InterviewRevolutionizing Workflows with Virtual Assistance: Insights from Cyberbacker’s Craig Goodliffe

In the fast-paced world of modern business, the integration of virtual assistants (VAs) has become a transformative strategy for enhancing productivity and efficiency. Craig Goodliffe, the visionary CEO and founder of Cyberbacker, shares his pioneering journey from introducing a virtual assistant into his real estate business to establishing a leading virtual assistance company. In this exclusive interview, Goodliffe delves into the burgeoning growth of the VA industry, the strategies for seamless VA integration into workflows, and the future of remote work. Through his insights, readers will discover the key to cultivating synergy between in-house teams and virtual assistants, optimizing task delegation, and leveraging technology for superior task management. Join us as we explore the expert advice and forward-thinking approaches that have positioned Cyberbacker at the forefront of the virtual assistance revolution.

Craig Goodliffe, CEO and founder of Cyberbacker

1. Can you share your journey of introducing a virtual assistant into your real estate business and how it led to the establishment of Cyberbacker?

In November of October 2012, I posted a Craigslist ad in Ogden, Utah, seeking help with advertising real estate. Daphne from the Philippines responded, proving adept at the job. I initially tasked her with posting and updating listings on Craigslist daily to showcase different aspects of the properties. As the need for assistance grew, we hired more individuals for tasks like following up with potential buyers who had visited listed houses. In 2017, a friend, Jeannie, inquired about how I managed my workload. I helped her find an assistant, sparking further interest from colleagues. This led to the establishment of Cyberbacker, as more people became excited about the successful approach I had implemented in my real estate business.

2. How has the integration of virtual assistants changed the business landscape, and what growth do you foresee in the virtual assistant industry?

The integration of virtual assistants has transformed the business landscape, shifting towards a global work climate where remote work is prominent. The virtual assistant industry, or rather the broader trend of remote work, has seen significant growth. Jobs that don’t require a license or physical presence can now be performed worldwide by capable individuals. This has led to a change in the traditional work structure, with more people working online from various countries. The increased competition for U.S. workers is evident, especially with a low unemployment rate of around 3.8%. As businesses face challenges in finding skilled workers locally, the virtual world becomes a viable solution for many. The use of telepresence robots, such as having assistants from the Philippines driving a robot, exemplifies the innovative approaches taken in this evolving work landscape.

3. What are some key strategies for seamlessly integrating virtual assistants into existing workflows?

The key strategy for seamlessly integrating virtual assistants into existing workflows is to clearly communicate the tasks, the correct methods to perform them, the desired outcomes, and the timing. Starting with a single task is often effective, especially for those new to the process. Choosing a personal task, such as having someone answer the phone 24/7, can be liberating and easier to teach. Establishing simple and clear standards for tasks like answering the phone provides a foundation for larger responsibilities. It’s crucial to avoid overwhelming both parties with complex tasks that may still be challenging for the person delegating. Focusing on small, repetitive tasks that can be easily mastered and delegated saves time and lays the groundwork for more significant advancements in workflow integration.

4. Can you elaborate on the training framework you recommend for businesses to effectively work with virtual assistants?

Before diving into training, there are two crucial steps to consider. Firstly, define the job description clearly, setting expectations regarding the tasks, frequency, and desired outcomes. This step is vital for ensuring the right person is selected for the role. Secondly, actively search for the right candidate who aligns with the established expectations.

Once these prerequisites are met, the training framework involves having the chosen assistant perform the tasks while recording the process using a screen capture tool. This recording serves as a reference for the trainee to understand the correct procedures, systems, and standards. Providing a clear reference video for them to revisit ensures clarity on how tasks should be executed. This approach can be applied to various tasks, leveraging consumer education materials for specific systems and tools when necessary. The key is to make the training process systematic, practical, and easily accessible for ongoing reference.

5. How can businesses cultivate synergy between their in-house teams and virtual assistants?

Businesses can cultivate synergy between in-house teams and virtual teams by recognizing the positive impact virtual assistants can have on in-office efficiency. Rather than being a threat, virtual assistants often enhance the capabilities of in-house teams, allowing them to focus on more significant tasks and increase productivity. Initially, there might be concerns about competition, but in practice, it leads to mutual enhancement.

To expedite the development of synergy, it’s recommended to establish regular communication channels. Using platforms like Zoom to virtually place remote team members in the office environment fosters a sense of connection and reduces feelings of isolation. Daily interactions, even in a virtual setting, help bridge the gap and create a more cohesive team. This approach has proven effective in building strong bonds and synergy between in-house and virtual teams.

