Virtual Business Consulting

Karin Visagie - Virtual Assistant


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Customer is REALLY king

Posted by Karin - VA on October 18, 2011 at 1:50 PM Comments comments (0)

I despise bad customer care. The phrase “customer is king” was drilled in to me when I worked for the market research company.  That is what I believe to this day.  Keep your customers happy and your business will grow. 


Customers can be wrong. And rude.  And many other things.  But you deal with that. You cross that bridge when you get there.  Why do customers get upset?  Money and bad service are the ones coming up the most.  Do customers always complain?  Nope.  They just let it be.  Not me. 


Today I went to a big pharmacy and they had a product on promotion:  buy one, get one free.  I had to get two, so I thought “wow, bargain!”.  When I had to pay for it, the cashier knew nothing about a promotion.  She went to fetch the promotion poster, asked around and eventually came back with:  “The promotion only applies if you buy two of the same, i.e. two purple ones or two orange ones.  But it is not applicable if you buy a purple one and an orange one.”  I told her it was false advertising, they should fix the poster then, paid and went to ask for the manager’s email address.


I’ve mailed the manager, telling him about the promotion and that I think it’s false advertising. More than an hour later I got a mail back, apologizing – customer is king – and that I must come collect a third product when in the area.  I went there, telling them in a nice manner that I actually paid for the free one and that I want my money back.  As simple as that.  After a bit of running around, they issued me with a gift voucher. 


It is not a lot of money. I’m not being petty.  But I am a customer.  A promise was made on that poster.  It wasn’t kept.  And I responded to that.  If you make promises to clients / customers, stick to it.  Don’t offer something you cannot give.  A customer may be unhappy and not complain, but he may very well leave. 


Be honest. Deliver.  Stick to your promises.  And remember, customer is really king. 


The Day I Met A Stranger

Posted by Karin - VA on October 4, 2011 at 6:10 PM Comments comments (0)

One day, as I was minding my business, doing my work as always, I noticed a stranger coming through the office doors.  Odd, I thought.  I wasn’t expecting any more visitors.  The stranger didn’t bother to sit down in the waiting room, but pulled a chair up and sat down right next to me.  That was VERY odd.  I turned sideways to talk to the stranger and then only did I realized that the stranger was me.


When you do the same job over and over and over again for many years, you end up in a rut.  You tend to forget who you are and what you can do. You become your job, the tasks you do on a daily basis. 


Only now, the last few months, did I realized that there is more to being me than what I’ve realized. I have many more skills and abilities. I don’t HAVE TO BE in a rut.  I can use my skills and become the person I really want to be.

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A Task At A Time

Posted by Karin - VA on August 31, 2011 at 3:45 PM Comments comments (0)

One thing I battle with in a VERY busy office, is to get one task done at a time.  It is not because I'm not focussed.  Because I do focus.  But have you EVER tried to get a job done when you have to answer five phone calls, deal with clients, help your boss and greet a client who just walked in?  They all have their demands.  And in the end you leave your task and sort all of them out first.

Whenever I can, I try to deal with one task at a time.  It is a sure way to know that the job is done, nothing is left behind and I don't have to worry about comebacks about a job half done.  Try it - it is magic!

A Bruised Hand

Posted by Karin - VA on August 15, 2011 at 12:35 AM Comments comments (1)

One of the very valueble lessons my mother taught me, was this:  if you have to greet someone with a handshake, make sure your handshake is firm.  As it is, I have quite a good grip anyway and quite a few men commented on it. 

One day I was asked to go to a hospital for an interview.  Admin related job.  The admin manager - a guy - greeted me with a very weak handshake.  I think I might have hurt him accidentally.  Anyway, I had a good laugh about my mishap when I got home, not thinking that I would hear from him again.  I was, after all, the applicant who bruised his hand.  Okay, it wasn't quite that bad, but still.

A couple of days later I received a phone call from him.  They don't want to appoint me for the full time position they interviewed me for, but they would love me to come and work for them for five months.  Long term contract.  That five months turned in to seven in the end, but that is a story for another day.

The day of my interview I was just myself.  I don't like to pretend to be something or someone that I'm not.  The fact that I 'bruised' his hand, obviously made an impression on him.  Maybe he remembered me when he looked at his hand, I don't know. When someone gives me a firm handshake, it gives me confidence in that person. And that is what you want your clients to have in you.

