The Direct Care Way

How To Hire a Virtual Assistant

November 07, 2023 Tea Nguyen, DPM Season 2 Episode 91
The Direct Care Way
How To Hire a Virtual Assistant
Show Notes Transcript

A nonsponsored episode on How I hired my VAs. I'd normally save this for my coaching program but I'll leak it :D I think you'll benefit from it, whether you are still with insurance or need some help in your DSC practice.

I go over:

  1. How to find a virtual assistant - I started with HelloRache, there are many others. I've also used
  2. Creating a manual to ensure their success
  3. How to select the right candidate & expectations if you've never hired before
  4. The interview process
  5. Setting the expectation 

The value of a great assistant can not be understated. Book rec Your World-Class Assistant by Michael Wyatt

Dr. Tea  0:00  
Owners of a direct care practice are more likely to experience higher job satisfaction than the insurance based practice. And it's no wonder why direct care is independent of insurance. Patients pay the doctor directly for their expertise, the doctor gets full autonomy in how they care for patients and how they get paid. They have chosen this path with a love of medicine. This is the direct care way. 

Dr. Tea  0:24  
By listening to this podcast, you may even start to believe that you too can have a successful direct care practice. Come listen with an open mind as I share my personal journey and how I pivoted from an insurance based practice to direct care right in the middle of the pandemic. And the valuable lessons along the way. This podcast may be the very thing you need to revitalize your medical practice. I'm your host, owner of a direct care podiatry practice, Dr. Tea Nguyen.

Dr. Tea  0:53  
I wasn't sure if talking about how to hire virtual assistant would be better done in a podcast episode or on paper. But I figured it's fastest to deliver through an episode so that you can at least hear at once. And then you can decide what parts you find are most essential, and then revisit it and take your notes. Because after all, when you take your notes, then it becomes a little bit more as secured into your mind. 

Dr. Tea  1:18  
So how do you find a virtual assistant, there's a lot of businesses out there that offers the service. And so I don't have any one in particular that I think is a favorite. I often believe that hiring whether it's somebody in house or somebody virtually it requires a process to kind of eliminate ones who do not fit your practice and then select for those who are really ideal. And you you always want to be thinking about when you're creating your team member, what attributes are really important to you what aligns with your core values, and always have that at the forefront. Because you don't always, you don't want to be in a situation where you just hire people because they got a pulse, right, you want to make sure that they will align with your team so that your entire team can follow through with your mission or the purpose of your business. 

Dr. Tea  2:14  
So in searching for a virtual assistant, I had started with Hello Rache, which was a really nice start for me. At the time, I was insurance space. So I needed a lot of help with calling insurances, checking, verification, insurance, deductible, like all the things. So this person would be the on the phone most of the time dealing with insurance stuff. And then secondary would be to answer the the overflow phone calls, because I did also have in house staff for that. So what I found really valuable for a virtual assistant during that phase of my practice was dealing with anything that had required time on the phone. So scheduling appointments, and insurance calls, predominantly, that worked out a lot for me, it took off a lot of workload for my in house staff. And it was really valuable. What I did with that virtual assistant was create kind of like a mini manual that would tell them how to do things. So if they were assigned how to do a an insurance verification form, I would create that document, they would have to ask the representative if these codes is going to be covered. Because as a specialist, a lot of the stuff that I do isn't necessarily covered by insurance. So we wanted to verify we're orthotics covered word bite splints covered steroid injections, if they have bilateral issues, could they have both done at the same day? Or was it one or the other. So all that would be put into this form. And it's usually the top five most common things that I do, it's not everything. So if it's a new patient, then I would know right away if the patient would qualify for custom orthotics, for example. And then as the patient needed more things, and we would deal with it as it would go because I didn't want the the VA to be on the phone for eternity, to know all of the codes. So that's how I started them. 

