For many business owners, virtual assistants are indeed great support to their business. Business owners today hire virtual assistants because of the great benefits they can get from them. Not to mention that the money business owners have to spend on virtual assistants is way too little compared to employing in-house staff.
Hiring virtual assistants is one of the best ways to increase productivity and profitability. Still, there are risks that every entrepreneur needs to be prepared for —and these risks are very possible, especially if you have landed “bad” virtual assistants. Moving forward, let us share a list of common bad experiences with virtual assistants based on entrepreneurs who have shared their stories.
How to avoid bad experiences with virtual assistants
One key to avoiding having bad experiences with virtual assistants is hiring the right ones for you and your business — and the first step for hiring the perfect fit is through finding a reputable virtual assistant company.
Stealth Agents provides dedicated virtual assistants that help business owners grow their businesses. Our team of experts consists of the top 1% of vetted virtual assistants to ensure that you are only getting the best.
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Bad experiences with virtual assistants
While there are a lot of good stories we all heard about working with virtual assistants, there were also those that are totally nightmares too. After asking almost 100 entrepreneurs who have had bad experiences with virtual assistants in the past, we decided to share the most common bad experiences with virtual assistants.
There was one instance where we hired a freelancer to help us maintain our social media site. Her credentials were really good and it stated there that she has been a social media manager for several years now.
At first, she was doing her job properly so we were having a good employer-freelancer relationship. However, suddenly she went offline and she was no longer responding to our messages or doing her job. Since we wanted someone to actively manage our social media site, we gave her a two-week provision to contact us and if we do not hear from her, we will terminate the contract.
We did not hear anything from her, though we see that she’s online with her social media profile and just seeing our messages but not responding. When we terminated the contract, she deleted all the content on our social media site, leaving it very bare.
It was such a nightmare. This almost gave us trauma and phobia with other freelancers, but luckily, our other freelancers were still doing a great job so we were able to pacify ourselves.
-Craig Miller, Co-Founder of Academia Labs LLC
2. Low-quality output
After researching about hiring a VA, I realized the best path forward would be to look for a video specialist as opposed to an assistant who was a generalist. After some time, I found someone who seemed to fit the position well and decided to work with them.
Unfortunately, the work the virtual assistant produced wasn’t up to standard. First, the initial projects failed to meet the deadline set. And the work just wasn’t up to the quality I expected. Honestly, the videos we were creating were just as good, no, better than what the VA provided. So, it was back to the drawing board.
-Hanah Alexander, Editor-in-Chief of TodayTesting.com
3. Plagiarism of content
I hired a virtual assistant to help out with some social media posting and scheduling tasks in my company. We were using a website that dealt with virtual assistants.
The VA was very quick at making changes, and she even seemed to understand our marketing strategy. In retrospect, I realized that she had copied most of her previous clients’ “About Us” pages and pasted them on our website.
This is one of the bad experiences with a virtual assistant because not only did they steal content from their previous clients, but they also misrepresented themselves in the process.
-Will Henry. Founder of Bike Smarts
4. Deleted products off the website
Thankfully, I’ve learned to limit access to virtual assistants. But when I first started, I didn’t think twice about limiting how much access a virtual assistant had to the backend of my Shopify store.
I thought they would only enter tracking information for fulfilled orders and stop there. But what I came back to was a variety of products missing and variants deleted. This was a nightmare to deal with because many of the customers had thought I did a bait-and-switch.
After all, the product they ordered was no longer active on our site. So, I’ve learned to set up very strong parameters for any new VA I consider onboarding to minimize the chance of bad experiences with virtual assistants in the future.
-Jeff Neal, Engagement Officer at Critter Depot (Composting Worms Store)
5. Lack of commitment
Recently, some of my friends told me that I should hire a virtual assistant due to the amount of work. I gave it some thought and decided to go for it.
I found some sites and ultimately decided on one candidate due to her perfect resume. It was great the first two days, but after that, she was always late, did not respond to my message and she forgot to do some important tasks.
I was so disappointed and decided to end the contract before anything further happened.
-Adam Korbl, Founder & CEO at Amplify Ventures
6. Can’t be easily reached
A couple of years ago, I hired a virtual assistant to help me with my startup. I was working remotely and needed a person who could take care of my schedule and some administrative things.
However, I hired a person whose time zone was very different from mine – 6 hours before. Staying in touch was incredibly difficult and we often experienced communication issues.
Also, when I needed him urgently, I could never reach him due to the difference in time. We tried different tools and apps but none of them worked. After I missed the second important deadline as a result of this bad experience, I decided to end the deal.
-Malte Scholz, CEO and CPO of Airfocus
7. Data breach
My personal bad experience with virtual assistants was really troubling as it led to a minor data breach that clients were concerned with. To reduce outgoings, I’d implemented virtual assistants to take on operational tasks but without having checked processes properly, a new employee had confidential data they sold to a competitor.
