FAQs

About Virtual Assistants

What is a Virtual Assistant?

A Virtual Assistant (VA) provides support to businesses, assisting them remotely or “virtually” with a variety of day-to-day tasks. The advent of superfast broadband and cloud-based software (like G Suite and Office 365) combined with an ever-growing number of people working for themselves in pursuit of a better work-life balance, means the VA industry is rapidly growing. As you can imagine, a “Virtual Assistant” is a very broad term! Learn more about our services.

What are the benefits of working with a Virtual Assistant?

First, it is a flexible way to grow your team. Employees come with long contracts, a long list of legal obligations and a commitment that is difficult to work around if your business changes. At Clevertouch, we’ll work together on a monthly subscription.

Next is the efficiency and expertise that a skilled, dedicated professional can bring to your company. Our Virtual Assistants have spent their entire careers supporting business owners and senior professionals, meaning they have developed the skill set needed to succeed. It would be much more efficient for you to focus on what you are great at (and enjoy!) – from doing billable work for clients through to sales meetings – and leave a dedicated VA to take care of the tasks that take up too much of your valuable time.

It also makes a lot of financial sense! Remember, unlike an employee you pay (regardless of the output they generate) we’ll only ever bill you for time spent working on tasks. You also don’t need to worry about National Insurance payments, pensions, holiday cover, sickness payments, training, performance reviews, desk space, laptops, payroll… and the long list of other tasks and costs generated by hiring internally.

About Clevertouch Virtual Assistants

What makes Clevertouch different?

Like other Virtual Assistant providers, we work extremely hard to offer flexible, remote executive office services to our busy, time-poor clients. But what makes Clevertouch different?

Firstly, we’re a family office. We approach our clients and their businesses with honesty, integrity and the level of professionalism and detail you would take pride in yourself. We understand the unique challenges and frustrations that come with small and medium-sized businesses and aim to offer a bespoke, human approach. We don’t use busy call centres or outsource our own administration – instead, we prefer to work hands-on as an extension of your hard-working team. We’re only a call, text, or email away.

We employ talented, high calibre, board-level Executive Assistants and business professionals. Our Virtual Assistants are carefully selected for the acumen and expertise they hold, with an average of 10 years of exposure in high-level business office administration. The collective skills, knowledge, and wisdom our team holds enable us to offer a full suite of unrivalled resources. We are also a centre of excellence for the Neurodiverse community. To find out more about or Virtual EA’s experience and background, click here

We’re often asked, “What sort of tasks can your highly skilled EA’S complete?” The answer is pretty much any business or lifestyle administrative task you can imagine! Learn more about our services.

How can a Clevertouch Virtual Assistant help me?

At Clevertouch, we specialise in PA and Executive Office support tasks such as; diary management, inbox clean up, presentation creation, meeting packs and minute taking, bookkeeping and expenses, personal and business travel, customer service; managing appointments, data analysis and business office administration.

We can help with marketing activities, such as social media scheduling and sending email newsletters, or other similar tasks which could fall into a ‘support’ category, such as assisting with recruitment, offering customer service, or dealing with sales enquiries. Learn more about our services.

Who are your Virtual Assistants?

Our VAs come from a wide range of professional backgrounds – from Personal Assistants, Executive Assistants and Office Managers to Marketing Managers, Customer Service Managers, Account Managers, Business Analysts and Programme Office Planners (to name but a few). On average, they have accrued 10 years of professional experience before they join Clevertouch, with the ambition, passion, and discipline to work remotely.

Where are your Virtual Assistants based?

All of our VAs are native English speakers who live and work here in the UK. Clevertouch Virtual Assistants work virtually (including our Head Office team here in Shropshire) from their own cosy home office or a thriving co-working space.

How many clients do your Virtual Assistants work with?

Your Virtual Assistant will work anything from 40 to 160 hours per month, depending on their schedule and existing commitments. That means one VA may fill their entire month with one larger client, but another VA may work with a mix of smaller clients.

The important point is that there is no software involved – unlike many of our competitors, our manual matching process ensures there are checks and balances in place because each new account is reviewed by our Founder, Georgina, and not an algorithm. We’ll never recommend one of our Virtual Assistants to you without first ensuring they have plenty of availability to fully support you.

