Well, as promised I would give you an update on Get Friday, the personal assistant company that operates out of India. I was very excited to have this opportunity to have a little extra help being that I am up to my gills in things I need to do. After I enrolled, it took about a week before I heard from Get Friday (it would be the only time I would speak with a real person), and about 12 days before I was actually assigned an Assistant. Get Friday gives you a 7 day trail before they bill you, my billing period began before I had my assistant assigned.

My Assistant seemed like a very nice woman. I never spoke with her on the phone, but she left me a few messages. There was this continual game of phone / email tag, that only amounted to a certain degree of frustration. Whenever I called them, I was sent to a voice mail box. Whenever I sent in an assignment, it was to a general email with their website.

The day after I was assigned my assistant, I sent in my task list (which I had carefully typed and had prepared). Two days later, my assistant begins to ask questions about the tasks, which mind you…..were carefully described in the task list, right down to how much time I wanted her spending on each project (this is required).

Here is a taste of how things went down:

1. I asked for a simplified description of how to list something on amazon. I was sent pages of HTML text copied from their site.

2. I asked for a web programmer to help with a makeover for my school, I was very specific in the work I needed done, the skills that the programmer needed, and the budget for the project. I was sent another list of possible web design companies all in India.

3. I asked for her to help me hire a US based fulfillment company to send out my dvds…again….another list.

Then I started getting strange emails, like…”I found this web programmer who can also send out your DVDs, but he lives in India….”

After a week of playing phone / email tag (I could never reach them), I wrote them last week terminating our contract. They didnt complete any of the tasks, but they sure liked to ask questions and send lists. After receiving my termination email, I received emails from both the Get Friday Supervisor and my Assistant wanting to schedule a time to talk with me. Fair enough….

So I say Monday at 4pm….keep in mind this is to two different people at the same company, one of them a supervisor. Monday comes around and guess what? Nobody calls… I would be happy to call them, if I wasn’t directed to voice mail every time. The next day, I receive two emails, you could probably guess who from, wanting to schedule a time to talk with me on the phone and sorry for missing Mondays appointment. Do we see a pattern?

I have learned from experience, that if you are planning on doing business with someone, and they fail to return your calls, or provide you excellent service in the “honeymoon” phase of the relationship (this should be the most exciting part of it for the service provider) it is a sign of things to come….only it will be magnified by at least 5 times. I learned this the hard way with hiring programmers, if they suck at returning your calls, don’t count on them finishing a project on time, if at all. (Especially if they demand payment upfront).

Get Friday may have been the cream of the crop for Virtual Assistants at one time- but it seems they have grown bigger and faster than what is best for them and the quality of their service has suffered. I would say absolutely, positively to stay away from them. Maybe they do have more capable assistants, but their lack of quality control scares me.

Anyone know of any other good VA companies?