Virtual Assistants

Why Hire a Customer Support Virtual Assistant? Tasks, Benefits, & Tips

customer support virtual assistant

What is a customer support virtual assistant and why would I need one?

Customer service is a must have in the world of commerce. With the growth of e-commerce sales, the need for e-support is surging too. However, not all businesses choose to do customer service in-house. That’s where customer support VAs come in. 

Because of the nature of some jobs, workers don’t even need to be working in the same building or country as the business. There are many benefits to this and some business owners outsource tasks to virtual assistants – one being customer service.

But, what are these advantages? 

Benefits of Hiring a Customer Support Virtual Assistant

Customer support staff are primarily responsible for answering customer queries, but that isn’t all. They are available to help and ensure patrons have access to the resources they need during the buyer’s journey. This means they are there to help in both pre-purchase and post-purchase stages. 

Virtual customer service staff are beneficial for a few reasons.


Because e-support is becoming very popular, the physical presence of customer service staff is less necessary. By outsourcing, you can save on overhead expenses like power and rent. The rates will also likely be lower when hiring from countries with much lower costs of living. Not only that, but you also don’t have to think about worker benefits or payroll taxes if you hire overseas. 

Expertise and Experience

When you wisely outsource customer support, you are outsourcing to individuals and teams who have likely served many customers before. You can even find those who have worked in similar industries to yours. This also saves you the time and money investment involved in training and developing your own CS department. 

24/7 Support

One of the benefits of hiring workers outside of your time zone is the flexibility. You ideally would like to get to your customer inquiries and concerns as quickly as possible. VA staff can make that possible by manning the desk on business off-hours. You can even have both a virtual day team and night team. 


You can expand or contract your customer service needs during busy and slow times of the year. Accounting for seasonality like Christmas, Thanksgiving, or other high-volume seasons, you can temporarily hire staff to manage the load. 

Types of Customer Support Services Offered by Virtual Assistants

Email and Phone Support

This involves answering a designated customer support email and manning phone lines. 

Chatbots and Automation 

Chatbots are basically automated responses to the most commonly asked questions. Companies create these preset responses by gathering queries asked in various customer support channels. Anything more complex than this can be the job of the next service on our list. 

Live Chat

This involves a CS representative chatting with a potential buyer in real time. They help them with their experience on your website or a web page. These people can direct them to the resources that they need. Live chat interactions can help you develop your FAQs and inform what your automated responses can be.

FAQ Creation

CS staff create FAQs by collating responses from multiple places like email, phone, live chat, comments, and other forms of feedback. This solution is a win-win for both parties. On the one hand, customers can find an answer to their common question quickly. On the other hand, your other customer service personnel are free to answer more complex problems not included in the FAQ section.

Helpful Videos and Other Resources

Like FAQs, there are other forms of content that we consider a kind of customer support. For instance, videos showing how a product or service works. Though not their primary duties, CS staff can also help create written content that aid customer service experiences. These and FAQs are self-help options that provide customer service while giving customers the ability to help themselves. 

Social Media 

A lot of companies leverage the value of social media to market their products and services. With social media advertising also comes the need for customer support. They can answer comments, chat with potential leads, manage CS pages, and more. 

Note: While not technically customer support, a CRM or customer relationship management tool, is also something you should consider. A good CRM system can really help you not only find customers, but also retain them. The data gathered by CRM software like HubSpot can really improve your customer service efforts.

How to Find the Right Customer Support Virtual Assistant

We recommend looking through the top freelance marketplaces like Upwork and FreeUp. These places have social proof like reviews and ratings that allow you to see past freelancer performance. 

What Skills and Qualifications Should You Look for in a Customer Support Virtual Assistant?

Communication Skills

This is naturally the most important skill when it comes to CS. This is more than just speaking the language and knowing the business. It’s about being able to understand a client’s needs and provide a clear and comprehensible answer. 

Critical Thinking / Problem-Solving Skills

Sometimes the queries that customers have are easy to answer. Other times, it’s more challenging and might not even appear in the handbook. This means customer support staff must be able to think on their feet and find a solution. They need to be resourceful and flexible to cater to the specific needs of each client.