How do you hire or select your Virtual Assistants?

Our VAs must first apply to us and complete a very extensive application form, which includes uploading their CV, submitting a professional LinkedIn profile, and providing strong references.

Any VAs who particularly stand out from the crowd then pass through several other stages, including a thorough interview with our Recruitment Manager and a final meeting with our Founder, Georgina, to ensure that they’ll fit in well with our entrepreneurial ethos and growth-focused family culture here at Clevertouch.

The most crucial element in the process, as highlighted by Georgina, is the telephone chat she has with all the VAs. This is a great opportunity to find out more about each applicant – what they love, what makes them happy, how they work best and what skills they hold.

How do I know your Virtual Assistants are capable and trustworthy?

With an average of 10 years of relevant experience, Clevertouch provides some of the most experienced Virtual Assistants available to hire in the UK. We don’t take any shortcuts; all of our VAs must pass a selection process that checks their suitability using several in-depth checks and measures. Each VA is handpicked to join our team – this includes assessing their ability to work remotely. Rest assured, every Clevertouch Virtual Assistant has worked remotely before, has a suitable working space, and has a fast broadband Internet connection.

We also carry out a background and identity check (through an independent partner, Onfido) and we secure at least two references from previous employers or clients. Each VA is also offered our full training programme to ensure they are equipped with all the tools and support they need to hit the ground running.

Georgina, our Founder, works personally with every new VA as part of their required training and development plan. This ensures consistency of best practices, expectations and includes full Data Protection and GDPR compliance training. We put a lot of work into ensuring we hire professional Virtual Assistants you can trust but, if you have any concerns, your Client Success team is always there to assist you.

Do your Virtual Assistants hold insurance?

Yes, you are always in safe hands. All Clevertouch VAs individually hold Professional Indemnity insurance, however, you would hold a legal contract with Clevertouch and not with a VA that works on your account.

We hold comprehensive Professional Indemnity insurance with Hiscox which covers all work on your account, with a claim limit of £20k for any one task, as well as extensive Cyber Security insurance. Please ask us for more details if you need more information.

Getting Started

Which monthly support plan should I choose?

We can help you decide this during a consultation call; however, we recommend working on the basis that there are approximately 20 working days in a month. So, if you think 2 hours per day would be sufficient – based on how much time you spend on these tasks yourself – that’s 2 hours x 20 days = 40 hours per month.

Why do I need to have a consultation call?

To make sure you get to work with your ideal Virtual Assistant from day one, it’s important that we know who you are and the type of support you’re looking for before we get to work on your ‘to-do’ list.

Our Virtual Assistants don’t only want to lighten your current workload – they want to help you grow your business for years to come. We focus on building happy, long-term client relationships and our consultation process is the first step in the right direction.

There’s no hard sell or obligation to sign up. This stage is simply a chance for us to find out more about you and your business and for you to understand exactly what to expect from working with a Clevertouch Virtual Assistant.

Initially, you’ll speak with Clevertouch Founder and Director, Georgina, who understands both the demands of running a business and the value a Virtual Assistant can add. Georgina sources the best Virtual Assistants, working with them individually to assess their strengths before delivering tailored one-to-one training so they can hit the ground running. Rest assured, you’ll be paired with a Virtual Assistant who has been specially selected by Georgina based on your requirements and their strengths.

Why do I need to speak to the Virtual Assistant you recommend?

Your new Virtual Assistant will be working with you day in and day out, so it’s important you have the chance to connect and check that you are happy before you officially create an account with us. These calls can last as little as 10 minutes if you prefer to simply say “hello”!

Do I need to pay before speaking with my recommended Virtual Assistant?

Absolutely not! Following your consultation call, you’ll receive a detailed recommendation that outlines the skills and experience of the Clevertouch Virtual Assistant we recommend you work with. Only if you’re just as excited with the match we’ve made as we are, do we ask you to create your account with Clevertouch so that you can begin working together.

Virtual Assistant Services

What can my Virtual Assistant help me with?

Our VAs generally fall into three categories.

