Why clients need to be educated on how to work with a Virtual Assistant
How to work with a Virtual Assistant
Listen, we all get crazy busy at work and soon enough the To-Do list becomes longer and longer. What seemed a mundane task has turned into an admin nightmare and your desk has become a potential fire hazard that is best avoided. The deluge of emails pinging your inbox every few seconds is fast transforming you into a version of Cruella De Vil and the coffee pot is empty. Already.
Enter the Virtual Assistant. The damsel to ease your distress. Well, usually it’s a damsel – but there’s a few knights out there too.
Start At The Beginning
The online search has been conducted and contact with a VA made. Upon concluding a Skype or Zoom video chat, a good rapport seems to have been established, T&C’s have been signed and the next step is to start assigning tasks to your VA.
So, whilst all this sounds relatively easy and quite straight forward, there are a few fundamentals when deciding to work with a virtual assistant. From day one, the get-go, implement a few systems to ensure smooth operations ensue, for both you and your VA.
Communication Is Key
For this relationship to work, communication is vital – especially in the beginning. Be sure to check in daily via email, WhatsApp or on platforms such as Trello or Slack. Set aside some time to have a telephone or Skype discussion once a week. This is a great way to build your relationship and get to know your VA. In order to minimize issues and misconceptions, clients and VA‘s need to be comfortable communicating with one another.
Create Shared Documents And Records
For your VA to understand your business, create shared records using online platforms such as Dropbox or LastPass. The more you equip your VA, the better access to info she will have and it’s less likely that you will be asked for the same information multiple times. Set up project lists and tasks, highlighting what the priorities and deadlines are. As the VA completes tasks, these can be annotated and updated, indicating at which stage the tasks are at.
In most instances, the client and the VA discuss the hours to be worked at the beginning of the contract or the retainer. It makes sense to book a few hours per day and establish what times work for both parties. Take into consideration the different time zones and if you require your VA to be available at certain times. By determining working hours, it helps both of you stay focused and establishes expectations regarding contact times and setting priorities. Remember, a VA is not employed by a client in the traditional sense, thus is not an employee. Many VA’s run their own businesses and have chosen to offer their services by working remotely as this suits their needs and lifestyles.
Build A Rapport
This may seem an obvious point, but building a rapport is super important! To make a real connection, show genuine interest and be your true self. This is a two-way communication channel and allows both the client and the VA to personalize their actions and create a sense of connection. Working remotely with a VA requires an extra dose of patience as you will be outlining and explaining tasks without the benefit of body language and non-verbal cues.
Don’t Type At Me Like That!
Never, in human history, have we been as connected as we are right now. Lack of email and social media etiquette is unequivocally one of the major contributions to miscommunication and getting our hackles up. Email and messaging tone is conveyed through word choice, syntax, punctuation, letter case, sentence length, opening, closing, and other graphic indicators like emoticons and emojis. Just because you write in a certain way doesn’t mean it’s received the same way. If you are not sure about the tone of an email you are sending, have someone else read it and give you feedback before you send it. If no one else is available for a tone check, park the email in your draft folder and come back and re-read it a couple of hours later before sending it. Most importantly, know when to pick up the phone or schedule a face-to-face chat discuss an issue.
Remember… This is a process and given time, you’ll be pleased you took the plunge and hired a Virtual Assistant to declutter and organise your business and your life.
Do Right. Do Your Best. Treat Others As You Want To Be Treated.