Virtual assistants are not only great in rendering administrative work. Today’s virtual assistants have more skill and ability and not just limited to typing, calendar management and appointment setting. You can hire a Virtual Assistant for any service your business needs.
A virtual assistance service that is gaining popularity is outbound marketing. This covers sales, surveys, appointment setting, after- sales service and customer support.
Some of the best talents you can find are Filipino virtual assistants. The Philippines is considered the world leader in outsourced outbound services because the quality of English is very high and Filipinos by nature are gracious and respectful.
However it appears to be standard practice for virtual assistants to modify their accent and change their names. Virtual assistants are often required by clients to copy the accent of the host country and to make their names more “foreign sounding”.
There are actually schools and in-house training programs that help Filipinos change their natural English speaking accent to that of an American, a Briton or an Australian. “Roberto” becomes “Bob” and “Leonora” becomes “Ellen”.
But are these absolutely necessary? Does becoming someone you’re not guarantee success?
The answer is “No” and for the following reasons:
“Fool Me Once…” It’s very difficult to hide a foreign accent even if you’ve spent months honing your craft. And even if you do sound American, British or Australian, your fellow virtual assistants may not be as skilled or gifted.
A customer can easily find out if you are a native English speaker or not. And the consequences are great if your cover is blown. Pretending to be someone you’re not is not the best way to establish trust and credibility with the customer.
You Can’t Be Yourself – The key to making a successful sale, extending great customer service and resolving issues lies in the Virtual Assistant’s ability to establish a relationship.
It is very difficult to establish a relationship if you have to speak in a fake accent, assume a different persona and read through spiels and scripts.
The best way to succeed is to allow the VA to be herself. She has to be allowed to empathize with the customer so she can give an honest feedback.
There is nothing honest about a fake accent, a bogus identity and prepared scripts.
Outsourcing is an Accepted Practice. Outsourcing has been a go-to strategy for businesses that want to reduce cost. It is not a novel idea. In fact, the global outsourcing industry is estimated to be worth $250 Million.
Foreign companies that want to outsource and cut costs further turn to service providers in the Philippines and India; the perennial top 2 nations in global outsourcing.
So why hide it?
If a customer asks, “Are you a Filipino Agent?”
What do you think his response would be if your Filipino Virtual Assistant says, “No sir. I’m from Long Island, New York.”
It’s obvious already that the customer suspects. Do not take further risks by continuing the charade.
Companies have virtual assistants speak in foreign accents, assume fake identities and read scripts because they are afraid of making mistakes. But the more you hide the truth the greater the probability of mistakes happening.
Keep everything simple. Ditch the smoke and mirrors and be upfront and transparent with the customer.