Knowledge and Willingness to Learn

I’ve personally had instances where I ask a customer service representative about an item and they can’t give me any new information. This probably has more to do with how they’re trained than the reps themselves.

However, you should look for someone who is willing to know the ins and outs of your products and services. This way, they can give more quality and valuable responses to your customers. 

Empathy, Patience, Grace 

These skills are often overlooked, but are crucial in customer service. CS staff is responsible for providing the best experience they can to customers.

Sometimes customers have a bad day, are themselves impatient, or are difficult. However, sometimes the product or service may have genuinely caused inconvenience to them and they need a solution.

While we do not condone the mistreatment of customer service staff, we do advocate for the golden rule: Treat others the way you would like to be treated. Someone who is kind, understanding, and gracious is the ideal representative not only for your CS department, but your business as a whole.

Cost of Hiring A Customer Support Virtual Assistant

According to Upwork, standard CS representative rates are between $10-$19 per hour. This number can be higher if you need more in-depth help with FAQs and other content. 

How to Train Your Customer Support Virtual Assistant


An in-depth remote onboarding process is essential to help your hire get to know your business and its products. Here, they also get to know the roles and responsibilities of the position. You can also communicate your work culture. 

Soft Skills Training

The kind of soft skills you train for depends on the position. With customer service, this involves people-skills like the ones we mentioned earlier. This typically aligns with your company values, especially regarding customer relations. 

Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) Orientation

These involve the types of actions taken during certain scenarios. For instance, this can tell you what to do and how to behave when a customer has a complaint. These SOPs do vary from business to business, but they have fundamental similarities. An example would be not to raise your voice if the customer is upset.

How to Manage Your Customer Support Virtual Assistant

Communication Channels

We can’t stress enough how important it is to establish your communication channels early on. These channels are where you dole out tasks and where your hire can get a hold of you. Onboarding and orientation go far for sure. However, you should always be reachable in case a customer has a complaint not in the guidebook. 

Regular Check-Ins

Regularly scheduled meetings and checkups are crucial. These meetings are for progress reports and temperature checks. They are also places for partnership – for receiving feedback and suggestions.

Common Challenges Faced by Customer Support Virtual Assistants

customer support virtual assistant

Uncommon Questions and Issues

Some customers are going to have questions that may not be on the FAQs. These complex questions might seem jarring, especially if CS staff have never dealt with it before. Some may have to do with a product flaw or a website malfunction that customer service personnel can’t fix. That’s why it’s important that your team is able to problem solve and communicate with clients, not just read from a book. 


A smaller CS staff may have to handle multiple chats, emails, or queries at once. In these cases, it’s important to remain organized and thorough so you still provide excellent customer care. Also, make sure you have enough staff for the demand. Overworked staff giving subpar quality service will only spell disaster in the long run. 

Upset Customers

Sometimes customer service representatives need to learn how to diffuse a situation. However, dealing with difficult customers day in and day out is a real and unfortunate reality for some. This can take a toll on a person. That’s why checking in on your CS staff and making sure their morale is high is important. That culture of care for customers should start with a culture of care for those who work with and for you. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Customer Support Virtual Assistants available 24/7?

You can definitely put that as one of your criteria when canvassing for the right VA. Most customer service VAs are aware their services may be required round the clock. However, we do recommend that you hire at least two VAs to cover for one another. 

Is it safe to share sensitive customer information with a Virtual Assistant?

When it comes to data security, while there certainly are risks, there are also quite a few methods of mitigating them. For instance, we wouldn’t recommend allowing just anyone to have access to this information.

Recruiting through sketchy websites or failing to undertake proper vetting procedures can lead to a bad hire. We recommend hiring through esteemed freelance marketplaces or on referral from people you trust. Also, maintaining a “need-to-know” attitude towards customer data will also be beneficial. 

You have little to worry about sensitive information leaking if you follow some of these hiring practices. Learning the best hiring methods with Outsource School can help you avoid hiring risks and mishaps. 

How do I monitor the performance of a Customer Support Virtual Assistant?