Dr. Tea  4:15  
Now how did I select for the right candidate as a virtual assistant, I think it's important to know right off the bat that you might have to go through a series of people. So you're gonna have to interview quite a few people to just get the feel of what it's like to screen for potential teammates or candidates for your practice. If you've never hired before, then this gets a little bit more challenging. So I've never hired before, but I had some idea of who I wanted in my practice. I wanted them to be really easygoing, but also follow directions to the detail so they had to be detail oriented. And they also had to be personable to some extent. And so I think oftentimes we trap ourselves into believing that we just need to do like a couple of interviews and pick one and call it good. But sometimes to find a really good candidate may take 10 to 20 plus interviews, to really get the feel of what you're even looking for. And in the beginning, if you don't even know what you're looking for, then you know, this is where you get to troubleshoot and try to figure out what's gonna work, what's not gonna work. And then you start learning how to read people, you start developing this intuition about how you feel about them, you know, are they a good match, and so on. So just keep in mind, it's gonna take some time to find the right fit, and don't expect the right fit to happen in the first couple of people who employ or you contract with. So put that aside, you know, knowing who to screen for, I look for things that were important to me. So I needed to make sure that their accent did not get in the way with the information they needed to tell patients. And I did have instances where the person's accent was too thick. My patients were frustrated that they couldn't get their questions answered. And so that was step one, making sure that I conducted an interview by zoom, so that I can hear how they speak, what their tone was, and just how they answered, you know, very basic questions. So that's how I screened for the candidate. Number two, I did look at their background, because what's really great about Hello Rache is that they do like these little small clip interviews where they interview themselves and they say who they are and what they do. And, you know, they kind of sell themselves with the with the video interview. So recording that you can watch. And that gave me a glimpse of who they were, rather than just on paper, I can see them in real time or in recorded time, how they came off. So that was really nice to be able to go through that. And then I would go through the fine details of their resume as to what their prior experiences or it wasn't very important to me that they had prior medical experience. I mean, it was very helpful, because there are just some minor details that, you know, could be saved, they knew or had some health care background, but what I was really looking for was somebody who was just good at problem solving. And they had like the people skill to be on the phone and help other people. Like, were they helpers? Were they helpful? Or could they be trained to be more helpful? Because when patients interact with the person on the phone, I'm hoping that they have a great experience, even if the person couldn't answer their question, at least they left at ease, you know, rather than more agitated, so that was kind of the quality I was looking for. And the experience, you know, that that can be taught, sometimes personalities, you can't teach personality, but experiences you can. So yeah, it is helpful, but it wasn't a deal breaker for me. 

Dr. Tea  7:52  
So after you get your selection, they'll give you a couple of people with certain backgrounds with certain characteristics that you asked for. And then you can go through the screening process and interview with them, then I selected for the person who I thought was a pretty good fit. And then I would ask them to do kind of like a minor assignment. And the minor assignment, I can't remember what I did for Hello Rache, but for my more recent one, I would ask them to create a webpage for me just to test their technical skills, because that was going to be part of their job description. So you can ask them to do a small task, like write me an email, at this email, and then show me that you can do a bind CC, something as simple as that. So it's, you know, it gets them engaged into the task, and it shows you know how quick they can respond to that task. And if they know how, if they even know what a blind CC is, and if they don't, then at least you can show them so something small like that, then I would bring them on for a second interview. So I would start selecting for like the top candidates. And then I would invite them to a one on one interview. And so I would schedule this individually one on one. So I now narrowed it down to like three, maybe, or five and then just invited them to these phone calls, the Zoom meetings with me, that's where I would get to know them and ask them, you know, what are their goals? What do they hope to achieve in this job? What do they want to contribute and so on, just so I can get an idea of who they were. And if we were even a good personality match. So that would be phase two. And then you know, these virtual assistants do go quite quickly. A lot of practices are looking for full time, virtual assistants and they're looking for full time work as well. So there is a minimum hour commitment for them at the time. I think I was told 30 to 32 hours a week was their minimum. So if you could handle that Hello Rache is a good option. If you need less you might want to go with an independent contractor or something else. So knowing that will help you select sir candidates for your practice. 