6. What are your insights on identifying optimal tasks for delegation to virtual assistants?

To identify optimal tasks for delegation to virtual assistants, begin by analyzing your daily activities or tracking your schedule. Focus on your highest revenue-producing activities, which are tasks you should continue doing yourself and potentially scale. On the other hand, identify the lowest revenue-producing activities—tasks that don’t directly generate income but are necessary.

The tasks that fall into the latter category are prime candidates for delegation. These tasks provide a learning experience for both you and the virtual assistant, especially when they are relatively low-risk and straightforward. Look for tasks that, when delegated, won’t have significant consequences if there are minor mistakes.

The key criterion for task delegation is the return on investment. Delegate tasks that free up your time to focus on higher-value activities, allowing you to generate more revenue. Keep the initial delegated tasks simple, creating a foundation for the virtual assistant to learn and excel. As they master one task, you can gradually introduce more complex responsibilities. This approach ensures a gradual and effective integration of virtual assistance into your workflow.

7. How should businesses manage check-ins and progress tracking when working with virtual assistants?

Managing check-ins and progress tracking when working with virtual assistants depends on the nature of the work. Ideally, businesses should establish Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that provide measurable metrics indicating the effectiveness of the tasks being performed. These KPIs serve as a basis for decision-making, helping determine if the right person is in the right role, if the job description is accurate, and if the training is effective.

For tasks without specific KPIs, a minimum requirement is to have virtual assistants send an end-of-day report detailing the tasks completed during the day. This provides transparency and helps in understanding daily activities.

In cases where tasks are highly focused or involve security considerations, businesses may consider investing in software that tracks the virtual assistant’s activities while working. However, it’s essential to ensure legal compliance and obtain proper disclosures before implementing such software. It should be used for auditing purposes and not as a surveillance tool without explicit consent. Striking the right balance between tracking progress and respecting privacy is crucial in managing virtual assistant check-ins effectively.

8. What role does technology and task management tools play in the effective use of virtual assistants?

Technology, particularly artificial intelligence (AI), plays a significant role in the effective use of virtual assistants. AI’s effectiveness relies on the quality of information input, emphasizing the importance of handling technology at a high level and knowing which tools to use and when.

In terms of task management tools, simplicity is key. Using tools like Google Sheets for organization provides a straightforward and effective means of communication between the business and the virtual assistant. This allows for easy collaboration, with the ability to input tasks, thoughts, or important information, and then sync up during regular office hours.

Other essential tools include simple scheduling tools like Google Calendar, which provide cost-effective solutions for managing tasks and appointments. Setting up communication channels that mimic interactions with in-house teams, such as phone calls, texts, and emails, ensures seamless communication. The goal is to manage virtual assistants with the same level of efficiency and ease as any other team member.

9. Can you explain the importance of creating an ongoing feedback loop when working with virtual assistants?

Creating an ongoing feedback loop is crucial for effective collaboration with virtual assistants. To initiate the loop, it’s essential to establish a baseline. This can be achieved through various tools like Slack for real-time conversations or Trello boards for task management, depending on the desired results.

A weekly meeting is a best practice for maintaining a consistent feedback loop. During these meetings, it’s beneficial to have a set of predetermined questions that address areas where clarity is needed, ensuring that both parties are on the same page. This structured approach helps in obtaining specific feedback and encourages open communication.

For example, if there are issues with a customer, the meeting agenda might include discussing the problem, providing instructions, and receiving feedback on the actions taken. Tailoring the feedback loop to the unique needs of the business and the virtual assistant ensures effective communication and ongoing improvement in performance.

11. How does Cyberbacker ensure it provides premium and world-class services to its partners, and what are your future plans for the company?

Cyberbacker ensures it provides premium world-class service to its partners through a focus on hiring the absolute best people. The company actively promotes its job opportunities, even wrapping the light rail transit system in the Philippines, to attract the right candidates. Despite receiving a large number of applicants, the rigorous selection process, which includes evaluating technology proficiency and education, ensures that only the best individuals are hired.

To retain these exceptional talents, Cyberbacker has implemented various initiatives, including a profit-sharing program, cyber capital for loans, healthcare benefits, and training classes on a wide range of topics. The goal is to create an environment where Cyberbackers want to stay, contributing to high retention rates and a well-trained team.

Looking ahead, Cyberbacker plans to expand its operations, opening hubs like the one in Davao with 25 computer seats to accommodate individuals who may not have a suitable home setup. The company aims to create 7,500 jobs by the end of 2024, providing opportunities for profit sharing with over 2 million associates. This growth trajectory aligns with the goal of contributing to the long-term financial well-being of Cyberbackers through retirement plans and five-year vesting periods.

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Digital Health Buzz!

Digital Health Buzz!

Digital Health Buzz! aims to be the destination of choice when it comes to what’s happening in the digital health world. We are not about news and views, but informative articles and thoughts to apply in your business.

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