The Search for an Assistant

Upload all of my contacts to your system for ease of use

One feature I was really jazzed about with Sunday is their ability to keep a list of all of my contacts online and use that information in future requests. The best part is that one is able to mark any number of contacts as emergency contacts and give them access to use your account in case of emergency. Thus, I could say, If I write or call with an emergency, call my husband and parents, tell them what is happening, and offer your services to them with anything they may need to do to address this emergency. Handy, especially if you are stuck in an airport in a foreign country with meetings and such to reschedule.

What didn’t work for me is the tediousness of adding new contacts to the system (you must either put them all in by hand or ask your assistant to upload them for you from a file). Now, I am a web designer here, but I believe strongly that a cumbersome online experience will vastly detract from a customer’s overall image of your business.

Call a (here unnamed) online flower delivery service and dispute a double-charge that occurred through PayPal

This one didn’t fare so well, but I believe much had to do with my own inexperience with employing an online assistant. My assistant made the call and then wrote back that there was no double-charge (although clearly, according to PayPal, there was). Reading more about virtual assistants, here’s what I should have asked (and would ask in the future):

Call the flower delivery place and dispute the double charge on order #XXX. If you are not able to resolve the issue with them, call PayPal and talk to them about next steps for disputing claim. Follow these instructions, spending up to 2 hours with this task. If, by that time, the issue is not resolved, send me an email with a description on where we are and await further instructions. Thank you.

Call my health insurance and inquire about their ability to cover a specific procedure

My assistant didn’t have the ability to ask these questions. Next time, I’ll ask, Call my health insurance to inquire about their ability to cover a specific procedure. If they are not able to speak to you directly, patch them through to my cell number once you have the correct person on the line. I am available today from 8 am to 3:30 pm to speak to them.

Find an environmentally friendly cleaning company in SE Portland that is able to visit both our home and studio monthly

After a bit of clarification, this task worked incredibly well. I received a list of about 6 companies to choose from along with contact information for each. My assistant had called each of them and gave details about their services. We now have successfully hired a green cleaner for the studio (a task that has been on my plate for about a year now, without much success).

I was mostly happy with my experience with Sunday, save my newness with using such a service. However, Sunday is only able to be used by one person in a given company (this means that both Ray and I would need separate accounts, which doesn’t make sense for our 2 person studio – we’d like the ability to log-in and be sure we aren’t double-tasking our assistant). The lack of sharing an account was a deal-breaker for us with this particular service. We’ll be evaluating new services in the coming weeks until we find one that does fit the bill. Next up, Get Friday!

Kandace Brigleb

Producer, co-founder of Needmore. Currently residing on the left coast.