Learning how to train Amazon virtual assistant is one of the crucial tasks for us sellers. This is because, despite the skillset and experience of a virtual assistant, newly hired employees should be acquainted with your business strategies, your (‘virtual’) workplace culture, and your personal management preferences, among others, to ensure that your business runs like a well-oiled machine. Now, if you are in the later stages of hiring a new virtual assistant for your business, this article should prove helpful in learning how to train them; however, if you are still thinking about whether or not to hire a virtual assistant for your business, read our post on the Top 5 Benefits of Hiring a Virtual Assistant for your Store.
A. Review your ‘task’ list for your VA
If you are already in the process of training your virtual assistant, then chances are that you have already outlined the different tasks that you want to outsource. Just as I have mentioned in my previous post – A Definitive Guide to Finding the Perfect Overseas Virtual Assistant  – one of the primary tasks that you should have done before the hiring process was to outline and define the parts of your business that you can entrust to others and those that you want to do yourself. By doing this, you can leverage your strength in doing those tasks that would greatly benefit your business. Nonetheless, if you haven’t created an outsource sheet yet, you should start making one first. Follow the link in the post above so you learn how to create a Standard Operating Procedure Checklist first, similar to what is shown below. Just make sure that you maximize your delegation process without overworking your employee. This is key to ensuring that you maximize your ROI because even your employee would fall prey to productivity curves, which are normal for every human. After doing these, we can now work on creating a better training program for your Virtual assistants.
Now that you have created, outlined, and enumerated the tasks you can outsource, you can make your virtual assistant training course. In the next section, I highlighted some of the best ways to train Amazon virtual assistants from the most affordable to the least affordable since your ROI time usually lengthens with higher costs. However, in my years of experience building and scaling eCommerce stores, I realized that the most affordable is the highest risk of failure.
B. Find Affordable Options for Training
A. Create your Training Course
The first (and most affordable) option for your business is to create your own training course. Creating your own virtual assistant training course is beneficial since you know what you need in your business. In your training course, you must include the responsibilities and expectations, business overview, tools and systems used, and dispute resolution, among others. The following shows an example of the outline that you can use to create a course structure. This is not exhaustive, and if you feel that there are things that must be added since they are unique in your business model, feel free to add them.
1. Goals and Responsibilities
Perhaps one of the essential pieces of information you must add to your training program is the goals and responsibilities you expect your VA to do. In my consultation projects, I usually advise our clients who are setting up the Amazon FBA stores to have them are early as their Amazon Virtual Assistant Hiring process/phase, but just as the adage goes, “the best time to start was yesterday; the next best time is now.”
When I refer to ‘goals,’ this includes your business and VA goals. First, your business goals might vary from increasing your conversion rates, improving listing optimization, or speeding up your message response rate. Whatever these might be, make sure that your VA clearly knows what they are and why you chose them as their goals. Second, you should also include the VA’s ‘goals’ in line with the everyday tasks you assign to them. This prevents them from doing tasks not aligned with their goals and promotes independent decision-making in the long run.
2. Business Overview
The next thing you should include in your training process is your business overview. Your Virtual Assistant must know about your business, what products you are selling, your pricing and discounts, and your strong points that they can leverage, especially if you ask them to make sales. However, note that you should create a ‘non-compete clause’ in your contract to ensure that they would not take your clients, business model, and other confidential information (unless you hire a virtual assistant agency) once they leave your employment.
3. Tools and Systems
Amazon responds when customers complain about product quality – and the heavy lifting falls on the individual sale-level brand.
James Thomson; Buy Box Experts
Another important thing you must include in your amazon virtual assistant training course is the ins and outs of the tools and systems you use. This consists of the fundamentals of operating your tools and how you use them to maximize your sales and profits. Take note that even though some would believe that it is already the virtual assistant’s job to learn about these tools, not giving a brief overview and guide about them could use up a lot of time for your new hire (especially those who do not have a VA experience on Amazon FBA). This then lengthens the period before you can recoup your investments, thereby making your Return-on-Investment much longer to take.
4. Dispute Resolution
Finally, you should also add dispute resolution to your Amazon virtual assistant training. Whether in sales, marketing, or listing optimization, your VA would surely face some tasks wherein they would have to use their sound discretion to resolve them. Otherwise, you would be flooded with questions from your employees asking how to resolve your clients’ emergencies and complaints.