You can use project management software like Asana, Microsoft Project, or Trello. This is where you can give instructions, store guides, and maintain regular communication. That way, a hire can always go back and look at what you’ve discussed whenever they face confusion. You can also hire a project manager or appoint a lead representative with more experience. This lead can train up other reps in your company culture and preferred practices.

What tools and software are commonly used by Customer Support VAs?

Zendesk, Freshdesk, and Helpdesk are the most popular ones for general customer service. Mailchimp is a common tool used for email management. Whatever tool you use, the most important thing is to hire someone who can use it well. 

What Is Outsource School?

outsource school

Outsource School helps you to unlock the potential of virtual assistants and accelerate your business growth.

This is the exact system Outsource School’s founders, Nathan Hirsch and Connor Gillivan, used to go from zero to 8 figures and 40+ virtual assistants with an exit in 2019.

Since being founded in 2020, Outsource School has helped 1,000+ business owners hire 2,000+ virtual assistants for their companies.

Schedule a free sales call to learn more

Free resources you might like: 


Hiring a customer support virtual assistant is a great investment for your business. If you didn’t have a CS department before, this can greatly improve your customer relationships. If you need to transition from in-house to third-party, you can save money and leverage other advantages of outsourcing. 

By investing in customer support, you’re putting the needs of your customers first. By putting the customers’ needs first, you’re really putting your business first. 

Virtual Assistants

Outsourcing Trends to Expect Going Into 2024

outsourcing trends

Every business needs to look into outsourcing trends as we close out 2023 and plan for 2024. Outsourcing is an ever-growing trend itself, so making the most of it is the smart move. When you know in what direction outsourcing is going, you can take the best advantage of all it has to offer.

In this post, we’ll go over what we see happening in the world of outsourcing in 2024 so you can prepare.

Continued Growth of Remote Work

Remote work was on the rise even before everyone found themselves on lockdown. When the pandemic hit, working from home simply became the norm for most people. In 2024, even as fears of the virus die down, remote work will not. By adopting this model, you can retain people who prefer to make the work from home shift permanent. 

Increasing Use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Automation

This is one of the newer outsourcing trends, but one that will likely catch on quickly. AI and automation can be the most cost-efficient option for many tasks, such as bookkeeping. This makes them very popular. As they gain more traction, developers are likely to put more time and effort into developing better solutions for businesses. If you haven’t tried either yet, you should! Automation is a great tool when leading remote teams.

Increased Cybersecurity Measures

A digital map representing cybersecurity to prevent a path of attack.

Cybersecurity is improving steadily. Whether we outsource or not, we share a lot of sensitive information online nowadays. We need to leverage the best online security we can access to safeguard business operations. 

Rise of Niche and Specialized Outsourcing Providers

One of our favorite trends in outsourcing is all the emerging niche service providers. We used to hire freelancers from large platforms that catered to every need. Now we can find specialized sites that vet specific skillsets. In fact, the owners of Outsource School have their very own bookkeeping service called EcomBalance! This gives businesses better options because the providers can keep a closer eye on the freelancers. They are smaller, and know the niche much better.

More Flexible and Scalable Outsourcing Models

Because outsourcing has become so popular, the industry now has several models to choose from. Under location-based outsourcing, you can select partners based on how far they are from you. This includes near-shoring, offshore outsourcing, and onshore outsourcing. 

With onshore outsourcing, you are hiring from within your state or country. They are likely not going to relocate for the job, hence it’s still called outsourcing. You can, however, reduce the risks associated with language barriers and cultural differences.

Nearshore outsourcing means hiring people from nearby countries, usually to find people who work within the same or similar time zone as you are in. Some language differences may be present, but the affordability makes the challenge worthwhile.

Offshore outsourcing is hiring from more distant locations. This usually gives you even more affordable options while maintaining a high quality standard of services. 

Multisource outsourcing, or multisourcing, is the model which we use most often. This entails outsourcing from different providers in different locations around the world. This gives businesses the best chances of success since they can select more than one agency or platform and hire people from the global talent pool to build the most suitable teams. 

