing loyalties to your business. If they can’t get through to you, the potential client might simply give up. In this case, a call center could handle the overflow.
You Can Focus Less on Staffing Hassles
With an internal call center comes the need to address all the typical hassles of hiring. You’ll need to handle the hiring process, as well as training, managing, and scheduling.
On the other hand, the external provider you work with will likely take care of all these responsibilities, if you choose to outsource your center.
The Cons of Outsourcing to Call Centers, as a Business
Although benefits do exist, outsourced call centers come with their fair share of flaws. Here are just a few key examples.
Limited Company Knowledge
Every company has its own unique culture, as well as values and practices. If your call center is run by individuals within the company, they’re going to be deeply familiar with this culture, and all that it entails — after all, they’re a part of it.
Outsourced agents, however, aren’t going to have this strong connection to your company. When an outsourced call center worker lacks dedication, there’s a fair chance that the customer service they provide will be lacking. Their service might not match the standards set by your company, and it could be an inaccurate representation of the company culture.
The Agent Isn’t Focused on Your Business
Issues of divided attention are also common when it comes to offshore call centers. Agents might be responsible for the calls of several clients — not just your own. This can lead call center workers to put less of their attention and effort toward your business’s inbound and outbound calls.
You’re Sacrificing Control Over Core Business Functions
By handing over call center operations to someone else, you’re sacrificing much of the responsibility for how the center functions. Some companies may see this is as a benefit — less work for them.
Still, there’s a lot of trust that must be involved for this process to run smoothly. For instance, you could be losing the ability to keep tabs on quality assurance, or the ability to create policies that promote customer satisfaction.
Currently, it could be the case that the call center workers are answering the phone in a way that feels uninviting to callers. If the call center was internal, it would be far simpler for you to directly receive customer complaints, so that adjustments could be made. However, if the call center has been outsourced, these issues are more likely to go unresolved.
Cultural or Linguistic Barriers Are Likely
Seeing as many outsourced call centers are offshore, it can result in cultural and linguistic barriers, between the workers and your customers. If the call center agents lack key cultural knowledge, or if they’re not fluent in English, this can make it more difficult for them to clearly communicate with customers.
How Outsourcing to Call Centers Impacts Employees
Businesses aren’t the only ones impacted by outsourcing call centers. Whenever an employer decides to take this leap, they should first consider how their own employees will be affected.
The Pros of Outsourcing to Call Centers, for Employees
Sometimes, high call volume is an issue your center will be faced with. These instances could be triggered by a number of factors, including (but not limited to):
- Bad weather
- Special promotions
This can put a fair deal of stress on internal workers, and it can be difficult for you to bring in more individuals. However, an outsourced call center can allow you to take some pressure off your employees’ shoulders. If the number of seats needs to be adjusted (due to high volume), your contractor will likely be able to do this.
Less of a Burden on HR and Management
Outsourcing your call center can also take some stress away from those in HR and management positions — they won’t need to handle the staffing concerns that come as a result of an internal center.
The Cons of Outsourcing to Call Centers, for Employees
Unfortunately, it’s possible (if not likely) that outsourcing a call center will cut down on internal jobs. With lower costs, it can be tempting for companies to rely entirely on offshore agents, rather than internal employees.
The Effect of Outsourcing to Virtual Assistants (on Your Business)
Deciding to outsource a call center is definitely a different experience, compared to bringing in a virtual assistant. Sure, both of these are methods of outsourcing work — in practice, however, the impact on your business (both positive and negative) is going to vary.
The Pros of Outsourcing to Virtual Assistants (as a Business)
Often, the decision to work with a virtual assistant is going to have a highly positive impact on your company — here are just a few reasons why.
This is actually a primary incentive for many businesses that decide to hire a virtual assistant — it’s a fantastic way to improve productivity by a large margin. Routine tasks can be tackled by your VA, taking mundane duties out of your own hands. Instead, you’ll have more time to focus on the overall objectives and goals of your business — the tasks that only you know how to perform.
Jobs such as speaking with clients and scheduling appointments, on the other hand, can just as easily be handled by a VA. Actually, a VA will likely be able to complete these duties with greater efficiency and ease — this is where their experience lies. You also won’t need to worry about training your virtual assistant, as this will already be taken care of by the VA agency, prior to the assistant joining your team.
VAs Are Highly Trained Professionals
In a similar vein, keep in mind that virtual assistants aren’t just anyone — they’re professionals with extensive experience and training. With a VA, you can remain confident that the tasks you assign will be performed exceptionally well.
