Key to Successful Outsourcing : Effective Communication!
One of the key to successful outsourcing is effective communication. Effective virtual staff / client communications can totally change the way that you and your business work. Leveraging through staff is a key which ultimately can save and make you a lot of money, time, and resources. However, it can also be disastrous. I learned this lesson myself the hard way. I asked a new guy about developing an SEO plan, the next thing I knew, instead of a plan, he started spamming my full real name across the web. This really made me realise that poor communication can actually cost you so much more than simply the hourly rate that you pay that staff member.
For several people, hiring, delegating, and managing are totally new skill sets to discover and to master. There are certain tasks that look so easy but maybe confusing if you don’t understand. Hiring an SEO worker without understanding the basics can be disastrous as I found out.
Although it often seems like it is the staff making the mistakes, ultimately the problems are with the employer. There is no point blaming the staff for doing the wrong thing if sufficient guidance wasn’t given. A good boss in outsourcing knows or quickly learns to double check that the staff not only has a map, but the right map and the skills to read it.
Complete information and instruction are required. Do not worry if this sounds daunting, once you have the complete instructions written out, you and your staff keep the instructions for following staff or events. You save all your maps right. Then have or ask the staff to put more detail into them like my VA did with this article on finding pictures, or his article on The Different Roles of commonly employed Virtual Staff.
Building maps or templates is a key and we have some here for you.
1. Asking the VA to book an airplane ticket from Shanghai to Sydney, Australia.
Task. I would like you to book a flight from Shanghai to Sydney, Australia. Please give me the best 3 options to choose from. I will then choose, and you can then complete the booking.
Deadline. Present 3 options by close of business today. I will choose, then please book straight away. Note: If I do not reply tonight, please call me and we will choose over the phone.
Date of Departure: 10 June 2013
Preferred Time of Arrival: Arrive at Sydney Airport before 10:00 AM on the 11th of June. (I will be conducting a seminar on George Street, Sydney City at 01:00 PM. Please double check all timings to ensure I have enough time to catch the airport train and whatever connection to get to George Street by 11.30 AM.)
1. I would prefer Airline A and Airline C. Please focus on these Airlines.
2. I have carry-on baggage only. Note: Whenever I have carry-on baggage only (no checked-in bags), I’m prepared to pay up to 5% extra to sit at the front of the plane so I can get off first.
3. I always like window seats.
4. I don’t want insurance.
5. I want the healthiest full meal possible. If we cannot choose meals in advance, please tell them I am a vegetarian.
6. The date is fixed. There is no need for flexible ticket. Cancellation policy is irrelevant.
7. Best website to use is <www.skyscanner.net>, also look at Airline A and Airline C websites directly.
8. Produce all results in an Excel spreadsheet, with the total costs in USD. Ensure Tax, Meals, any Extras are included in the price.
2. Asking the VA to find and hire a Content Writer.
Task: I would like you to look for a Content Writer that would help in providing relevant text content for a new travel website. I would like you to do the recruitment procedure yourself and present to me the 3 best candidates. We will then discuss the 3 candidates over the phone and choose which one to hire.
Deadline: We need the content writer ASAP. Do not cut corners on hiring though. In 5-6 days time (Date), I would like your report on the best 3 candidates via email. We should be able to put the new Content Writer on by the . . . (Date).
This person must have embodied the following / job qualifications (full list article for Content Writer is coming soon):
- A self-motivated individual with experience and skills in web content writing.
- Will also work closely with the technical team to maintain site standards with regard to new development.
- Salary: $2-4 USD per hour. Please look for a Filipino or Westerner living in South East Asia.
. . . . . . . . . . . . etc.
Applicant must undergo the following before hiring them:
- Complete a 10-minute test.
- Send 2-3 short questions to any suitable applicants relevant to the work.
- Skype Interview.
For more detailed instructions. look in our Outsourcing Blogs for the Content Writer article. Take instructions from there. Note: It’s for Travel website; we want them to start ASAP.
You will do the entire selection and interview process yourself. Email me if you have any problems; however, I prefer you to figure it out. Email me after you have selected and interviewed the best 3 candidates over Skype. We will then discuss them over the phone and choose the best one.
3. Asking the Content Writer to write an article on dating websites.
I found that when I gave my Content Writer a topic, often it would come back completely useless. I realized though that I didn’t give him much guidance, so how could I expect him to make something that I wanted. Now my Content Writer works in strict guidelines. Most of what you read on my site is by me. In fact, almost everything is. My Content Writer helps though and occasionally he will do an article completely and independently.
Task: Please make an article about “Dating Websites” and the advantages and disadvantages of using them.
Deadline: Post to draft format on my blog by Friday (date).
- You may start your article with: Through the internet, you can meet a lot of possible partners . . .
- On the second paragraph, you can write its advantages.
- Third paragraph disadvantages.
- Fourth paragraph, how to overcome the disadvantages.
- Refocus on positive, how fun it is.
- Ask the reader to share their stories on online dating with us: Feel free to share with us your story . . .
Whenever required or if there is doubt, you can also add the following line which I frequently use for larger tasks.
a) The steps you’re going to take to complete the task, in order.
b) What are the most important aspects of the task?
c) What’s the purpose of the task?
d) What’s your time frame? When do you expect to complete the task?
As we have said at the start, and time and time again, leverage from Outsourcing is a must. Start with good communication, clear time frames, tasks, and boundaries. Also let them know the intent behind the task. Letting them know the intent or purpose helps keep them align with the purpose rather than the details. After all, it’s the purpose that’s most important. The details are the map to get there. Your staff wants to do a good job. They want to make you happy and proud. Give them the knowledge they need to do it, be patient, and enjoy the rewards.
Revised: Aug 1 2013
Now what I do is really cool. From my Smart Phone I simply record detailed Audio Instructions for each of my staff and have it upload immediately to their Drop Box folder. I have set up a Drop Box folder for each of my staff. My Project Manager (my first VA) and I share a Drop Box Folder with each separate staff member. Its really simple and super fast process now. Record voice, upload to specific folder, that member, and my Project Manager both get notifications of it and act on the message. Sometimes I may work with somebody on a new website concept or advertisement using pen and paper. At the end, simply take a photograph and upload that to the specific Drop Box folder too. Extra options include: a message for them to call me, once they receive or complete the task,