With onsite outsourcing, you put together an outsourced team, then arrange for them to report to your office to work alongside in-house employees. This is usually done for short-term projects or a temporary arrangement to pass on the company culture. It also works very well to get an onshore, offshore, or nearshore team up to speed on your system and processes. If you hire from across the globe, however, you might want to consider meeting virtually instead. 

Enhanced Customer Experience

We love outsourcing trends that help us improve our customers’ experience! Because so many businesses are global now, it makes a lot of sense to hire outsourced teams to take care of customers. By assembling teams from all over the world, we can cater to all needs in all time zones in real time.

Growth of Cloud-Based Outsourcing Solutions

Cloud outsourcing is another of the newer trends in outsourcing. This type of outsourcing refers to companies that contract with providers to take care of cloud computing projects. These third-party cloud service providers help businesses save on IT costs while they focus on their core competencies. Businesses can also grow more agile and gain the ability to scale by taking advantage of these outsourcing options. 

Expansion of Knowledge Process Outsourcing (KPO)

outsourcing trends

The global Knowledge Process Outsourcing (KPO) market size has been growing steadily since 2021. The global pandemic that pushed most people to move to online work helped a lot. Just as any cloud-based task can be outsourced, many high-level tasks can be passed off to experts who work virtually.

Whether it’s within a single agency or hiring individuals scattered in different places, KPO works. This is how companies can get expert help and advice on a budget. It’s basically Business Process Outsourcing (BPO), but for more complex tasks.

Outsourcing in E-Commerce

As E-commerce grows year over year, outsourcing trends on the industry grow, too. This includes all aspects of E-commerce business, including logistics and supply chain management. These areas require careful planning and a lot of experience.

Outsourcing to a niche provider can be one of the best business decisions you make. The experts can help you do an accurate cost analysis and projections. The right logistics partner can be a great investment. Because they also benefit when your company succeeds, they will be dedicated to streamlining your logistics. 

Apart from experience, E-fulfillment companies have the systems and processes in place to take care of this complex area of E-commerce. The trend of outsourcing to such experts has grown because it’s so much easier to partner than develop your own network – especially for global orders! A partner will have an optimized transport management system, and take care of risk management, too.

Global Talent Pool Expansion

A computer screen showing several people on a video call.

Many people, most unfortunately, lost their jobs during the global lockdowns. Those who could no longer work in offices or outdoors were left with little choice. With almost everything around them shut down, many made the switch to working online. They found online jobs to be the last remaining option for earning a living. 

Today, this is great news for business owners because the talent pool is growing larger! The larger part of the global workforce was stretched into this new mode of working. This means that overseas employers can now find more people who are experienced in working online.

Hybrid Work Models

These days, the workplace need no longer be whatever four walls your employer works out of. It is now more of an ecosystem of people who work together, from wherever they happen to be or need to be to accomplish different tasks. 

Some people want an even more flexible option than choosing between the clear-cut options of working in an office and working remotely. This is how hybrid work came about, and it’s becoming really popular. Hybrid work is very people-focused in that it allows your workforce to work in whatever way boosts their productivity the most. This usually means working some days in person and some days remote, from wherever they can get the most done.

Most people these days love the option of working from home – or a beach somewhere halfway across the world. Others would like to come back to base now and again because they feel isolated or miss the water cooler chats.

Managing a hybrid workforce may be more challenging, but the extra time and effort you put in can reap you huge rewards. The increase in productivity alone can boost revenues significantly. Also, because it’s worker satisfaction that increases productivity in the first place, you’ll be dealing with far fewer human resources issues. This can be massive in terms of cost savings as well as a better company environment overall. Happier workers are great for business! 

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some key drivers behind the growth of outsourcing trends?

The biggest catalyst for 2024 trends in outsourcing are the experiences of the global workforce over the past few years. The ways in which the pandemic changed the way we work is the most significant above all. This is because of how widespread it was and how deeply it impacted working folk.

How do outcome-based contracts impact outsourcing relationships?

An outcome-based contract means that a client only makes payment for services if they meet the pre-arranged objectives. This is the direct opposite of hourly work, or payment for time spent working. 

