In this episode, Derek is joined by Tiffany Bowtell, the founder and CEO of Property Management Virtual Assistant. Join Derek as they talk more broadly with Tiffany’s Property Management Services, specialized BPOs and as a new player to the outsourcing industry.
- Tiffany Bowtell is the founder and CEO of Property Management Virtual Assistant that is largely based in Clark, Pampanga.
- Originally, PMVA is a training and coaching company.
- Tiffany shares that trust is everything when you’re running a company in one country and you’ve got workers in another country.
- Tiffany compares and explain some key difference on training and upskilling people in the Philippines versus in Australia.
- The spirit of the Filipino workforce is one of the most attractive component in outsourcing to the Philippines
- It was the attitude and the likability of the Filipino workforce and their ‘can do’ attitude which was really attractive and made it quite easy to integrate from a local business to a global business.
Derek: Hi and welcome to another episode of the Outsource Accelerator podcast. This is episode number 147 and my name is Derek Gallimore, so today we are joined by Tiffany Bowtell of Property Management Virtual Assistant Tiffany is an undoubtedly an expert within the property managements sphere specifically in Australia but also in the UK and she scratched her own itch by building a virtual assistant team that can help within the property management sector so it’s a really interesting conversation. We talk more broadly with Tiffany about property management services and about specialized BPOs and also because she is relatively new to outsourcing but very experienced in property management services which is her professional niche, it’s an interesting perspective in terms of this outsourcing service providers, something that I certainly enjoyed and i’m sure you can learn things too, so if you want to get in touch with Tiffany or know anymore about Property Management Virtual Assistant then go to our show notes at outsourceaccelerator.com/147 enjoy.
Derek: Hi and welcome back everybody and today we have Tiffany Bowtell on the line hi Tiffany how are you?
Tiffany: I’m great how are you?
Derek: Fantastic and you are the founder and CEO of Property Management Virtual Assistant or PMVA for short and that is largely based in Clark and you are in Sydney, Australia so really happy to have you on board today and explore your journey so I suppose initially do you just want to introduce yourself and how you came to be running a outsourcing operation in Clark.
Tiffany: We were originally a training and coaching company where we were delivering services to our best practice and coaching services to our property management hive in Australia and ultimately they had some some core problems and issues that they were having from an administration perspective and outsourcing seem to be a great vehicle to resolve those problems they were having or challenges and as industry trainers we kind of stepped in and took over the training component in outsourcing in the Philippines so that the client didn’t have to put all their energy into I guess training up and up skilling the skills of their outsource workers so that was what we were doing for a living here in Australia and we just extended that to make it more global.
Derek: So you’ve had a personal journey, you have worked 30 years in property management in Australia. I assume as you’ve seen that industry developed as a huge amount of paperwork, there’s complexity in terms of managing properties efficiently and you have seen that industry really grow in sophistication but also kind of hustle factor and then what was it that led you to really scratch your own itch with outsourcing and looked further a field for staffing solutions.
Tiffany: Definitely since it still a lot of changes over my time and property management and you know I mean it’s a global thing but you know when I started we used to talk tenancy agreements on the typewriter with some carbon paper in between so but that’s how most offices were in my days and you know with technology that definitely helped a lot of businesses that I do feel that from a service based industry you can still only go so far with tech and when will tech take over that’s another conversation to have at some point but technology is probably been the biggest impact on the real estate sector and I do sort of feel now outsourcing has now become that next layer of that in terms of productivity and efficiency around a heavily admin, heavy industry for my own journey to outsourcing happened with my own business so as more business and as a small business owner you put on a couple of employees and you want to get the most out of the employees that you’re hiring as a small business and administration was one of those none dollars producing activity so we looked to outsourcing to assist us in a training company to create training manual and to create powerpoint presentations for our training day with our clients here in Australia and it really worked for us so when clients came to us asking to stretch out across to their services it was actually pretty easy to put together.
Derek: So was there initial you know did you i’m really interested in the beginning journey because i’m trying to encourage as many smes to consider outsourcing and I suppose a niche with difficulty with getting people on the outsourcing journey is to see the uncertainty of it all you know it’s a foreign country, it’s a foreign culture slightly, they’re aren’t aware of like real estate requirements for example you seem immune to a lot of these concerns or hurdles or did you just jump in and what was your initial I suppose impression compared to your initial concerns or thoughts.
