Perhaps one of the most important tools to help establish and grow your business is communication. Look behind the scenes of a thriving business and you will find an efficient flow of communication. Below I share a few things I have found important to communicate.
It is important that we communicate what we understand our clients are requesting. It’s more than just “you say p?t?t?, I say p?t?t?.” Think of it as “you say potato, I HEARD potato.” Just because a client knows what they want does not mean you hear what they are asking for through their means of communication. Even if you are both fluent English speakers, the meaning of your words, the depth of your experience and education, and the vision in your head can all greatly differ from that of your client. Err on the side of caution and VERIFY. (I do this with my husband as well, and though it ruffles his feathers, it saves time and energy in knowing I understood correctly what he wants.)
Don’t be afraid to speak up and bring certain things to the attention of our clients. Don’t assume they know about every little issue with their website. Often times it takes a fresh set of eyes to pick up on something overlooked by familiar eyes. This is a great way of expanding your services to your client, too.
Just like raising a child, establishing working relationships requires that boundaries be stated outright, rather than merely ‘understood.’ Just think, you don’t know with 100% certainty your client’s point of view. No one can ever know exactly another person’s point of view. Every individual’s viewpoint is shaped not only by their experiences, but mostly by their reactions and innermost thoughts about said experiences.
While most virtual assistants often work non-traditional hours, make sure to ask your clients what their expectations of you are during normal work days as well as holidays and vacations. Different religious beliefs and customs may allow for more or fewer holiday time than you expected.
Lastly, when a client gives you a project and the deadline, be sure to ask when the project needs to be completed. Also, I have found that some clients don’t realize the work involved with certain requested projects. When you receive the project assignment or request, communicate with the client how much time you expect in completing the project properly. (This may be necessary for the budgeting purposes of your client.)
Remember, a happy customer is a repeat customer. To set your business up to thrive, communication is a must.
Did I miss anything? How do you ensure communications with your client are clear? How do you wish clients would communicate with you? Please share by leaving a comment below.