Working remotely or virtually with any measure of success involves a commitment to communicating in a manner that works effectively for ourselves, our clients and colleagues.
One of the biggest downfalls I have seen to date in the VA Industry is when VAs fail to understand and anticipate how best to communicate in different scenarios. Often, when issues arise for a VA, it’s quite obvious that they haven’t put into place a sound communication strategy that works for the client AND the VA.
Over the years, I’ve seen so many examples of where communication goes horribly, horribly wrong simply because expectations from both sides have not been discussed or set up from the outset.
Setting the Communication Expectation
When you on-board a new client, as part of your client induction, a solid communication strategy should have a starring role – absolutely front and centre. It doesn’t have to be complicated; it really can be as easy as asking your client the following questions:
What is your preferred method of communication in standard workflow? (e.g. email, text, skype, phone call?)
What is your preferred method of communication in situations where tasks are urgent? (e.g. email, text, skype, phone call?)
It’s also vitally important from day 1 that you discuss with your client the communication strategies that you adhere to on a day to day basis. For example:
If I am planning on being out of my office, or am unavailable for any reason during the course of a normal business day, I will let you know as soon as possible prior to this occurring;
I will respond to standard emails promptly, and within a maximum timeframe of 3 hours from time the email was received;
I will respond to urgent work requests within the hour;
I will schedule a weekly/fortnightly/monthly/quarterly phone meeting for us to discuss task progress, etc.
By simply being prepared, being clear, and letting the client know up-front what to expect when working with you, you can avoid sticky situations where communication is likely to be the cause of frustration on both sides.
By setting the expectation from the outset, you are setting yourself, your team and your client up for success, and as a result, you will be far in front of the crowd.
To learn more about setting yourself up for success, contact Ingrid on firstname.lastname@example.org
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