When things don’t quite go to plan
We all know how important relationships are in business.
When you are working with a Virtual Assistant, it is vital that trust, reliability, and respect is there (on both sides) – as this will help develop a happy and long-lasting working partnership.
Mistakes happen, challenges arise, that’s part and parcel of life, but how we move forward and handle these situations is far more important than berating ourselves.
So, let’s look at things that have not gone quite as planned, and how we resolved them.
Matching the right VA with the right client
We have a variety of clients from across many industries, all with their own unique personalities and expectations. We also have a great team of VAs, all with their unique personalities, skill sets, and working styles. This means more often than not, we can match the right VA with the right client, matching them based on skills and personality, and things work well from day one.
However, this isn’t always the case. There can be times when the ‘click’ doesn’t happen!
This can be down to a variety of reasons, but it needn’t be the end of the road. Although you may have seemed like a perfect fit, until you start working with your VA, we never know how it will work, sometimes it’s just not the right ‘fit’ – we’re only human after all.
The VA/Client relationship is a two-way street and it’s important to remember that both will carry their own expectations about how the relationship will work. Occasionally a potential client will come our way with unrealistic expectations about what we do and how we do it. As the cliche goes, we can’t be all things to all people.
Despite being considered part of your team, your relationship with your Virtual Assistant is a two-way street. Above all, mutual respect is key. Don’t forget, we’re running a business too. We aim to please and yes, we are often very flexible, however we work with a number of clients and must make sure we are delivering the best possible service to all of them. We have to be organised, scheduled, and efficient at all times and that does mean that sometimes we won’t be able to do something right away. That being said, we will ALWAYS aim to make you feel our priority.
We want to give you the best possible service and ensure our contributions are valuable, well delivered, on time, within budget, top quality, and exceed your expectations.
So please, trust that we have your business’s best interests at heart, because we genuinely do.
Communication as a rule to working effectively comes up time and time again but is frequently overlooked, especially when running a busy business. We check in regularly with our clients, ensuring they’re happy with how things are going, asking if there’s anything else they need, and reminding them of any imminent deadlines and we expect our clients to communicate with us in return.
If the relationship with your VA isn’t quite the right fit, let us know! Our team members will do the same. Ultimately, we want the relationship to flow with ease and efficiency and so communication is vital in quickly resolving any underlying issues.
What went wrong?
Over the years we’ve had experiences that help us spot any warning signs! Sadly it has not always been plain sailing, but we can learn from those cases and do our best to nip them in the bud if we see history repeating itself.
Here are just a few examples:
Client vanishes without a trace!
This is a particularly frustrating situation. Sometimes we find after an agreement has been made, contracts signed, and any necessary payment collected that the client vanishes, seemingly off the face of the planet. In reality, they are super busy and struggling to fit everything in, which is likely to be why they contacted us in the first place.
Whilst we can very often crack on with tasks with limited information, there are times when we just need to know a bit more in order to complete the work, so we’ll have questions that need answering. But, no response. There are only so many times we can politely nudge and chase before we’re stuck at an impasse. Unfortunately, there have been times where we have had to part company with a client because they just don’t have the time to communicate tasks properly and are unwilling to set up weekly touchpoints so that we can get on with the work. These cases are few and far between, but we are here to help and can’t help you if you don’t have the time to give us the direction we need.
What did we do?
We were unable to continue work for this client, based on the fact we hadn’t heard from them for a significant period of time and had no idea what had happened to them. Of course, this meant they reappeared, as if by magic, when we finally decided to end the contract! Without trust, reliability, and communication, the working relationship simply can’t be maintained. We just love helping people and if we feel that a client isn’t committed to the relationship, then sadly we have to part company.
Depth of knowledge
Our associates are multi-skilled and have varying levels of experience and knowledge when it comes to their skill set. We’re transparent about what we’re capable of and the areas in which we can help but sometimes a client will need more.
Unfortunately, this isn’t always apparent at the start of the relationship and a client may say they need something basic or intermediate and so we pair them with an associate which has this ability. However, then it transpires that the client needs a higher level than initially requested and so we need to change which associate they’re paired with. This can come down to effective communication again, and futureproofing. If you need expert level skills, make sure that’s what you ask for.
What did we do?
In this instance we were able to match the client with another member of the team who had the necessary depth of knowledge and advanced skills in the areas needed and our client was over the moon, saying, “She is a joy and a delight, thanks so much for pairing her with us.”
Tone of voice
The best part of running your own business is being able to run it in the way you personally like. Some of us will take pride in a formal and corporate approach, while others may be informal and convivial in their approach. How a client and their VA communicate with each other must be suited in order to make sure the relationship is one they’re both happy with. It’s really important to discuss how you like to communicate and what is acceptable, for example we have had some clients who swear like troupers, and we have team members who don’t mind that, whereas others find this unprofessional and it makes them feel uncomfortable. The approach is also important where members of our team are communicating direct with your clients, where a brand voice guide comes in useful. Do you like a more formal approach, or something more casual – it’s important to let us know.
What did we do?
Of course, our associates are very adaptable so unless completely necessary, we’re able to do some coaching with them on communication styles and in this instance, what the expected style was. Outcome: another happy client.
Sometimes there’s just no obvious reason and the relationship simply doesn’t click. We’ve all been there, it’s no one’s fault, it’s just one of those things.
What did we do?
We simply asked another member of the team to work with our client and this time the click happened. The working relationship is still going strong, and all is well.
We will always endeavour to get it right the first time, but when things don’t pan out as hoped, we’ve got it covered.
Want to talk to us about how our team can support you and your business? Get in touch by emailing email@example.com or calling 07814 218142.