Experience Flexible Services
Virtual assistant services are also highly flexible. Your VA is working from their own home, and you’ll be able to get in touch with them at almost any time. You and your VA can work together and determine which hours of the day are most convenient for both of you. Then, work hours can take place whenever you and your VA have time. This is far less rigid of a schedule than if you were dealing with a full-time, in-person employee.
If you have unconventional hours, for instance, this could be especially beneficial. Maybe you have a busy family life during the day and need to take care of your business in the evening or night. Due to the flexibility of a VA, you can seek out someone able to accommodate this schedule. That way, you can quickly and easily get in touch with your assistant as soon as you need them.
It Costs Less Than Hiring Full-Time Employees
Hiring full-time employees is expensive — that’s no secret if you’re a business owner. You’ll need to pay their salary, benefits package, training, and more. With a virtual assistant, you’ll have considerably fewer expenses to cover, in order to receive top-notch work.
The Cons of Outsourcing to Virtual Assistants (as a Business)
Naturally, virtual assistantships aren’t perfect. So, here are a few variables to keep in mind, before hiring your own VA.
Less In-Person Communication, If Any
Some employers might be bothered by the lack of in-person communication, when it comes to hiring and working with a VA. While some companies are comfortable staying in touch through remote methods, others might be prone to miscommunication. Whenever miscommunication does occur, of course, the efficiency and accuracy of your VA’s work are going to suffer.
Technical issues can also be more difficult to troubleshoot, if you’re managing a fully remote worker, such as a virtual assistant.
While hiring a nearshore VA can eliminate most of this issue, there’s still a risk of cultural or linguistic barriers. To be fair, this can even be a problem with domestic outsourcing — if someone’s in a different region of the country, there’s a chance that cultural or linguistic norms are going to vary. This could result in miscommunication.
The Effect of Outsourcing to Virtual Assistants (on Employees)
Your full-time employees will also feel the effects of you bringing a VA onto the team. But how are they actually impacted? Can hiring a virtual assistant truly help out your internal employees?
The Pros of Outsourcing to Virtual Assistants (as an Employee)
Lower Stress Levels
With fewer responsibilities comes lower levels of stress for your full-time workers. They won’t need to devote so much time to routine tasks, which can quickly pile up and become overwhelming.
Less Time Spent on Administrative Tasks
Along those same lines, virtual assistants can remove the need for your current employees to tackle administrative tasks, on top of their other work. It isn’t uncommon for admin responsibilities to expand as your business grows, leaving you with more than your workforce can reasonably handle.
The Cons of Outsourcing to Virtual Assistants (as an Employee)
Language or Cultural Barriers Between VAs and Employees
Again, make sure to consider the possibility of language or cultural barriers — not just between you and the VA, but also between the VA and your other workers. Collaboration is going to be considerably more strenuous and prone to miscommunication, whenever these barriers come into play.
Lack of Supervision
In a sense, the lack of supervision over your virtual assistant could be seen as a downside. Nonetheless, remember that VAs are typically highly trained professionals — not just anyone can go on to become a VA, without the proper qualifications and experience. Even without constant supervision, there’s a strong chance that your virtual assistant will be able to perform their duties with relative ease.
Determining the Best Outsourcing Solution for Your Business
So, maybe you’re interested in outsourcing work, but you aren’t sure which road to take. Taking all the information we’ve provided into account, make sure to reflect on the following factors:
- The needs and objectives of your company
- The current stage of your business, in its journey toward growth
- Whether you’d like to prioritize quality services or put more importance on saving money
Why Latin American VAs Are the Best Option for U.S. Companies
Have you decided that a virtual assistant is the outsourcing solution for you? Even then, you’re going to be left with more than a few options. Seeing as it’s a fully remote position, you have the freedom to hire from anywhere in the world. Unsure where to start? Consider getting in touch with a Latin American VA, such as the highly qualified professionals at Virtual Latinos.
An important factor is the cultural compatibility between Latin America and the United States. Certainly, it’s a far narrower rift than with locations that are much further away — for instance, the United States and India. These cultural similarities can work to your company’s advantage, as it will generally be easier to stay on the same page and communicate effectively with your VA. With fewer bouts of miscommunication, comes fewer lags in workflow.
Virtual Latinos is Your Go-To Outsourcing & Virtual Assistant Company
The truth is, not all outsourcing companies are created equal — some services are certainly more reliable than others. Virtual Latinos is proud to be the best option out there, when it comes to virtual assistant services. Need more evidence? We’ll give you the rundown.
