10 Questions You Should Ask before You Hire an Outsourcing Firm

1. Infrastructure what type of infrastructure do they have in place?

Do they have backup redundancy built into their infrastructure, when dealing with international developing countries their electrical network, will have stability issues. When hiring somebody awfully international bulletin board, often times which are hiring is someone that’s working at home, with  a DSL, and Skype connection as their infrastructure.

A well-established company will have multiple backup redundancies in place, both battery, as well as generators they can operate on multiple fuel sources. Their Internet connectivity should be multiple carrier fiber-optic, and their phone system should be an enterprise call center phone system, with multiple backup servers in place. With infrastructure the keywords are contingency plans, multiple pathways and multiple backups plans.

2. US Presence and International office

There are many companies that do international outsourcing, that only Presence, in one of the countries that they’re doing business. From just a cultural perspective this can add a lot of challenges, not to mention operational, and legal ramifications. I know some companies that have.

US-based only and have no presence overseas, in essence their outsourcing their outsourcing. This creates significant operational barriers you need to make sure that the company the your hiring has the management team in place to fill the promises that they’re making.

Equally important is to have a company that has a US presence, dealing with somebody that strictly overseas can add a lot of cultural and language barriers. Not to mention possible legal ramifications of overseas violations might take place.

3. How will I train my virtual assistant?

Certainly any virtual assistant you hire has to have some basic fundamental skills sets. However, each business has its own nuances of how it operates in tasks that need to be performed. To properly acquire the skill sets your virtual assistants going to need to be trained. Does the company have a training program in place to help you facilitate this key ingredient in your business. Do they have a means of teaching me how to teach my virtual assistant?  This is the question you should be asking.

A well-established virtual assistant company will have a set protocol of how they not only on board new employees, but having also on board new customers. Another words some type of training and mentoring program to help you understand how to get the most out of working with your virtual assistant.

 4. If my VA leaves who is going to train my next one

Does the company have in place the ability to get a replacement virtual assistant for you in the event that your primary virtual assistant is out ill, taking a vacation, or leaving the company altogether. Make sure that the company not only trains your virtual assistant on how to work with you, but also allows for additional bandwidth for other employees to learn operational requirements of your company.

5. Will I have a manager assigned to me?

It’s critical to understand, when you’re hiring an overseas company what is their management that’s in place. How interactive are they with their client base. If something were to go wrong, what is a set of coarse actions that are in place to help me get things fixed and moving forward. Again these should all be contingencies that a well-run outsourcing firm has in place for their clients.

6. What type of phone system do you have?

Make sure when you are hiring a company that they have an enterprise phone system in place. That has the ability to monitor your agents, as well as record telephone calls. So that you can hear how does my virtual assistant interact with my clients. Is a redundancy built into your phone system.

7. Can I call my VA directly from my phone?

Some virtual assistant companies make it challenging to speak to the person it’s actually doing the work. Make sure that you have the ability to pick up and dialed the US-based telephone number and speak immediately to your virtual assistant if that’s something that’s desired. Many virtual assistant companies want to correspond entirely through e-mail. If that’s not your preferred way of communicating you might find this very frustrating. Make sure that whoever you hire is going to communicate with you and you want to communicate.

8. What type of support tools does your company have in place?

Make sure that any company you hire, has a comprehensive system to track the results and they are generating for you. They should provide you with some type of CRM system, and a project management tool.

9. What are your strengths and weaknesses?

Just as any company should be familiar with and said they’re good at, they should also be open and honest with you about areas that they’re not very good. Having a company that open about things that are really strong, but yet at the same time honest enough to tell you areas that they need to improve, can be a good sign when you’re dealing with a reputable company.

10. Do you have any referrals or existing customers like to speak with?

Make sure that any company you hire, will openly and freely share referral sources from you of existing customers that are currently using their service. Make sure that they’re also providing you with customers that are doing a service similar to what you’re thinking of hiring them for.

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