  1. They have a background in Personal Assistance, Executive Office or Executive Assistance.

In this instance, the VA will have supported senior business leaders (CEOs, VPs etc.) or have worked with the Director of a small and large business before. As such, they can comfortably handle a variety of administrative support tasks! These Executive VAs also support our Neurodiverse clients and are fully trained in methodologies and approaches.

  1. They have a background in Marketing and now work as Virtual Marketing Assistants.

In this instance, they will have worked in senior Marketing roles (e.g., Marketing Manager) or as an independent Marketing Consultant before. Marketing VAs support clients with a range of (usually digital) marketing tasks and projects, such as managing your social media, email marketing, content writing, relationship building and much more.

  1. They come from a broader background and are capable of completing a wide range of tasks.

In this instance, our VA fits into the “all-rounder” category. They have solid experience in both EA, Marketing or finance roles and may also have additional skills in customer service, financial admin, event management, travel planning, personal administration and more.

Do you offer bookkeeping or accountancy services?

We’re not qualified or licensed to offer bookkeeping or accountancy services, but we can certainly help you out with financial admin tasks such as paying invoices, filing your expenses, or sending your accountant the information they need to file your next VAT return.

It does not mean, however, that we can act as your authorised agent to HMRC or file any company administration on your behalf – anything usually completed by a Company Director, Company Secretary, or your accountant.

Do you offer call handling services?

We don’t offer this service, but we work very closely with a fantastic external team that manages these requests for us. Please drop us a line should you wish to find out more about call handling and live chat services, or visit moneypenny.co.uk quoting this website clevertouchsolutions.co.uk

Working with your Virtual Assistant

How do I work with my Virtual Assistant?

We don’t set any rules here. Most clients prefer to use a combination of email and phone calls to work with their VA, whereas others like to use Slack (a real-time messaging platform) or a ‘to-do’ list app like Trello. It’s completely up to you and your VA. If you prefer to work a certain way, just let us know on your consultation call and we’ll make sure your VA is happy to meet those requirements.

When does my Virtual Assistant work?

Though we don’t set specific hours or schedules, as we operate a service supporting small businesses, our VAs generally work standard UK office hours, Monday to Friday. They will always work to ensure you are supported. If you need a VA available outside of standard office hours (i.e., evenings and weekends), please let us know and we’ll see if we can accommodate this.

How do I see the time my Virtual Assistant logs?

Our Virtual Assistants use Toggl, a time tracking tool that enables a complete breakdown of all time logged, by anyone working on your account.

When working, your VA will also set up your tasks within your chosen Task Portal (e.g., “Travel booking”) and then log time to these tasks in real-time. They log in, click “start” to begin any work and then hit “stop” when they’ve finished. These time logs are then debited from your balance of hours throughout the month.

How does holiday cover work?

We’ll make sure you are aware when they plan to be away (though they’re likely to have told you anyway). We’ll then recommend a temporary PA with a similar background and skillset to support you. If you’re happy with our choice, your usual VA will provide a full handover. This doesn’t cost you a penny and is always a smooth, simple process. The cover VA may then provide a handover back to your usual VA upon their return.

What does my Client Success team do?

All Clevertouch clients are assigned a dedicated Client Success Manager. Your Client Success Manager is not only there to answer your questions and resolve any queries you might have whilst working with us, but also to proactively help you get the most out of the service we offer.

Software recommendations? Delegation tips? A sounding board for your latest project? Alongside your VA, our team want to make sure you’re leveraging your time efficiently and effectively.

What do I do if I’m not happy with my Virtual Assistant?

Fortunately, because of the time we put into our unique matching process at Clevertouch, it’s very rare for a client not to gel with their VA. But humans are still human and may not always see eye to eye on how best to tackle your busy day or launch your latest marketing campaign.

If you are ever feeling frustrated or fed up at any point, simply get in touch with your dedicated Client Success Manager and let them know how you feel; they’ll work promptly with you to resolve the situation.

Our Agreement

Am I locked into a long contract?

No. We’d always prefer to impress you with our outstanding service rather than pull the wool over your eyes or lock you into a seemingly endless contract. If your needs change, just let us know! Please just note that a minimum of 1 months’ notice (before your next billing date) is needed, should you want to switch plans or terminate your contract.

