Working as a virtual employee offers a wide range of benefits, but it also presents a scope of challenges that are not present, or at least not as prevalent, in a typical office setup. One of the biggest trials that both a virtual assistant and his or her client face is communication.
Communication in your usual office setting is already a challenge. Communication without the benefits of face-to-face contact is undoubtedly even more demanding. The ability to translate your thoughts into words without losing any of your intended meaning is something that you have to master. Just imagine, you have to make your client understand you completely, without being insulted or finding any negative connotations in your message, without the help of tone or facial expressions.
But no matter how difficult it can be, communicating better with your clients is still essential if you want to boost your career as a VA. To help you out, here are some tips and tricks on how to communicate better with your clients.
- Ask them smart questions.
There is a difference between asking any question to seem eager and asking smart questions. Your client will definitely not appreciate you asking questions that are already answered by the task or project brief or questions that you can easily Google the answers to. Before asking something, consider thinking of the answer yourself first. If you deem the question important to completing your task and you know that it hasn’t been addressed before, go ahead and ask!
This is also why it’s essential to read and understand your client’s instructions thoroughly. This way, you can easily weed out unimportant questions from real concerns.
- Keep them updated.
Don’t be afraid of overcommunication. Most, if not all, clients prefer VAs who keep them regularly updated about the status of their task over those who have to be prompted for an update. Following up on your client suggests that you are conscientiously working on your task and that you value their trust and investment in you. They may not reply to your every update, but they will certainly appreciate not having to ask you about how your task is going.
- Reply ASAP.
Whenever your client asks you something, reply as soon as possible, even if you have to spend some time to find the answer they are looking for. If you can’t give them a suitable answer right away, at least reply that you’re working on finding out what they need and that you will get back to them as soon as you do. This will placate them and let them know that you’re not ignoring them.
- Take advantage of technology.
There are tons of communication tools at your disposal, so make use of them. If you feel like you need to discuss something that can’t be talked about over email, use instant messaging or better yet, do a video call. Different communication tools have their own advantages over another, so make sure to use them as needed.
- Never be out of reach.
One of the most common signs of poor communication is being unreachable. Your client expects you to address their concerns as soon as possible, so make sure that they can always reach you especially during your work hours. If you can respond to them during their off hours even just for emergencies, they will definitely remember you as one of the most reliable VAs.
Excellent communication with your client is something that needs time and effort to achieve. But once you achieve it, the benefits you will reap will certainly far outweigh the effort you put into it.
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