-Jenna Carson, Financial Partner at MoneyLucid.com
8. Lack of communication etiquette
I have a great virtual assistant, but the first one I hired didn’t work out. Right off the bat, we had some communication problems. They consistently took a long time to respond to anything I sent them (and sometimes wouldn’t even answer my calls), so I never felt like they were actually at their computer working.
Their lack of communication also made me feel uncertain as to whether or not they actually understood the tasks I was giving them. One day, I gave them a pretty big, but not super difficult, organizational task and asked if they had any questions about how to do it.
They didn’t respond, and at the end of the day, I went to check their progress, only to find out they had done it completely wrong. When I asked them about it, they said that they were confused about what I wanted and just guessed. This was obviously frustrating because I had asked them if they needed clarification and they didn’t even respond to that. Needless to say, it didn’t work out.
-Jeremy Yamaguchi, CEO of Lawn Love
9. Failure to accomplish the task effectively
Our goal was to relieve our attorneys and paralegals from tasks that were a bottleneck for them. What we didn’t realize at the time was that we were bad at training them.
We created video tutorials and step-by-step processes. After they reviewed those materials, we assumed that they would be self-sufficient. After a couple of weeks, the tasks they were responsible for were falling apart.
We checked in with them to see what was wrong. They explained that they were getting their heads wrapped around it all. We reviewed the process again and let them go on their way. Another couple of weeks went by and the results got worse.
Then, we had them show us what exactly they were doing, click by click. It turns out that they were not following the processes at all. We had to let them all go at that time and clean up all the files that they had worked on.
-Shawn Breyer, Owner of The Hive Law
10. Acts unprofessionally
We have hired a few virtual assistants, but one messed up badly. We had her running our custom Instagram strategy, and she followed the script for a few weeks.
Then, out of the blue, she started liking and commenting on graphic animal rights posts. We were horrified that our followers might be seeing this activity and quickly revoked her access and fired her. This has left us scared and we have not let anyone access our social media accounts since.
-Matthew Meier, Founder of MaxTour LLC
11. Caused inconvenience
Booking foreign travel with an independent offshore VA who had no organizational operating procedures in place to oversee this practice was a headache in my case. Why, after all, do you require operating procedures for something that should be so obvious? It turns out, however, that this is not the case for offshore VAs.
I took a journey from the United States to Eastern Europe. On the way, I decided to stop in Croatia for a few days. Because my VA is offshore and hasn’t travelled internationally, she didn’t know that you need three hours at a minimum for a connecting flight.
Needless to say, I ended up paying twice the price just to get back to the US on the same day. This bad experience with a virtual assistant cost me a lot of money time, and the delay and inconvenience were unimaginable!
-James Stephenson, Co-Founder of EpicWin App
12. Lack of incompetence
When I first launched my company’s website, I planned to have a virtual assistant so that the visitors might navigate through the website with the help of a VA, but it proved to be a bad decision as the VA was incompetent and did not serve the purpose and directed the visitors towards the services they were not looking for.
At first, I thought there was an issue with the server as there were fewer visitors, but eventually, the VA was creating problems.
-Marilyn Gaskell, Founder & Hiring Manager of TruePeopleSearch
Reasons for bad experience story of a virtual assistants
1. Miscommunication between the user and the virtual assistant can result in frustration and disappointment.
2. Virtual assistants may not always be able to comprehend colloquial or informal language, leading to a breakdown in communication.
3. Technical glitches can disrupt the performance of virtual assistants, resulting in inaccurate responses or incomplete tasks.
4. Human error is also a factor that can lead to a negative experience with virtual assistants.
5. Even advanced AI technology is susceptible to mistakes and errors, causing frustration and dissatisfaction for the user.
6. A bad experience with virtual assistants can also be caused by not being able to personally configure them. Because they are trained to help many different people, they might not always give you the answers or solutions you need.
7. Inadequate training or development of the virtual assistant can result in a poor user experience. If the AI is not properly trained to handle various tasks and scenarios, it may struggle to provide satisfactory results.
8. Poor connectivity or internet issues can also disrupt the performance of virtual assistants, leading to a frustrating experience for the user.
9. Outdated technology or lack of updates can also contribute to a negative experience with virtual assistants. As technology evolves rapidly, outdated virtual assistant programs may not be able to keep up with the latest advancements and provide efficient services.
10. Lack of user privacy or security measures can also lead to a bad experience with virtual assistants. If personal information is compromised or mishandled by the AI, it can result in a breach of trust and dissatisfaction for the user.
The list of bad experiences with virtual assistants stated above should not be the reason for not hiring VAs. These common bad experiences with virtual assistants only serve as a lesson that you have to be careful who you let in in your company.
Find some time to find the perfect fit for your company—and by applying the right outsourcing practices, you will be able to land with dedicated virtual assistants whom you can rely on and who can help you achieve success. And most importantly, you will be able to avoid such bad experiences with virtual assistants.