How to Make the Most of a VA Service in Japan
A candid conversation with a long-time professional assistant on how to make the most of a VA service. We sat down with one of our best bilingual assistants for insider tips on working with your virtual assistant. Here is what she had to say!
Q: Aside from the obvious benefits of an assistant, what are other advantages that clients can expect?
Virtual assistants abide by a high standard of confidentiality—I can't overstate this. For instance, you might feel uncomfortable asking a Japanese colleague, family member, or acquaintance for help with some private research or even work-related task that you've been putting off for too long. Your concern could be a matter of privacy or because you do not wish to strain a relationship with an acquaintance with whom you only have loose ties. For these reasons and many more, a virtual assistant is the perfect choice for getting you the answers you have long been wanting to ask about and for helping you with navigating Japan's complex business structure and culture.
Q: What is the best way to ensure a smooth task handoff?
I think it all starts with a thorough onboarding call, where we get to know you, your company, your preferred communication method (Slack, Skype, What’sApp, etc.), and the background of the type of tasks you are looking for help with.
Q: What is your perspective on the work or tasks that you get assigned?
As a bilingual assistant working in Japan, my primary clients are foreigners, and I keep that awareness in mind with all I do. There are many challenges involved with being a foreign national living in a country like Japan where so little is translated into English. So with that in mind, I endeavor to convey the information they have requested in a really warm and easy-to-understand manner when completing tasks.
Q: What is one thing you want clients to know about the work you do for them?
If we don't find the answer that our clients are looking for, we do extensive research so that we can always suggest alternatives. And we try to focus on replying to research tasks and other questions in a way that is easy for the client to answer. For instance, we say things like, "In Case A, we would suggest doing X. But if Case B is relevant, we would suggest Y." This gives the client a better understanding of their options and makes it easier for them to evaluate and decide on their next step.
Q: What is a project you have completed that readers might not associate with virtual assistants?
For one client, I was assigned the task of researching import procedures and regulations for importing certain items. I learned many things and found that research task quite fascinating. I am also regularly asked to check contracts, translate presentations, create data spreadsheets in excel, communicate with lawyers and accountants, etc.
Q: To close, is there anything else you want to mention about being a personal assistant?
I often hear that people don't know what to ask for when it comes to a personal assistant. Perhaps you are wondering, "If only I could do X, my life in Japan would be easier…" Or "I'm probably not allowed to do X in Japan…" If these thoughts have ever crossed your mind, that's where your bilingual virtual assistant can help you. We will look into your question and tell you as much about the answer based on the information we have gathered. From there, you can then decide whether to request new tasks based on the research we provide. You only stand to gain from asking a personal assistant for help!
For more on TokyoMate’s Assistant service, check out this article “Not Your Usual Virtual Assistant Service” on what sets us apart from other VA services in Tokyo.
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