BY AARON KANE
A mid all the paperwork and reporting, advisors can feel like they have very little time to focus on the most important part of their job: client service. And as your business grows, so do your administrative responsibilities. To provide your clients best-in-class service when grappling with mounds of work, try hiring virtual assistants to do the work the client doesn’t see. By prioritizing your client service skills, you and your team can get greater enjoyment out of your work while increasing office productivity.
Designate your priorities
Before hiring any new virtual staff members, you and your team need to take some time to determine which high-priority tasks you need help completing, and what you can continue to manage. Take some time to think about tasks you spend a good chunk of time on that aren’t client service-related. For example, if you spend 5 hours a week calling third-party insur-ance providers, that’s 5 hours you could be communicating with clients or meeting with your team. Determine which daily tasks you and your team can pass to the virtual team that will help you all feel more satisfied in your positions.
Once you and your team have identified the tasks you will pass on to the virtual assistant(s), you can begin hiring and onboarding. The hiring process can be fairly simple — find an online outsourcing resource, such as VA Platinum (vaplatinum.com.au), and follow their procedure for hiring virtual assis-tants, or VAs. Most outsourcing companies have a process to help determine both your needs and what the VA’s can best help with. Having an idea of what you want them to help with beforehand will streamline the process and get the VAs on your team sooner.
When onboarding, there will be a lot of detailed information that the VAs need to know before getting started. To streamline the onboarding process, I use an online software: Monday.com. Software like Monday.com helps organize tasks and information that the offshore team will need. For example, we use the software to give our VAs access to our process guide library containing all of the information on our clients, the third-party companies we work with, projects similar to what they’ll work on, etc. This library allows us to onboard VAs without requiring hours of our time to get them up to speed.
After the VAs have learned the ins and outs of your business, you can set up their daily tasks on a platform like Monday.com as well. Start with simple, non-client facing tasks, such as administration services or organizing email inboxes. This will help them get a feel for your firm and the style of work. Many onboarding programs also allow you to track the progress of an ongoing project, so you have an idea of approximately how long it may take the VAs to complete a specific task. As they become more comfortable with your business and the profession, they will spend less time overall on projects. Then, you can begin to ramp up the type and amount of work they do daily.
The more your virtual assistants can comprehend the intricacies of financial or other services, the greater service they can provide you. For example, my VAs now take prospecting calls, send emails, run credit files and more, because they have a handle on the information that they need to share and record. Though the work that they do may be mostly invisible to clients, it makes a world of a difference for both me and my staff.
The work taken on by our virtual assistants helped my onshore team grow into new roles with greater responsibilities. Due to their increased availability, my onshore team has been able to offer much better client service and they enjoy their jobs now more than ever. Client service is why most of them became financial professionals, so being able to work primarily on those relationships makes their jobs more fulfilling. They are completing tasks that align with their skills, so they are able to spend more time refining their skills and looking for areas of growth in this field. Although clients may be unaware of the amount of administration and compliance work that goes on in the background, advisors often spend countless hours buried in paperwork. This can sometimes lead to clients feeling neglected by their advisor, as the advisor may not always be available. By outsourcing management of more tedious tasks to virtual assistants, you give yourself and your onshore team more time to tend to client needs and improve the efficiency of your practice.
AARON KANE, FChFP, B Bus, Dip, FS, is a director and shareholder at EK Financial Group in Victoria, Australia. Aaron is a 7-year MDRT member and was a 2013 finalist in the Money Management “Young Achiever of the Year Award.”