Dr. Tea  10:02  
Now, how do you move on to the interview section? Like, what are you asking them? So you can go very basic as to why do you want to be a receptionist? You're asking questions to get to know them? Not exactly the right answer. But like, how do they answer the question? Are they? Is it easy to understand them? Are they clear? Do they answer quickly? You know, when they don't have an answer to something, are they? Are they open to asking for clarification, or do they sound timid, that kind of stuff.

Dr. Tea  10:40  
And then eventually, I picked the candidate that that was the best for the batch at the time. And then from there, when you hire your virtual assistant, you let Hello Rache know who you're choosing, when they can start and what the expectations are. So moving on to the next phase, what the expectations are for your virtual assistant, you do want to be very clear about the three to five things you want them to do in this job description. It's very tempting to throw everything at them and get stuff off your plate right away. But I want you to really think about this person as they are your training, they don't know you, they don't know anything about your practice. But they want to do the job, right. So you have to set them up for that, which means you have to start creating these manuals, and it's gonna feel like it's slowing you down a little bit in the beginning, if you've never done this before, but it's totally worth doing because if this virtual assistant doesn't work out, then you already have the manual in place to fill it with another person. So this manual would look like the most frequently asked questions. And they and then how you want them to answer. So if they're going to be answering your phone, so the top three things you're going to have them do is answer the phone, book appointments, call insurance, for example, then your manual will include those things, and it needs to be very clear. 

Dr. Tea  12:03  
So let's say you want them to answer your phone. In that manual, you are going to write out exactly what you want them to say, when they answer the phone. Are they saying welcome to so and so's office? How can I help you or some variation of that it's your tone, you can decide. And make sure you practice with them live so that they understand what they're saying. And then the next section may be how to get insurance verification information. And it would go through like think about putting together Lego set, there are step by step instructions, this is what you want to create for them. So in the insurance verification form, it would start with number one, call this number number two, get the representatives ID. So it's traceable. And then number three, fill out this form, sign your name and date. So that would be the next section. And then the third section of the manual would be expectations. Like, if you need time off, how do you request it? How soon in advance is that going to be requested? What are the work hours, what is the general expectations of them, how they show up to work. So even though they've worked from home, some people think that this is an opportunity for them to be really relaxed. And to have a noisy background. And if you think nothing of it, but you need to be very clear about it. So make sure that you put ABC or 123 when you are working on the clock, ensure that you had headphones on ensure that the internet is will not be interrupted, ensure that there's no crying babies in the background that can be audible, something like that, you know, make sure you're working in a quiet setting. And then if you need a 15 minute break, you either help them to schedule it or ask them to check out with you or another staff member if they need to go in the bathroom. And they're not going to be available to answer the phone for you know, 15 minutes or something or what their lunch period looks like. And then it would be helpful for them to know what your future schedule is as far as time off on holidays because their holidays may not align with our holidays and make sure you ask them. What days do they need off. I think Christmas is a big holiday for them. So just make sure you you get that out of the way. And so there are no surprises when it comes to working in your practice. 

Dr. Tea  14:30  
So I know that was kind of a quickie. But that gives you insight as to the process of hiring a virtual assistant how to screen and interview them what questions to ask and then creating a manual so that they're set up to function in your practice at a high level. And then periodically check in with them have weekly meetings with them, to make them feel included in your practice and give them purpose in showing up as a professional and they're part of your team. So I hope that that was helpful. I know there's a lot of background noise and sitting here waiting for my daughter in her jujitsu class. And I'm just you know, sitting right by traffic. But the question came up, I thought it'd be faster just to give this recording so that you can now have it and refer back to it as needed. That's all I have for today. I'll catch you next time. Take care. 

Dr. Tea  15:19  
Thank you so much for being here with me. If you enjoyed this episode, and want to hear more, please like, share and subscribe so more people like you can have access to another way of practicing medicine, that direct care way. Let's connect find my info in the show notes and send me your questions might be the topic for future episodes. 

Dr. Tea  15:40  
And lastly, if you remember nothing else, remember this be the energy you want to attract. See you next time.