Outcome-based contracts can be very beneficial for businesses, especially in managing costs. However, if the scope of work needs to change, these fixed-price contracts can be very difficult to manage. Many outsourcing relationships have gone sour because clients have updated their requirements without making room for additional work. In other words, they wanted more but weren’t wiling to pay more. All things considered, outcome-based contracts are perfectly alright as long as both parties know exactly what’s expected and stick to it.

What Is Outsource School?

outsource school

Outsource School helps you to unlock the potential of virtual assistants and accelerate your business growth.

This is the exact system Outsource School’s founders, Nathan Hirsch and Connor Gillivan, used to go from zero to 8 figures and 40+ virtual assistants with an exit in 2019.

Since being founded in 2020, Outsource School has helped 1,000+ business owners hire 2,000+ virtual assistants for their companies.

Schedule a free sales call to learn more

Free resources you might like: 


We believe that all businesses should learn to adapt to outsourcing trends, at least in some part. Outsourcing is the way of the future, and getting on board with trends is always a smart business move. Knowing what to expect in 2024, we hope that you can plan to take advantage of all that outsourcing has to offer your business.

Virtual Assistants

Pros and Cons of Outsourcing Billing Services

outsourcing billing services

If you are unsure about outsourcing billing services, then this post is for you. We love outsourcing billing services, but before you choose to do the same, you need to weigh the pros and cons. Sometimes, it’s wise to outsource certain billing tasks, but not others. We’ll go through the main ones, and the costs of outsourcing them, to help you decide if this is a good solution for you.

What Are the Top Billing Services or Tasks to Outsource?

You might want to outsource some billing services, but not all. Below are the most common billing tasks that we think are best outsourced.

Invoice generation

Creating invoices can actually be automated for the most part. This is especially true for subscription billing. What you want to outsource here is setting up clients on your invoicing system, and checking invoices for errors. An assistant can enter the details of each client into your system for you.

This is basically data entry work, and you don’t need to spend your time on it. Just look for someone who has experience with your software and an eye for detail. Before invoices go out, have them check that each draft is free of errors. They can make any needed adjustments, too.

Payment processing

Like invoicing, payment processing can be mostly automated. Once an invoice gets paid, you can have an assistant verify the amount and the transaction. Most invoicing and outsourced accounting software tools have the option to note payment details. Just make sure that you are hiring someone who cares about accuracy.

For outgoing payments, you can still outsource manual payments, but be careful. You must know that you can trust the person you are giving access to. Make sure that you have all the possible bank account safeguards in place. 

Accounts receivable / payable management

Outsourcing billing services like this to a bookkeeping virtual assistant is a great idea. A bookkeeper knows exactly how to balance these items. They will be able to help you manage it and avoid falling behind.

You don’t want to end up ruining vendor and supplier relationships because you forgot to pay. Even worse, you might not have enough money because you didn’t follow up on payments due to you.

Data entry

A lot of billing tasks are actually data entry work, like entering client information, financial details, and keeping records. You can hire a bookkeeper to keep all of this sorted out.

A bookkeeper knows how to handle all of this data. That does not only mean what needs to go where. They know all about keeping sensitive information safe and making sure that the details are entered accurately. Accounting does not allow for mistakes!

Payment reconciliation

Payment reconciliation is another accounting task that makes outsourcing billing services sound like the best idea ever. This accounting process involves verifying account balances to make sure that all the details in different sets of records are accurate and match up. That’s not a task that most people would enjoy, or be able to manage.

Maintaining records so they stay updated, true, and consistent takes an eye for detail and a love for accuracy that not all people have. Whether you choose to do it daily, weekly, or monthly, you can use some help. The tediousness of this task can lead to mistakes, and you don’t want that. Payment reconciliation helps you avoid missing or failed payments and deposits, reporting and tax errors, and identify fraud. 

Credit control

Sometimes, allowing customers to purchase on credit can make you more popular. As you promote more sales this way, however, you must stay on top of all the payments due to you.

The credit control process helps you track the credit period, the payment terms you offer each customer, the credit standards, and your debt collection policy. It can also keep track of any cash discounts you offer to customers who opt to pay up front.