Tiffany: I think I probably just jumped in with that too many concerns only because I knew the products so I knew what we were teaching and I knew what we were going to be delivering and the spirit of the Filipino workforce is probably the most attractive component to marrying what we did technically to executing from a worker perspective so for me that was the marriage it was the attitude and the likability of the Filipino work force in there ‘can do’ attitude which was really attractive and so that made it quite easy for us to integrate what we were doing each from a local business to a global business but you know I guess from somebody’s eyes who’s doing it for the very first time and they haven’t been exposed you know I lived in London for 3 years as a property manager and I travel through South East Asia so I had a pretty good idea of what culturally that felt like as a tourist and so it wasn’t a big stretch for me but I could imagine if you haven’t traveled to some of that Asian countries before experience that it’s going to be a little bit overwhelming but I also do think that the changes in the BPO industry are really making it a lot easier for people to breach the gap between their fears and the reality of it actually working within their small business to create the results that their looking for it’s just getting easier and easier and the tech is getting better and better so that you can literally click a button and have a chat while you’re driving your car about technical things which I do all the time I have hands free which is good but you know as the tech etc and outsourcing becomes more predominant on a worldwide scale I think you know there’s really not a lot to fear these days.
Derek: So that is interest and that intrigues me cause I often say that there’s kind of barriers to entry and people trying outsourcing because if they approach a bpo very commonly it’s a hundred thousand dollar conversation in the ideally a bpo would like a 1 to 2 year contract for you know couple of seats minimum and very quickly that starts to look a bit kind of scary commitment and what you were saying bpo’s are making it easier and easier where do you see the kind of the easier on ramps because i’m trying to encourage a lot of engagement with outsourcing and I agree that the easiest thing to do or the best way of approaching it just to make it easy to explore and have a go with it. You see that bpo are making things easier?
Tiffany: Yeah I think you know when it comes to this there’s couple of things you’ve got gonna make this decision on what do you want to outsource first of all and then you’ve to make the outsourcing arrangement work, so your expectations gotta be like any venture if you’re gonna hire somebody offshore or local who’s not trained in specifics, what you need to do you got to allow the employee to have time to stimulate the learning so you know you’ve got to have the right kind of expectation it’s not to turn it on overnight it’s gonna be fabulous so that require somebody sitting in the driver seat for it to actually work from an execution perspective but I think with you know the likes of great websites and social media. You know live broadcast that you can do by your facebook page, transparency becomes more and more of a key role in the integration with outsourcing when you’re making the decision you see if you can follow somebody on social media who’s instragraming or facebooking or live broadcasting from behind the scenes. I think that really makes a big difference when the end client is looking at an outsourcing arrangement because with the transparency through those platforms the client can really just start to get a sense of who the company is that they’re going to be, given that responsibility too.
Derek: And then it just sort of builds that familiarity doesn’t it and that’s one of the key aspects to I mean everything all businesses done through relationships and trust and networks and you know i’ve been on your website and on the homepage you’ve got a really cool video and it is just that it just shows the personalities it shows the people behind the scenes and it builds that familiarity doesn’t it which I think is one of the biggest hurdles to people starting.
Tiffany: Exactly, trust is everything when you’re running a company in one country and you’ve got workers in another country you know the key thing that keeps those two together is the trust and if I give you my information or my clients data base or financial data about my company is it going to be safe? and that’s what people are really interested in with the technology allowing that initial conversation to happen where the clients can do their research I think part of the process when we onboard clients you know it’s not a one conversation thing and they sign up with us it happened to me multiple conversation and part of that is doing due diligence, you know somebody looking at wanting to outsource with us and they haven’t done any research whatsoever, I typically want to say yes straight away and i’ll be like ‘no and go do some due diligence, go and find out what else is out there and go do your homework’ so that when you do come on board you know you made your right decision.
