Virtual Assistant Practices: How I Build Trust and Maintain a Long Lasting Working Relationship with My Clients
I’ve been working as a virtual assistant (VA) for about two years now. Working as a virtual assistant is a challenging yet rewarding experience if you do your job right.
Flexibility in schedule is one of the things I like about my work. In my case, I have been working and at the same time taking my Masters Degree in Business Administration. I also have the luxury of working from home during long weekends or holidays.
Of course, privileges such as these come with responsibility. You should pay your dues and gain your client’s trust first. Once you have gained your their trust, things become easier.
Here are some things I have learned and applied from my experiences as a VA:
Manage your time accordingly.
There was a time when I had 5 clients for an 8-hour shift. Dividing your time and attention, although strenuous at first, can be mastered. My mindset is to focus on a certain task at a specific time schedule allotted for that particular client. As they say, you can’t serve two masters at the same time.
If you concern yourself about how difficult your other client’s task is, it will surely affect the task you are currently doing. Also, it would be unfair for your client to be paying you while you do other people’s work.
Be honest yet confident.
A common mistake some VAs make is the excessive eagerness to present themselves as expert in a particular matter when, in fact, they only know basic things about it. This will give your client false expectations which will later turn into disappointment if you commit some lapses.
Be honest. Tell your client about all the things you know about the subject he is asking about without setting yourself as “Mr. Know It All,” but let him know that you understand what he wants. Show confidence that with proper training, you would be able to handle his tasks and live up to your promise. And mean it.
I also used to have a client who required me to use AutoCAD in his tasks. I haven’t tried using AutoCAD, but he still preferred to work with me because I assured him that I can deliver if given the chance, and that’s just what I did.
One of my clients also taught me how to use QuickBooks. I have some background in Accounting but have never used QuickBooks before. It took a week of training before I got the hang of how he handles his transactions, and the patience paid off.
Don’t be afraid to ask.
When in doubt, ask. This is what I always do whenever I am not sure about an assigned task. It’s a waste of time and effort to do things the wrong way. But I always make sure that I analyze things and think of options and actions to take. I then present these to my clients for them to know that I have engaged myself in the task.
Clients’ will appreciate your initiative and effort in trying. It’s a totally different thing when you just give up and ask for your clients’ help immediately.
Update and communicate.
It has been my practice that at the end of the week, I send updates to my clients about things I have completed and the progress of current tasks. By doing this, your clients will be able to manage their schedule accordingly, make adjustments when needed, and ensure that the two of you are on the right page. Some clients may prefer it done daily, so it is necessary that you talk to them about how they want to get updates from you. Regular communication is a key for a healthy working relationship.
Just because you are not physically present in your client’s office and do not see each other personally doesn’t mean that you have the permission to be distracted and waste your time doing non-value added things. Self discipline and accountability are very important.
Being a virtual assistant is fun especially if you have happy and satisfied clients.