Highly Personalized Services
If you’re looking for one of the top ways Virtual Latinos stands out from the crowd, it’s our dedication to personalized services. We aren’t going to dish out VAs blindly, without considering the unique needs and objectives of your company. While all our VAs are masters of their field, they might not specialize in exactly what you’re looking for. So, we make sure to tailor our services to each individual client.
Before introducing you to your new virtual assistant, Virtual Latinos takes the time to get to know you, our client. In fact, all our clients are provided a one-on-one consultation, in order for us to get the strongest and most accurate feel for your goals.
Then, we’ll even go on to take care of the hard work for you. Using the knowledge we’ve gathered, Virtual Latinos is prepared to write the job post, as well as find, interview, and select the best VA candidates for your company.
Compared to domestic virtual assistants, you can expect to pay 40% to 75% less — those savings are huge, and they’ll only add up over time. Additionally, we’re 30% to 50% less expensive than internal hires or freelance market professionals.
Build Long-Term Relationships
Virtual Latinos values professionalism and strives to build and maintain strong relationships with our clients. We’re not just in this for the short-term — we’re eager to watch your business thrive and grow, throughout a long-term relationship with us.
Seeing as Virtual Latinos takes care of the hiring work — and then your VA handles the duties you’ve assigned to them — you’ll find that the time savings will also add up.
The Benefits of Hiring a Virtual Assistant
By hiring your company’s own virtual assistant, you’re able to lift some of the work burdens from employees. Whenever you avoid overburdening your own staff, work is going to get done quicker and more efficiently.
If you’re hoping to see your business continue to grow, speed is one of the most valuable assets to have. However, it’s not exactly fair to put this sort of pressure on your staff, as they juggle a variety of important duties. A virtual assistant can take over this side of the job, allowing for a more reasonable balance of duties, between employees and outsourced workers. Plus, virtual assistants are often highly skilled at getting work done quickly, without sacrificing quality in the process.
Busting a Myth: Do Virtual Assistants Take Employee Jobs?
To those who are currently VA skeptics, you might even believe that virtual assistants are going to take away jobs from full-time employees. This is actually one of the most pervasive misconceptions when it comes to how VAs actually fit into the workplace. Rather than steal jobs from existing employees, having a virtual assistant on your team can make it possible to get more projects done — and, again, there’s no need to skimp on quality.
Think of it this way: Like the name would imply, the core purpose of a virtual assistant is to assist your business with some of your most repetitive day-to-day tasks. A VA isn’t intended to replace employees and the integral work that they perform for your company.
Currently, you might not have time to stay on top of your social media profiles. If you’re a small business owner, in particular, this can be detrimental to the success of your company. Even still, it’s an easy duty to neglect — after all, aren’t you busy enough managing the operations of your business, like securing sales and providing services to clients?
If you hire a virtual assistant, this is an issue that could be quickly and easily resolved. Your new VA can ensure that your social media presence is strong, while you pour all your attention into other areas of running your business. No need for any current employees to be replaced. Instead, your VA is simply taking over a routine task that was being neglected.
Virtual Assistants Are All Around the World
If you’re hiring for standard business operations, there’s a strong chance that your search is geographically limited. After all, if you’re expecting your employees to come into the office on a regular basis, this isn’t going to be feasible if they live on the other side of the world.
Still, whenever you limit your search like this, you’re probably missing out on a slew of highly skilled workers, who are perfect for the job you’re looking to get done. This is another one of the top benefits of hiring a virtual assistant: You no longer have to work around tight geographical limitations, since the job is performed remotely. Instead, you can focus on finding the individual who’s best suited to the job.
For U.S.-based companies, Latin American VAs are a popular option — and rightfully so. Not only are Latin American virtual assistants growing in numbers, but they’re also some of the most skilled and highly qualified VAs out there.
As a bonus, Latin American VAs are more likely to be within your same time zone. This certainly isn’t the case if you hire an Indian or South Asian assistant, for example. Although it’s possible to work with a VA in a different time zone, it tends to make communications and collaboration far more tedious than they truly need to be. After all, isn’t the point of hiring a VA to make things easier for your company?
Hire a Virtual Assistant Through Virtual Latinos Today
Virtual Latinos is proud to provide our clients with the most skilled and highly qualified virtual professionals available. Our VAs are from all over Latin America, including Mexico, Costa Rica, Argentina, Cuba, and many others.
Getting in touch with us is easy — all you need to do is fill out the contact form on the Virtual Latinos site, and we’ll make sure to get back to you.