Communication: The Battle Cry of the Virtual Assistant

by Hilary Faverman January 14, 2014

Communication: The Battle Cry of the Virtual Assistant image virtual assistant handling various online tasks1

Managing Global Communication

Just as the famous chant of a real estate agent would be “Location, location, location!” – the battle cry of the Virtual Assistant is “Communication, communication, communication!” Really, it’s a biggie on the priority list to make ours a successful, working relationship.

I don’t hear you thump down your briefcase when you return to the office after a negative client meeting. I don’t see your rumpled clothing, the result of your spouse having been ill for a full week already. Even better – I don’t hear office gossip that would cause me to have any suspicions. So, when things happen, just let me know. I’m here to make your life easier, right? I’d be very happy to make a few excuses to your clients, move some meetings around and keep your website and inbox looking ship-shape. That way, you can give your spouse the rest he or she requires, and still be confident that your work is not taking the fall.

I have a really lovely partnership client who provides a quality service I believe in. We’ve been working together for a few years now, so I’m pretty familiar with both partners’ writing styles, preferences and response times. You can imagine how shocked I was when I received no answer to an email query sent to Partner Number One, who usually responds within a few hours. I waited. My client’s client, with whom I was corresponding, was also waiting. I was ready to call emergency rooms, when Partner Number Two let me know that Partner Number One was on vacation in the Ukraine. The communication delay caused their client understandable frustration, which I would have preferred to prevent. I schooled my client in the workings of autoresponders, and we can now work side by side to prevent mishaps like this. Communication, communication, communication!

I manage correspondence for a few different clients. Upon the commencement of a new working relationship, I “interview” my new client to make sure I’ve noted his or her work style, communication and hours preference (some folks are emailers, some are phone people, some early risers and some night owls) and any other relevant details (aisle or window? Chicken or fish?) As close as I’ve gotten to having ESP, however, there is always a learning curve present. Being a reasonable person, you probably know this, too. Do us (and our working relationship) a favor – if I’m a little off on an assigned task, let me know, so I can re-adjust for next time! I won’t see your grimace or that little eyebrow raise. Clear communication is key.

You could say (or write), “Hilary, can we tweak this a little?” I can do pretty much anything exactly the way you’d like it done. Okay, virtual coffee might not quite work, I’ll grant you that. Some clients are very particular and I respect that. Below is a list of items I might manage on your behalf. You may have developed a particular format, style or order of wanting them completed. Don’t keep your way a secret! Let me know, and I promise, it’ll look so good, you may think you’ve done it yourself:

  • Calendar, contact entries, confirmations
  • Correspondence
  • PowerPoint presentations
  • Research
  • Spreadsheets
  • CRM documentation
  • Travel plans

I’ve even been known to do clients’ personal shopping, restaurant reservations and personal RSVPs. I bought one client’s wife flowers and wrote a lovely card to match.

So, not only do I wear many different hats, my hats are in all different styles. Friendly or formal, comical or casual, I can do it. The key is not to be scared of articulating specifics. You’ll be glad you let me know!

 

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