I need more support than I’ve prepaid for. Can I use extra time?

Yes. Our service is designed for small businesses, and we know that it’s not possible to forecast exactly how much support you’ll need from your VA each month.

That means that your Clevertouch Virtual Assistant will simply continue working for you throughout the month and, if they exceed the prepaid hours you have on account with us, we’ll bill you for the extra time on your next billing date. This will be agreed in writing before the additional hours commence.

My support needs have changed. How do I change my monthly plan?

We know what it’s like to run a growing business and things can quickly change. If you need to change your support plan, just let your Client Success Manager know at least 7 days before your next billing date.

How do I cancel my account?

You can cancel your account with Clevertouch at any time. Simply drop an email to your Client Success Manager at least 7 days before your next billing date.

Billing and Payments

How does billing work?

When you create an account, simply pick a support plan (10, 20, 40 or 60 hours per month) that you feel is most suitable. The date you sign up for our service is known as your monthly billing date and you’ll continue with your plan unless you tell us otherwise.

It’s important to point out that unused hours do not roll over; this is because all of our Virtual Assistants plan their day to ensure they allocate the right amount of time to your tasks and requests.

Should you not be making the best use of the hours included in your support plan, you can always contact your Client Relationship Manager who’ll work with you to tailor your plan. Remember – you can scale up or down at any point, just let us know before your next billing cycle. You can find a real-time overview of the hours you still have available through toggl.com.  Simply request this from your Client Success / Relationship Manager.

How do I pay?

95% of our clients prefer to pay us by direct debit. It’s the safest, most convenient way to pay, as payment is taken automatically on your billing date… one less task on your ‘to-do’ list! This is handled by an independent third-party – GoCardless. We’ll never see your bank details and you’ll always be notified by both Clevertouch and GoCardless before any payments are processed each month.

Alternatively, you can pay by credit/debit card.

Is Direct Debit safe for me to use?

All Direct Debit payments at Clevertouch are handled by a third party, GoCardless. When we need to process payment for one of your invoices on your monthly billing date, we pass on a payment processing request to GoCardless, who then handle the payment on our behalf.

That means you are always in complete control of your paperless Direct Debit mandate. You can log in to your GoCardless account at any time or cancel it directly with your bank, should you need to do so. You’ll also be notified three working days in advance of your account being debited of any payment.

You’re also legally protected by the Direct Debit Guarantee. This means that if an error is made in the payment of your Direct Debit, you are entitled to an immediate full refund of the amount paid from your bank account.

What are your payment terms?

Clevertouch is a prepaid service. We’ll process payments for any invoices due automatically – with your prior consent – on your regular monthly billing date. This is either handled by Direct Debit or by charging the card you have already placed on file securely with Stripe.

Likewise, if you use any extra time above the prepaid allowance in your Support Plan, we will bill you at the end of that period for this additional time (at the equivalent hourly rate). Payments for these invoices are also processed automatically.

Are there any hidden or additional fees to pay?

There are no hidden fees. Your Support Plan includes the use of both your Virtual Assistant and dedicated Client Success Manager, access to our task and time tracker, plus all the other tools and software that you might expect your Virtual Assistant to use as standard.

The only extras you might need to budget for are if your VA will incur expenses as a result of the work you need them to do. Postage costs, travel expenses or high volumes of phone calls would be examples of any costs you would need to reimburse us for (at cost).

Do I pay extra if I need to work with more than one Virtual Assistant?

No, our support plans are set up to include the hours available for use by any of our team working on your account. If you have more than one Virtual Assistant (e.g., a Marketing VA and an Executive Assistant), they each debit the time they use from that single total balance. You don’t need to take out a second plan if you need to work with two or more Virtual Assistants.

Technology, Security and Data Protection

What software will my Virtual Assistants use?

All of our Virtual Assistants have access to typical office software, such as Microsoft Office, as standard. They all have access to G Suite and a Microsoft account, which allows you to work collaboratively on documents together in the cloud, as well as video conferencing software (Google Hangouts, Microsoft Teams) and cloud storage (G Drive, SharePoint). We also use Slack to communicate internally, so you have the option to add your Virtual Assistant to your Slack workspace.