Derek: Absolutely and so it is really there’s an aspect of them and us isn’t there and I think sort of humans like they get a little bit tribal and anything them and us then it becomes a concern but you know if there’s any big company with a thousand staff for example there’s an aspect of them and us within any company isn’t there like the accounts department might not agree with the marketing department and I think this is just a similar but different case of them and us and when people start outsourcing and then they maybe come and visit their team, they realize actually you know we’re all just people, we’re all just engaged with mission and we’re all just trying to get on with the job and we all need a bit of attention and training and you know things like that it’s just like another department isn’t it?
Tiffany: Yeah I mean it’s the same as any change management. When you’re introducing something new into any company there is going to be that there’s a part of a human behavior and part of the change management is that you do come across those things but I do find that you know there’s not so much separation once the arrangement actually begins and that initial on boarding turns into consolidating and everybody understands how it works you know the human brain constantly saying ‘how is it here? how is it?’ and that’s what we want to know we want orientation as human being and outsourcing is one of those things just ‘how is it? how does it work? what does it look like?’ and unless you can answer that question or show transparency. It makes it very difficult for people to trust cause that’s the human nature it didn’t work out how is it here what is the orientation.
Derek: Absolutely and so you have the very broad and deep experience in property management services which is a specialism and you brought that over to the Philippines. You have trained people in Australia, but how do you compare training and upskilling people in the Philippines versus what you would be doing in Australia are there some key differences or is it all pretty similar?
Tiffany: I have to say it’s almost exactly the same. I haven’t found too much in terms of the differences, the foundation of any training comes with the student wanting to empty their cup at the doors, they arrive into that learning environment and that’s all about whether the people are open to the learning but in terms of the actual content or technicalities around transferring that information from what we know to what we need to teach. It’s just adding some extra layers and depths so that we understand you know if we’re training in Australia, we can shortcut a few of the ‘for granted’ things like you know for example in real estate they deal with dual system postage and in Australia we have what we call a p.o box and everyone in Australia understands that that’s where the mail goes but in the Philippines they don’t know what that is so there’s always whenever we’re delivering content training there’s always layers to that content that is more specific exactly you know a p.o box but what is a p.o box? well let’s just explain that you know same with water meter reading what’s water meter reading? what’s a water meter? So there are layers to things when we do the training that are just more looking at it from a tourist perspective that makes sense.
Derek: Yeah absolutely and it’s funny when people are just within their own clique and their own niche it’s amazing what people take for granted just that kind of background knowledge, background awareness, background understanding isn’t it and I think for outsourcing and for anyone that’s beginning outsourcing it’s really important to spend time with your new team and just kind of infill them on all of those aspects that you take for granted
Tiffany: Yeah I think that’s what we do when we help our clients come on board where we shortcut all that to the clients, so the client doesn’t just have to sit there and deal with you know this is how an Australian phone number is typically written, you know 3 digits with the space and then 4 digits with the space. it’s kind of taken for granted but if you come from another country that’s stuff is important when you’re putting data entry into a file and the things that the client I mean they don’t even see what we do behind the scenes for a lot of the time but there are those small nuances specific to what we are doing.
Derek: Yeah and that’s the value isn’t it of like property management virtual assistant because you’re effectively paying an hourly rate for someone but they don’t just get that someone they get all of the infrastructure and the training in the environment of your organization that really makes them specialized within that area.
Tiffany: Yeah I mean even though it’s in a say pay for a dedicated person to work on their account or multiple, they also get the team, so they get access to our training team, they get access to our Australian account managers and Australian training team they have typically for the first three months what we call a hand holder and make sure that they know how to click on what they need to click and that if they have any question they have and someone who just shadows them to their first 3 to 4 months that their in the business team leaders and someone we have a very large coaching, I guess coaching culture where our team members sit and have a coaching session every week with their team and you know all of that just comes as part of the whole package for us in order to just do a great job.
Derek: Fantastic so I want to get you back and we can deep dive into Property Management Virtual Assistant and exactly what offers and what it does but in the meantime Tiffany if people want to get in touch with you or know more about your company how can they do that?
Tiffany: Ah yea so our website is just pmva.com.au or short for Property Management Virtual Assistant.
Derek: Fantastic thank you so much!
Derek: Ok that was Tiffany Bowtell of Property Management Virtual Assistant so if you want to get in touch with Tiffany or know anymore then go to our show notes which is at outsourceaccelerator.com/147 and of course if you want to email us or ask us anything then just email us at [email protected] see you next time