By far the most difficult aspect of being a virtual assistant is working with a client who does not communicate.
I shake my head in dismay.
Clients want the help…they seek the assistance of a virtual assistant but some fail to recognize that good relationships take work.
I emphasize the need for communication in the consultation call. I include an entire page in my Welcome Packet explaining the importance of communication but after a week of working with new clients, old habits die hard.
It is Monday morning and I am ready to work. But I can’t. The client has not responded to last week’s email asking for an updated service list. The client has not responded to questions regarding last week’s work so even that effort remains unfinished.
So I put in a phone call but the client is not available.
Tuesday morning…still no response. This time I am asking if something is wrong. That happens. One of my clients fell off a ladder and I didn’t hear from her for several weeks.
Finally on Wednesday afternoon I receive a reply to last week’s emails but some of the questions were left unanswered. By now, I’ve ventured onto other client work and am engrossed because these clients are responding and thus they receive priority attention.
So I reschedule my work for Thursday to play ‘catch-up’ for the client who has now decided to respond with several apologies and excuses as to why my communication has gone unanswered.
I write a quick aggravated-infused email and then decide not to send it in the annoyed tone in which it was written. (A tip I learned years ago…write out how you feel and then hit delete.)
(Sometimes a client may sign on late in the week and we finally begin to get caught up on last week’s work but alas we are in the middle of an important discussion and I receive, “I am signing off for the rest of today and I won’t be back in my office until Monday.” )
Yes, that did happened…but I digress…
Friday I send out another email and put in another call to discuss the problem(s). I receive no response thus the following incommunicado-cycle begins again for the following week.
This has to stop. Something must be done. Shall I cut the client loose? It crosses my mind several times.
Here’s what I do:
In some cases, this method solves the problem. But in other cases, we have a few ‘good’ weeks and the non-responsive cycle begins all over again.
Nothing is fail-proof; either you want to work with a virtual assistant or you do not.
I understand that some clients have full time jobs. But if a client is on a tight schedule for communicating with their virtual assistant, then some effort needs to be made BECAUSE I cannot do the work alone.
I’m here to partner with a business owner and like all collaborations good communication is key to success. Without an exchange of ideas, I am unproductive.
When I am ineffective, the client is wasting my time and their money.
I am here to help the business owner succeed. If they do not realize my purpose, I turn them loose.