Attractive payment terms can boost profits, but only if you make sure you are getting paid. Start with hiring someone who knows how to check customers’ credit history so you know who you can reliably extend an offer to.

outsourcing billing services

Billing statement preparation

If you need to provide a customer with an overview of their account activity with your business, an assistant can help. You are most likely not that keenly familiar with every client’s transaction history with your business. And you don’t need to be.

First, you will want someone who can make sure that all these transactions records are properly compiled and stored in case any customer asks for a billing statement.

Then you will have them ready at a moment’s notice. This builds customer trust and loyalty. If you like, you can even have an assistant send these statements out regularly. The same assistant can also help you manage your billing cycle.

Customer billing inquiries

One thing that can really eat up a lot of your time is answering questions. When you hire a bookkeeper or other financial account assistant, they can take over customer inquiries. Every time someone calls or emails with a question, you have an assistant at the helm. This person is properly equipped to give the right answers about their invoice, subscription, change in payment method, etc.

Expense tracking and billing

Another potentially tedious yet vital task, expense tracking is best outsourced. You need to have a record of every single expense your business has. This not only helps you with your taxes, but also gives you a clear and detailed picture of your budget. This way, you can understand what changes you should make to become more profitable.

An experienced assistant can help you decide whether to make adjustments to fixed expenses like rent and utilities, or to fluctuating costs like labor and advertising. Without this, your budget will not accurately reflect what you’re spending, ans possibly wasting.

Refund processing

No business likes to think of issuing refunds. Not only do you have to return someone’s money, but you incur added expenses. You already spent a bunch making that sale, and now you have to spend more reversing it. This hassle can make you ignore the refund process, which is a bad idea.

Customer satisfaction is so important, and refund processing is one of its more vital aspects. With an experienced assistant, you can optimize your refund process so it’s not abused, runs smoothly, and keeps customers happy.

What Are the Pros of Outsourcing Billing Services

1. Cost Savings

You save a lot in general when you hire from overseas. Because most billing tasks are online anyway, you don’t need anyone in-office to do most of the work. The possible language barrier isn’t even an issue for the most part because bookkeepers generally don’t talk to your customers. 

2. Expertise and Efficiency

When you outsource, you are hiring from a global talent pool, not just the people who live in your vicinity. This gives you the best chance of finding the perfect fit for your needs. You can more quickly and easily get the right balance of skills, availability, and even personality when you hire globally.

3. Focus on Core Competencies

Most businesses don’t need full-time help with billing tasks. This tempts most business owners to do them, or ask another team member to take care of them. That is not a good idea, though, because it takes you away from what you do best. You will not do the tasks as well as a specialist would, for one thing. In addition, you might make mistakes because you don’t enjoy the work.

4. Scalability and Flexibility

When you outsource billing tasks, you can hire someone for as many hours as you need. This can easily change month over month, or even week over week. With freelance help, you pay only for the time that they actually spend working. You can get more hours or cut back whenever.

What Are the Cons of Outsourcing Billing Services?

1. Loss of Control

You are trusting another person with your finances when you outsource billing. However, you can put safeguards in place so you don’t get burned. Data security is one major concern. Contact us for help in this area!

2. Quality and Customer Relations

You might think that you can do everything better than anyone else. Most business owners do! While you might be right, the truth is that it’s still not worth your time to do everything. Focus instead on looking for expert help and building strong teams that learn and grow with you.

What Is Outsource School?

outsource school

Outsource School helps you to unlock the potential of virtual assistants and accelerate your business growth.

This is the exact system Outsource School’s founders, Nathan Hirsch and Connor Gillivan, used to go from zero to 8 figures and 40+ virtual assistants with an exit in 2019.

Since being founded in 2020, Outsource School has helped 1,000+ business owners hire 2,000+ virtual assistants for their companies.

Schedule a free sales call to learn more

Free resources you might like: 


We hope that this post helped you to decide whether outsourcing billing services is a good option for you. The Outsource School founders have certainly found it to be beneficial in their businesses! We want to make sure that it’s the best choice for your business, too.