This article is a part of series of interviews we conducted with different virtual assistants who work for Shopify store owners. We finally selected 3 interviews to publish them on our blog.
The reason is simple, we noticed that many small/medium business owners require some help - at some point - running their online business, at the very least with customer support inquires.
If you're interested in hiring a virtual assistant or wondering how could a VA be of help, this series of articles is for you.
Disclaimer: The answers provided by the interviewee represent his/her opinions and we don't take responsibility for them.
Hey N, can you start by telling us where do you get the majority of your clients?
Facebook and Upwork provide me with an amazing community of both clients and freelancers. I get all of my direct leads from these two platforms, with the remainder of my clients coming from word of mouth recommendations.
What skills do you offer for your Shopify Clients?
I am a native English speaker with a BA in Business Administration from Cambridge University. I work primarily as a VA and PA, and Customer Service roles make up the bulk of my client work. But product descriptions, marketing, web design and copy, and product testing are part of every day.
I also manage a small team of overseas VAs to complete tasks that are beyond my ability, utilizing daily meetings every morning to allocate tasks and ensure everyone is happy with the task they are currently working on. I believe maintaining a great relationship with those you have to work with is essential for a long term and successful relationships.
Tasks I may allocate to my team range from complex web design issues to graphic design for a new Shopify store.
I love that my role is so varied, and is what attracted me to become a VA in the first place.
What are you rates?
On average I charge around 20$/hour, but the overall amount could change depending on the requirements & duration.
What industries/niches you're most familiar with?
- Mens Fashion and Pet niche mostly.
- Mental Health admin support (creating a MH service from the ground up)
- Animal Welfare / Pet Niche - I am a trained Zookeeper by profession
Around 20 in the past year.
How many clients have you worked for so far?
How many clients can you work with at once?
Depending how many hours is needed for the job. I have 38 hours a week available for freelance tasks.
Compared to some other VA freelancers, this might be a bit tight as some clients may require extra hours depending on their sales - evolution phase etc.... I would imagine that you're very productive if you're committing to 38hours only. Can you tell us about your daily tasks?
I have a reply rate of 1.6 emails per minute, which has increased in the last shift due to a software update allowing me to create better replies with a much quicker response time. Approximately 2-3% of orders will contact customer services, of which 90% f these queries will be regarding shipping times. As I have full admin rights, I only escalate system errors. All customer service emails must be dealt with by myself.
What applications from the Shopify App store do you use most often?and how do you rate them?
7/10 for the complex UI, but otherwise 10/10.
I love the macro functionality allowing you to run macros in return emails, which automatically trigger Shopify actions, such as refunds or replacement orders (duplicates)
Over all 10/10 - I couldn’t live without it! Only problem is that load times could be slow.
You may use Dropified as an alternative but it is most suited for larger stores
Do you use Oberlo to track orders for customer support inquiries?
No. It is not accurate for e-packet and I use other tracking websites.
Do you usually use applications outside of the Shopify App store?
I use MS Word and Excel. I also use Trello, Slack and Asana depending on client needs. I am proficient in Canva and Photoshop.
I have full user rights, and use these tools to co-ordinate tasks among my different teams, keep track of achievements and share interesting and relevant content with my team. The client normally decides which tool they want to use, so I am well practiced in them all.
How do you usually communicate with you client and how often?
Unless otherwise requested, I check in with each client at the start of every working day.
Have you ever run into miscommunication issues with your clients?
I have never had this problem, I am a native English speaker.
Miscommunication takes place even between native speakers of the same language. When someone want something that he doesn't express very well, ex. when IT professionals speak to end users in the organization, they usually get into communication issue, because IT guys don't know how to speak normal user language.
It is great that you didn't have miscommunication issues tho.
what tasks were you assigned to, that can be automated in your opinion?
I am working alongside developers to build a Facebook Bot to help with my customer service roles.
Would you elaborate on how would you expect the bot to help you? Currently there are a lot of help desk applications (ex zendesk) that have already built automated chat bots that uses the knowledge base of the company to answer clients.
The Bot is in the development stage, and as I am not a developer I have no realistic vision of where the bot is going. Right now it just makes for some very funny (and often irrelevant) dialogue as it learns what it needs to know!
Can you describe the most successful store that you worked for, and what are the attributes that led to their success in your opinion?
The most successful to date is a dropshipping, free plus shipping Shopify store. It is purely marketed on Facebook and with e-mail campaigns and the excellent marketing strategies have ensured that they are great money makers for the investors and developers!
What is your worst experience working with a Shopify store owner?
I have not had any bad experiences. I get to know my clients before dedicating myself long term to their projects.
Do you have any advice for Shopify store owners who are looking for a VA?
You get what you pay for! VAs for 5 - 10USD per hour may seem appealing, but you need to calculate the cost per job depending on the speed and efficiency of the VA.
Do you have any advice for Shop owners who are already working with a VA?
Set clear deadlines and guidelines, and ask your VA to repeat back the task in their own words so you know that they have understood.
Do you have anything else to add as a VA that could help Shopify store owners?
Alot of us have skills that could help your business that we just aren’t very good at marketing. I spent a long time marketing my travel planning skills, only to learn that my lively and friendly personality was perfect for online Customer Services roles. Allow us to learn together, send us on training courses (you can get great ones for cheap for your VA on udemy.com) and in turn we will feel valued and work even harder to ensure your business succeeds.
I think we've got a clear picture on what you do, and how you do it. We have one small question left, Have you ever run a Shopify store?
Yes, I have my own shopify store that I am developing with the help of my team. I feel like being a VA has given me lots of confidence in building my own store.
We hope this interview uncovered some of the information you were looking for or assisted you in any way. If you're interested in reading the other 2 interviews we conducted then here are the links:
And here is our conclusion.