Beyond that, if you would like us to match you with a VA with knowledge of other software, please just let us know. From Xero to WordPress – we have it covered.

Is my Virtual Assistant equipped to work remotely?

The Internet makes real-time remote working possible. Rest assured, your VA will have everything needed to work collaboratively with you and help grow your business. All of our Virtual Assistants use either Microsoft 365 or Google’s cloud-based G Suite apps and services, meaning together you can use:

  • Google Docs – for document collaboration
  • Gmail – for fast and efficient email
  • Hangouts – for video conferencing
  • Google Drive – for shared online storage
  • Google Calendar – to see your upcoming schedule
  • Microsoft SharePoint – for document collaboration
  • Microsoft Outlook – for efficient email
  • Teams – for video conferencing and team collaboration
How does my Virtual Assistant track tasks and time?

Here at Clevertouch, we use a combination of Trello and Toggl to track, monitor and time your tasks. This is also a great collaboration tool should you require your VA to liaise with other members of your team. Each time your VA works on your account, they’ll log in to the assigned Task and click “start” to begin a timer. They then hit “stop” when they’ve finished, and the time logged is debited from your current allowance.

You can log into Trello or Toggl at any point to view detailed timesheets, logged in real-time, for any tasks we’ve been working on for you. It’s 100% transparent.

Unlike some of our software-heavy competitors, we don’t make you use the portal to delegate tasks to your VAs; you can leave the record-keeping to us! Should you wish to email/WhatsApp your tasks to your VA, this is fine too; your Client Relationship Manager will keep you informed of your timings as the month progresses.

Can my Virtual Assistant have an email account with my company?

Of course. Most clients prefer their Clevertouch VA works in this way to operate similarly to the rest of their team. Working in the same cloud also makes delegating your inbox or calendar much easier; simply add them to your Office 365 or G Suite dashboard and away they go!

How do I share confidential information, such as passwords, with my Virtual Assistant?

We recommend you use password management software, such as LastPass, to share sensitive or confidential information with your VA. This way, you retain complete control with the ability to update passwords or revoke access at any time. Your Client Success Manager will be able to advise you on how to set this up.

I’m worried about confidentiality. How do you deal with this?

Given the nature of our business and the clients we support, confidentiality is paramount to Clevertouch. From law firms to IP consultants – it is intrinsic to our work. On a practical level, our legally binding contract with you contains several strict confidentiality clauses that we agree to adhere to. We hold a contract with our VAs which mirrors these aspects of confidentiality plus a separate Data Processing Agreement.

The Clevertouch DPA contains further confidentiality clauses and establishes our VAs as “Data Processors” and Clevertouch as the “Data Controller”. In practice, this means that any data or information to which you give us access, which is used or processed by any member of the Clevertouch team, is legally safeguarded at all times. The support we provide to your business and your end customer base is 100% GDPR compliant at all times.

All legal agreements at Clevertouch have been written by a highly specialist law firm in this area. Given the complex nature of our business model, it is a matter we have gone to great lengths to ensure we have addressed extensively. For complete peace of mind, Clevertouch also holds a comprehensive Professional Indemnity cover that covers all clients from the very minute they create an account.

I’m worried about data security. How do you deal with this?

Given the nature of our work, we take data security very seriously and are 100% GDPR compliant across all of our processes and policies. We are also registered with the ICO and far exceed all industry best practices.

We maintain a strict Confidentiality Agreement with you as part of our terms. Our VAs also sign a second separate Data Processing Agreement which ensures their work is 100% GDPR compliant.

On a practical level, all VAs use a Clevertouch G Suite and Microsoft 365 email address which provides them with access to cloud storage and an inbox for their work at Clevertouch. They never save files locally on their computer or elsewhere. This email address and cloud storage can also only be accessed by them through two-factor authentication. You can specify that your Virtual Assistant uses your own separate cloud accounts if you prefer.

Data security is a complex topic, and we have several other strict measures in place. Please contact us should you need further information.

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