Remember, it is the small things in life that can make the big differences!

How I Blog

Posted by Karin - VA on August 4, 2011 at 3:25 PM Comments comments (0)

I LOVE wrting.  And I am madly in love with blogging.  When I write, I come alive.  A whole world, made up from your word, comes to life and you have the power, the magic to make others see a part of your world through your eyes.

I know writing doesn't come easy for many people, but I believe that there is a word wizard in each one of us.  If you are able to have a conversation with someone, if you are able to describe something to another person, you can write.

Don't think of wrting a blog post as a massive task, an unpleasant job, something you hate to do.  Sit down somewhere where there is peace and quiet and just relax.  The words will come to you.  They always do.

Okay, so how do you get started with a post?  First things first:  ALWAYS write about the things you know.  If you know a lot about many things, pick one thing.  And then you break it up and break it up further until you find your topic.  Here is an example:

If I put five people next to a top of the range car and tell them to write about that car, I'm going to get five different stories.  One will write about the body, another about safety, another about interior finising, number four will have something to say about the price of that car and other's in it's class and the last one will say it's the most unreliable vehicle ever made.  BUT if I had to send the same people out with the car on a test drive and tell them to write me a post about their test drive experience, I'll get some useable information from them.  Why?  Because they wrote about something they experienced.  All of a sudden they have the knowledge to say something about the vehicle pertaining the test drive.

Don't try to write essays.  There is no need for that.  Keep your blog posts to the point.  Ask yourself:  if I am a reader, will I read this?  Is it too long? 

Bring in the human touch.  "I have experienced in my business that..." will capture readers more than "they say that..."  And be honest.  Be yourself.  Don't be afraid to make a joke - it's human to laugh.

Last, but not least:  if writing is not your strength, write down a few pointers, things you want to mention in your post.  And then, one by one, you flesh them out.  You'll be surprised to see the end result!

Words come to us in their masses - don't be afraid to use them!

Happy blogging! 


Virtual Assistant & Word Wizard

My Tool, The Aircon

Posted by Karin - VA on August 2, 2011 at 4:25 PM Comments comments (0)

When you are a Team Leader / Supervisor / Jacqueline of all Trades  (same thing, different names) in an office, you learn new skills very quickly.  You learn to improvise.  You find out about skills you never knew you've had.  If you're always pressed for time and you have to deal with nearly 50 people on your team on a daily basis, you realize that there is NO time to spend on sorting out little fights. 

In our office, the biggest little fight was always the airconditioner.  This one is dying of cold, that one is dying of heat and the poor one in the middle is for ever sniffing due to all the climate changes.  I think in most big offices you have a very similar situation. But one day, amongst a million other things,  I've decided that enough is enough.  It's not good for the staff to argue like this.  And it's not good for me either!  Nobody can get their work done properly.  And all that about an airconditioner.

I wrote a note, informing them that I will keep the remote for the airconditioner from now on.  We'll test various temperatures etc and then we'll decide on a setting that suits most of them.  Of course I had a few lips dragging on the floor for a while, but hey, I just climbed over them and carried on with my work. 

In any situation you will end up with something like my airconditioner problem.  Work situations are not always ideal and the way we want them.  Petty things get in our way, so easily.  But it is up to us to decide how we are going to deal with those tools, those situations given to us.  It's obvious that you cannot always fix everything, but at least try to find a way to make things work for you and the people you are working with or working for. 

Tell Me, How Good Are You In Doing Your Job?

Posted by Karin - VA on July 25, 2011 at 3:20 PM Comments comments (0)

At a previous company where I've worked, we had to do job appraisal forms every six months.  A form filled with lies, in my opinion.  I mean, REALLY. Who in his or her right mind is going to give him/herself a bad rating for ANYTHING when it comes to doing your job well?  Don't we all want to think and believe we are bright stars and brilliant at what we do?

After doing your own appraisal, you have the joy of sitting with your supervisors and then they get to do your appraisal with you.  To be honest, many times my attention wasn't really with that appraisal interview, but with my work, the ringing phones, the call centre staff looking for me... I've made sure that I do pay attention to the things that are important, but the small talk in between - nah.

