Case Studies

Anyone, Anywhere Can Use a Virtual Assistant

Case Study #1—A Customs Catastrophe

Client: Synthetic Biologist and Entrepreneur

Task: A box of lab-grade chemicals and equipment was detained while going through US Customs for reasons unknown. The package had been sent by an Irish university to the United States. Client asked their VA to find out what happened, and get the box through customs.

“Following the assigning of the task, I knew it was going to be a doozy. The first step was finding out where exactly the package was, which took a few phone calls and some digging to accomplish. Upon finding out that the package was being detained at JFK Airport, my next step was to find out why it was detained. Upon further investigation, a number of emails, and a dozen phone calls later, I was able to determine which Customs Agent had handled the shipment. As it turns out, the box was detained due to an error in the paperwork that accompanied it. The manufacturer of the products inside the package were incorrectly labeled as the University that had sent them, and not the actual product manufacturers. I was then able to collect the proper forms, complete them, and send the accompanying chemical information to the customs agent, who was then able to release the shipment to it’s final destination.”

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Wedding Rings

Case Study #2—Matrimony Mayhem

Client: Founder/Owner, Boutique Consulting Firm

Task: Client was getting married in approx. 2 weeks in the Bahamas, and their wedding planner dropped the ball on a few important parts of the ceremony, including forgetting to purchase a number of necessary items that needed to be shipped to the island. Client called VA in a panic, worried that their soon-to-be-spouse would be even more upset.

"When my client called me that night after normal working hours, I knew it was an emergency. He was so upset and worried; the wedding was two weeks away and a number of important items hadn’t been ordered yet. While he ranted on the phone and listed off everything that had gone wrong, I was taking notes. Eventually I was able to get a word in, and gave him the game plan for the following day. I was able to order over $4,000 of wine and spirits, $500 of decorations, book two rental cars, book the photographer and his lodging, and gather the itineraries for the entire bridal party and family and compile them into a single spreadsheet...among a dozen other small details that needed to be taken care of. By the end of that day, I was able to call my client and read off the list of everything I’d accomplished. His response: “Am I allowed to fly you out to manage the ceremony? That’s probably against the rules, right?” I made sure he knew that while I’d love to fly out to the Bahamas for the ceremony (who wouldn’t?!) that he couldn’t afford it because I just spent the remainder of his credit card limit saving the ceremony itself.”

Case Study #3—Operation: Success

Client: Husband (Venture Capitalist) and Wife (Senior Executive of a Non-Profit)

Task: Client’s child needed to have two different surgeries performed, but due to the child’s intolerance to anesthesia both procedures needed to be done under a single sedation. The two surgeons were from different departments and had completely different Operating Room schedules. Client asked VA to assist with scheduling the surgery.

“The two doctors we needed for this surgery had completely opposite schedules! They were hardly in the same building on any given day, let alone the Operating Room. I called back and forth between their offices, speaking directly with the surgical schedule coordinators to try and find a day that they could both perform their respective procedures. Unfortunately, the next time that they would be in the Operating Room on the same day was in June, and we needed to have the procedure done no later than March. With a lot of persistence, and more phone calls and emails than I can remember, I was finally able to convince one of the physicians to operate on one of her administrative days, seeing as that was the only day they would be in the same building for the next four months.

On the day of the surgery, I ordered the parents some breakfast and coffee to be delivered during the surgery so they could eat while they were waiting for the procedure to be done. I also sent a Get Well Soon e-card to their emails to show their child. While they didn’t ask me to do these last two things, because of the relationship I’d built with them I wanted to make their day as easy as possible, and give their child something to smile about postoperative.”

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