Almost any area of ‘life’ needs to have some great communication built around it. The same applies to running your business. Breakdowns in communication will affect productivity and efficiency.
Working with a virtual assistant means that the communication between client and VA needs to be spot on.
Why is good communication so important in a VA/client relationship?
A good VA will ask you the best way to communicate with you – and vice versa. From personal experience, we ask clients NOT to send work through on Whatsapp or via social media DM’s. This is where work can often get missed leading to frustration on both parts.
You need to be clear and concise when outsourcing work. Clear instructions and expectations can cut down on a multitude of questions and queries. However, ensure that clear and concise does not turn into bossy and forceful!
When you are first starting out your outsourcing journey with a VA, don’t be put off by all the questions that might come your way. We want to make sure the work we are doing is correct – we’re not mind readers and don’t want to harm your reputation by making a mistake.
Different ways / tools for communication
Use a project management tool such as Trello or Asana for assigning particular tasks to your VA. You can create boards specifically to your VA or you can integrate them into your existing team boards and assign work that way. This way, you can both add notes into the system and track progress. This saves your inbox becoming clogged up with questions that need a response.
This leads us into using a system such as Slack. This is great for conversations for those quick questions such as ‘have you got a phone number for XYZ’ or ‘that restaurant only has a table at 7pm rather than 8pm’.
Ensuring both the client and the VA know how to communicate and what tools to use will ensure there is no confusion. Also think about expected response times. Be mindful that the VA might be in meeting with another client. At Boatman Admin Services, we will respond within 24 hours to messages but often it’s much sooner than that.
Of course, sometimes when you need to just pick up the phone and have an old fashioned chat. You can get your point across easier and don’t have to wait for a response.
Google Drive or Dropbox will do wonders to save different versions of documents flying around on email and causing confusion. The drive updates immediately and you have instant access to everything.
Regular meetings will also help – if there is one thing lockdown has taught us it’s that zoom or Teams is ideal for this. We hold a kick off call with our clients then another call 6 weeks down the line. We then have a follow up 3 months in just to see how it’s all going, any areas of improvement or to see if there are any extra tasks we can help with.
Don’t be afraid to acknowledge the good and bad. Your VA won’t learn how to improve their work if you are going in behind them and tidying up mistakes. However, be mindful not to only contact our VA when things aren’t going to plan. A little appreciation for your VA goes a long way when things are all going well!
Things to remember
Great communication is going to be key to making sure your outsourcing journey really works. Ensure that you have the right communication tools in place that work for you and your VA and set out clear expectations on all tasks. Effective communication is going to help your relationship and ensure that all your tasks are completed on time and without mindless error.
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