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When I first became a virtual assistant over 19 years ago, it was a daily part of my day to work to educate the general public as to what a virtual assistant IS and what we can do to help individuals, small businesses and corporations. For the Coaching industry especially, the Virtual Assistant was key in helping them to organize their practices. In fact, Thomas Leonard, founder of the International Coach Federation, is credited with coining the phrase “virtual assistant” for his assistant Stacy Brice. It took a few years, but eventually the phrase “virtual assistant” became very well-known and our fledgling industry was growing rapidly. Now, I’m required again to educate people as to what a “Virtual Assistant” REALLY is and how we can help people. I don’t know about you, but Siri, Cortana (and other so-called virtual assistant apps) are NOT virtual assistants!!! They are bits of software and programming designed to perform small tasks (after you set up your parameters) or guide you through your customer service calls. They do NOT take the place of a REAL Virtual Assistant! As much as I love Cortana – and I use it every day – there are limits to what it can accomplish. Also, it cannot interpret my mood, the way a real virtual assistant can do with long-term clients.  It cannot answer my numerous client phone calls.  I also love Siri on my iPad, but it doesn’t take the place of a real person. Someone whose function is far superior to any string of bits and bytes.  Are they convenient and make me feel geeky?  Yes, but they are not virtual assistants.  They are more like advanced voice command software. And personally, I resent these companies calling their software a virtual assistant! We worked very hard to make our industry viable and visible. We are an industry of hardworking and dedicated individuals (and teams!) who are committed to providing the best possible service. What are your thoughts? Kathy McCabe, MVA Master Virtual Assistant, VA Certified Ethichs Checked VA Thomas Leonard International Virtual Assistant of Distinction Award 2013]]>

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