Property Management Virtual Assistants | Best Practices in Management
Businesses around the globe outsource their workforce to virtual assistants (VAs) because of the many benefits, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. In these challenging times, companies are searching for solutions to create flexible yet productive workforces. As a result, remote workforces built on outsourced virtual assistants are on the rise. It’s no wonder then that property management virtual assistants have become a trend in the property management industry.
Property management companies are constantly looking for ways to reduce costs while still delivering quality service. Outsourcing property management assistants offshore is one way a property management company can reduce their operational costs and improve their service standards. The main objective of purple powered Virtual Assistant (ppVA) is to help property management business owners hire high-quality, fully trained property management virtual assistants who can help businesses achieve their goals.
Many property management businesses use virtual assistants in their day-to-day operations. Whether it is one VA or a team of VAs, the ability to manage them is paramount. Here are five best practices to manage virtual assistants, so you get the benefits and advantages that come with outsourcing.
#1: DEFINE A PROPERTY MANAGEMENT VIRTUAL ASSISTANT’S ROLE
What role does your property management virtual assistant have in your company? Sometimes companies do not achieve their desired results when they outsource a virtual assistant because their VA’s role is not defined.
We all know that there are hundreds of tasks and subtasks when managing rental properties. Usually, tasks are sequential or shared amongst the property management team. Regardless, tasks must be done consistently and promptly. With so many tasks, you need to know who should complete them and when. Doing this helps define your property management virtual assistant’s role.
Property management tasks include tenancy applications, new rental property listings, new managements, tenant vacates, maintenance and rental property inspections. Most of these tasks have administration components. The ireviloution – property management business solutions refers to these administration components as ‘non-dollar-producing’ tasks. It is these types of tasks that should be allocated to your property management virtual assistant.
ppVA has a list of tasks and subtasks suitable for virtual assistants. When your virtual assistant’s role includes non-dollar-producing tasks, it allows your property managers to be more focused on tasks that help your business produce income. This is the reason why property managers’ roles should centre on clients and growth, or ‘dollar-producing’ tasks. Having clear role descriptions is the best practice for any business.
#2: MAKE THEM A TASKMASTER
After planning and defining your property management virtual assistant’s role, the next step is to have them master their role. How does an outsourced property management assistant master their role?
First, make sure each task is broken down into smaller subtasks. Generally, people have different learning styles. So, it is best to explain as well as demonstrate each part of a task. Without a doubt, practical experience is essential. You should give feedback along the way too.
ppVA strongly recommends that property management virtual assistants are taught each task they will be required to do. Every task should then be practised by the VA until they achieve the required level of proficiency. When assessing task proficiency, look for accuracy, consistency and timeliness. If errors are made, a task may need to be demonstrated again. Only when a task is mastered should the next task be undertaken. Don’t try to get your virtual assistant to master everything at once.
Mastering a task does take time and can vary between people. Your VA should practice each part of a task then put all the parts together into one seamless process. Mastering each task is considered one of the top best practices in managing property management virtual assistants.
#3: COMMUNICATE OFTEN WITH YOUR PROPERTY MANAGEMENT ASSISTANTS
Communication is at the heart of every success story. And, it is no different here. ppVA recommends communicating with your property management virtual assistant as much or as little as required. While that is a broad statement, it suggests that the frequency of communication will change over time. For example, when a virtual assistant is new to a property management business, the frequency of communication may be greater. It may even require communicating with them multiple times a day. However, as they master each task and gain more experience, communication will likely reduce. The frequency in which you communicate with your in-office team should indicate how often you communicate with your virtual assistant.
ppVA recommends that you communicate with your virtual assistant at least once daily. As a minimum standard, virtually meet with your VA each morning to review and guide their upcoming day’s work. There are many great platforms to use, such as Zoom, Skype, WhatsApp, Microsoft Teams. Additionally, don’t forget to include your virtual assistant in all relevant team meetings. Even if they are not physically present in your office, they are still part of your property management team, so treat them accordingly. The best practice is to communicate with your VA often.
#4: TREAT THEM LIKE AN IN-OFFICE TEAM MEMBER
Often companies seeking the benefits that come with engaging the services of a virtual assistant think that all they need to do is set up their VA and let them do their thing. In such cases, it usually ends in disaster for the company in terms of financial cost and poor experience. Like all employees, supervision is a must. While virtual assistants are dedicated, loyal, and committed, supervision is still an essential part of managing them.
Supervision ensures that your virtual assistant complies with your company’s policies, procedures and systems. It also helps your VA feel supported and improves their knowledge and skills related to their role. Good supervision makes your virtual assistant feel like a valued part of your property management team and helps them know when they are doing a good job. Providing supportive supervision to your property management virtual assistant is another best practice of managing them successfully.
#5: TRAIN THEM AND THEN TRAIN THEM SOME MORE
Training your staff brings many benefits, including improving performance, increasing productivity, boosting employee job satisfaction and reducing employee turnover. When it comes to managing virtual assistants, it is best to provide your VA with purposeful and structured training.
Property Management Academy (PMA) provides training specifically designed to teach the ‘how’ and ‘why’ of property management. ppVA puts their property management virtual assistants through this leading academy’s Service and Operations training, which consists of 28 courses. These courses cover topics ranging from tenancy applications to tenants vacating rental properties.
Although ppVAs receive quality training, nothing substitutes hands-on, on-the-job training. Jo-Anne Oliveri, an industry award-winning ‘Coach of the Year’, helps property management companies train and coach new property management virtual assistants. She ensures that each virtual assistant is competent in their designated role and seamlessly transitioned into a team. Training property management virtual assistants is a must and best practice to manage their performance.
Outsourcing property management virtual assistants definitely come with lots of advantages. However, employing them alone does not guarantee business success, which is why ppVA seeks out quality virtual assistants and makes them complete the PMA’s Service and Operations training before they start working.
Purple powered VAs offer property management companies a great foundation to build their operations. When you manage your property management virtual assistant using the best practices outlined in this article, you can rest assured that your business will reap the rewards.