One day my direct supervisor said to me that they keep giving me a very bad rating on one specific point:  showing an urgency for tasks that needs to be completed due to an emergency etc.  According to my supervisors, I don't show an urgency.  Yet I get the job done.  Why?  How?   *sigh*  I then sat down very patiently and explained to her that I actually DO feel the panic and the stress and I know work is urgent.  But what good is it going to do if I run up and down in the passage way between the two offices screaming and shouting, upsetting everyone?  Stay calm.  There is a crisis.  Prioritise.  Hand the work out.  Speak to your staff.  Get the job done.  If I stay calm, the staff will remain calm.

Good mark to me on the appraisal form.  Food for thought for my supervisor. 

I still don't run passage ways, screaming at the top of my voice.  If there is an emergency and it is part of my job, I do one of two things:  I prioritise and I get the job done as quickly as possible, the problem sorted and the client happy.  Or secondly, if it is REALLY too much for me, I ask for help. 

So Karin, how well do you think do you do your job?  Mmmm....  I think... no, no, I KNOW I'm doing a great job because I'm doing my best.

To Think OUtside The Box

Posted by Karin - VA on July 22, 2011 at 2:49 PM Comments comments (0)

When I was in college, I had a lecturer in my first year who was very practically orientated in her teaching methods.  She didn't just read from a text book and say a few words about what she just read.  Oh no, she EXPLAINED in detail.  Her examples were never out of line with the subject.  She kept her examples relevant and often tested us without us knowing and in the process, she helped us to learn to think outside the box.

If you can find a better, more effective way to do something, suggest it to your employer or your client.  Don't keep quiet about it.  There are many ways to do things.  There is NOTHING wrong with thinking a bit differently than the rest of the world, trust me.  If you can make your life, or a client's life a wee bit easier, go for it!

You don't have to reinvent the wheel from scratch again, but who knows, maybe you can improve on the patent?


Karin Visagie

Virtual Assistant and Outsourcing Services: Virtual Assistant and Team Administrator


My Brain is Bored!

Posted by Karin - VA on July 20, 2011 at 6:36 PM Comments comments (0)

I get bored when I cannot learn new things.  My brain goes on strike, a go-slow, a protest-action.  It wants to be fed new information on a regular basis.  That would explain the courses and creativity classes I took over the years.  As of late, I've been learning a lot about website design, something I always wanted to know mare about.

My brain is very happy about this challenge, even though the design work is often driving me up the wall.  Parts of it is easy to understand and to implement, but parts of it I have to ask my very patient teacher about time and time again.  But I enjoy it.  I'm able to learn.  And in the process, slowly but surely, I'm learning more about my own abilities.  I'm able to do things I never thought I could do.

Whenever you get the opportunity to learn something new, GO FOR IT!  Never stop learning, no matter how good you are at what you do.  Believe in yourself, because you are WORTH IT!

"There is always room for improvement.  It is the biggest room in the house."  ~  Anonymous

Karin Visagie

Virtual Assistant and Outsourcing Services: Team Administrator

p.s. For more info about our VA & OS business go to:


Welcome To My Virtual World!

Posted by Karin - VA on July 20, 2011 at 5:10 PM Comments comments (0)

Yes, yes, I see the question marks on many faces already, questioning my sanity. But I promise you, I'm quite sane.

If you're ANYTHING like me, you'll ask a thousand and one questions and wonder about things. But there is method to my madness. I need to ask to be able to understand everything in full and to get clarity about things. Only once I understand something 100%, I can move on and do what is expected of me. Rather ask millions of questions and get your facts right BEFORE doing the job, than doing a job with only half the facts in place because you didn't want to ask.

So, what exactly is this Virtual World?

Like many people, I've also frowned upon the idea in the beginning, not really knowing what the business entails. But as I've learned more, I realised that this is IT: THIS is the career move I've been waiting for!

So, here I am. Writing to you from my Virtual Office, a cup of coffee next to me and I am feeling alive!

As you know, there is "virtually" NO LIMITS to the things you can do as a Virtual Assistant. And then there are the added extras...

Just think: you're your own boss. You work your own hours. You miss the rush-hour traffic. You don't have to deal with bossy colleagues or temperamental bosses. For the parents amongst us - you get to be with your kids. And ladies, you don't have to wear those horribly high heel shoes! Isn't that just bliss?

Okay, time to get moving, I've done "virtually" nothing around this place today... Chat to you soon!


Karin Visagie

Virtual Assistant and Outsourcing Services: Team Administrator

p.s. For more info about our VO & OS business go to:


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