Onboarding a new client is always a very exciting experience for any virtual assistant. However, sometimes, a few weeks down the line one or both parties may feel disillusioned and frustrated with the business relationship. I’ve especially found this to be true when either the VA or the client is still new to the virtual assistance industry or when both are. Here are a few pointers to help VA’s (and clients) avoid the pitfalls of unnecessary frustration.
My clients and colleagues will all tell you the same thing about me. I ask questions… a lot! I don’t just accept the status quo of anything, just because someone said so… It might work on your nerves (I know), you will, however, thank me later! Why do I ask so many questions?
The answer is simple, with more information comes informed decision-making.
Whether an athlete plans to run a marathon or a 100m race, one thing remains the same. The planning, preparation and training take up way more time than the actual event. Similarly, we should remember that a lot more goes on before we get to the actual execution of the tasks at hand.
A lot of the time I find clients want to skimp on this part. Make sure as a VA that you help them understand the value of first gaining insight into their business and current structures and procedures while gathering all the information you need to start planning the next step.
“Failing to plan, is planning to fail.”
This step can’t be stressed enough! Plan your day, plan your week, plan your month! Yes, anything or everything might change, depending on the type of industry. But…without planning, you will not have realistic goals, this will limit your feeling of achievement as a VA and will give the client a false impression that you’re not making the progress they had in mind. It may also lead them to inevitably believe that a virtual assistant is not a valuable contribution to their business. Planning means goals and goals means you can measure results. Let the results speak for you.
Your client may not understand your need for planning, so I suggest you ease them into it. Start with something simple like an email or message (using whichever means of communication your client prefers) every day at the start of your session with the client to just let them know 2-3 things you will be focusing on for the day (it obviously depends on the complexity of the tasks or projects). Also, give them an estimate of the time it will take you to accomplish your goal. At the end of the day give short, to the point feedback.
Vital to every successful business relationship is communication. So why do we often tend to neglect such an extremely important tool for success in the hustle and bustle of our day?
If you find yourself explaining or re-explaining yourself or a task or project’s progress to your client more often than not, it definitely demonstrates a communication gap. This means your client feels their expectations aren’t met, and you might end up feeling the client doesn’t value your service.
The key here is effective communication. Make sure your client understands the process and time each task or project might take and if you run into any delays, which often happens, communicate this with your clients, so they get an understanding of what it takes to get the job done, right- the first time.
It’s not rocket science
Only rocket science is rocket science. You’ll find your groove before you know it. We just need to remember that we all started as newbies in the industry some time, so, a little patience and coaching will go a long way towards building a lasting business relationship.