Work is a huge part of our lives, as well as being the most important factor in our financial well-being, it is the place where we socialise and build relationships. Usually, we spend more time with our co-workers than we do with our families, so while you may think that working and socialising don’t mix, our social relationships with our workmates are a vital part of a healthy and productive workplace.
However, as a Virtual Assistant it’s not possible on a daily basis to meet your client in the office kitchen when making a cup of tea or have your lunch in the cafeteria together. So how do you make sure that you get to know your clients, allowing you to build a successful working relationship?
Here are some tips for developing a productive and enduring relationships with your clients:
Clients will depend on you to keep them well-informed. Make regular communications with them one of your top priorities. Whether advising on a project coming in under a deadline or, alternatively, you may have to explain a project delay. Do so quickly and as soon as possible, to ensure the client is kept fully in the picture. Different clients will also have their own preferred styles of regular communication, e.g. weekly Skype calls, daily phone calls, regular texts or emails, it is unlikely that you will communicate in the same way with all of them.
No long-term relationship survives if the two parties aren’t honest with each other. In addition to providing the service your client requires, your responsibility is to be open and honest in all of your dealings. Without a reputation for integrity, you’ll never be able to cultivate the kind of long-term relationships that benefit you and your Virtual Assistant business.
Be a useful resource
The more value you offer, the more a client comes to depend on you. Don’t hesitate to share information that you clients may find useful, whether or not it benefits you.
Always meet your deadlines
When you say you’re going to do something, there should be no question in your client’s mind that it won’t be completed. When committing to a deadline, you relieve the client of the worry that his or her needs won’t be met on time. This freedom from worry builds trust and clients prefer to remain with a Virtual Assistant that they can completely rely on.
If you are cultivating the relationship in all the right ways, as a Virtual Assistant, you can work on developing a partnership with your client. The client who determines you are in for the long term and that you are actively motivated to help him or her succeed, will soon begin to see you as more than just a service provider. You will become a partner in their enterprise and someone they grow to value today, tomorrow, and for years to come.
Meeting in person
Business meetings can also help to develop the relationship further. Whether for a meeting regarding a new project, for a coffee or lunch around another event, such as networking for a general catch-up. Formal or informal, meeting in person brings its own advantages to the relationship too.
Holly and I catch up on Skype with a ‘coffee call’ once a fortnight at Virtual Angels. How do you keep in contact with your clients or colleagues?