Studies on the ranking mechanisms of Amazon FBA suggest that “Amazon responds when customers complain about product quality – and the heavy lifting falls on the individual sale-level brand.” This means that a negative complaint could significantly hurt your product rankings when not addressed quickly.
This is why it is crucial to add dispute resolution protocols in creating your training course on how to Train Amazon Virtual Assistant. Let me give you an example of some experiences that I had as a veteran FBA seller.
I realized that handling all the ‘refund‘ complaints myself is very counterproductive. Before starting my own Virtual Assistant company – Amazon One Step – I used to have my VA compile all the consumer complaints and refund requests on the individual products I sell.
Regardless of whether the complaint could be resolved quickly, I made sure that I was knowledgeable about everything. Sure, it helped me know my product and system well, but it tired me since I had to do many other tasks myself.
Today, I realized that the best and most productive way is to train my VA to handle customer disputes, record the ‘most frequent and recurring cases, and escalate the matter to me only if retention measures (i.e., discount) do not work. I then teach a similar system to all of my eCommerce virtual assistants, working on my eBay or Shopify stores.
Note: Risks of Creating your Own Course
As I have said earlier, creating your online course is the most affordable way of training your virtual assistants. However, this is also the riskiest since any mistake in the training process could hurt your online business more than help it.
One friend of mine (who is also a successful seller by now) also created his training course when he first hired a drop shipping assistant for his Shopify store. As it went successfully at first, he just reused his training modules for his subsequent hires.
However, due to the ever-changing policies of eCommerce platforms, consumer behavior, and technology, among others, he just realized that he could have made more money and increased conversion rates by updating his training curriculum every at least 3-4 months. This, in turn, would have improved his ROI considerably compared to what he earned back then.
B. Look for training courses on how to train Amazon virtual assistant
If you are a busy individual or just someone who would rather entrust the process to professionals, then finding trusted and proven training methods might be the thing for you. There are plenty of Amazon virtual assistant training courses you could find on the internet, whether for free or not (i.e., Udemy Virtual Assistant Training Courses).
Nonetheless, since we are looking to maximize your ROI, I strongly recommend that you shed the idea of looking for ‘free’ training courses for your assistant. Even the free courses are usually just introductions to make you purchase additional courses with the promise that your VA’s productivity will improve. This is why I listed this option as more costly than creating your training course. For example, as I was establishing my own Virtual Assistance Agency, I read multiple books (i.e., Danny Holmes’ Virtual Assistant Training: How To Build Your VA Business And Ditch Your 9 to 5 Nightmare), underwent many training courses, and even established the learning-and-teaching system that I used to train our virtual assistants.
Although this personal experience seems to be focused on creating your training method, it nevertheless provides an overview of the costs of looking for virtual assistant courses. This does not even mention the extra time and training you have to supplement these online courses to ensure that your personal business’s intricacies are met.
C. Hire from virtual assistant agencies
Finally, hiring from VA agencies is perhaps one of my favorite options. I am not saying this because I established my agency. Still, my experience has shown how much I can improve my business and focus on my well-being while shortening my time to get my Return-on-Investment.
This is the costliest compared to others since virtual assistants from agencies have many experiences and training in both eCommerce management and others. This is not yet adding the costs to large teams with team leaders to monitor each agent’s performance and productivity. Nevertheless, since virtual assistants who work under an agency are highly trained in Amazon FBA and other processes, they can start working in half the time needed for other individual VAs to establish their systems and resources.
Additionally (or at least in our agency), agencies usually help set up and improve the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems, thereby making their knowledge more tailored and in-depth about your business. Finally, since VA agencies are accountable for their agents, your risk of having your clients taken away by “rouge VAs” is significantly less. To prevent these, in Amazon One Step, we usually train our VAs for the long run, do a thorough background check, and even make them sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) to ensure that our clients are well-protected.
Choosing an option on how to train Amazon virtual assistants mainly depends on many factors. This includes your time, focus, expertise, and priority. Nonetheless, if you want to ensure that you quicken and hasten your Return-on-Investment, I would highly recommend that you choose whichever option is best for you and act on it as