A smart assistant (SA) is what the industry would like to call a virtual assistant. It is the equivalent of a remotely located executive assistant in terms of tasks and function.
I prefer the term smart assistant because I prefer to deal with real people that I can communicate with, unlike virtual assistants, which sounds a lot like a pre-programmed application such as Siri or Google Now.
So what can an SA do to help you? From my experience, almost anything, provided that they are given a clear set of instructions, access to information and sufficient time. Not convinced? Let me run you through a typical day of a businessman aided by an SA.
You are driving to get to your first meeting of the day when, suddenly, a forgotten task pops into your head. How untimely, right?
Ordinarily, you would take a mental note of it and hope you remember it later, or you would send yourself an email reminder which is going to add to your huge pile of unread emails.
But since you have an SA, you can just talk the reminder into an app called Say it & Mail it on your smartphone and it will automatically send an email to your SA to work on it.
Turning up late to your first meeting, you try to orient yourself on the agenda and the people you are meeting. With an SA, there is less stress because they have already pre-populated a meeting template that includes everything you need to know and use for that meeting.
You try to juggle listening and taking notes during the meeting. Alternatively, you can just tape the meeting and get your SA to extract notes so you can focus on listening and doing business with the people you are meeting.
You can also talk into the Say it & Mail it app as you leave the meeting so that your SA can start working on it while you go about the rest of the day. More work accomplished for you, less sleepless nights punching out emails.
During the meeting, you take a photo of a diagram on the whiteboard to share with your team, which you eventually forget because of your packed schedule.
Not to worry, your SA will automatically have access to the images once you dock your smartphone and they will distribute it along with the notes from the meeting. They can also file them for quick recall into your CRM.
The meeting with this potential client went well and you need to book another meeting with them, but you have to get to your next calendar appointment.
Your SA will help you save time as they book and follow-up the meeting for you. They can also set-up this potential client in your CRM system using an App called Mail Templates. Just complete the required info and email it to your SA who will enter it to your CRM.
You have been very busy throughout the day with your meetings and activities that you have no time to view and organise your emails into those which require action or need to be allocated to others.
Your SA plays a filtering role to extract important emails leaving you only with emails that you need to act upon by yourself.
See how much time and effort you were able to save?
Now, could someone based in your office do this for you? The answer is yes, however, the cost and flexibility does not compare to outsourcing someone from a different country, for example the Philippines, where there is only a two-hour time difference, workers are fluent in English and tech-savvy.
So, if you have many days similar to what I have described and feel like you are drowning in a pool of overflowing tasks, then it is time for you to look for a solution.
Start thinking of increasing revenue instead of endless admin in the office. Free yourself from admin work wisely, and you will start getting the quality results you deserve.