How to Manage your Clients’ Expectations

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At Outsourcery we like to say that the only tasks you can’t do for your client is make them a cup of coffee. Thanks to so many great online tools, working as a virtual PA is easier than it’s ever been. Files are easy to access in the Cloud and your client is only an email, Skype or phone call away. That said, when communication isn’t in person, it’s even more important to manage your clients’ expectations of how you’re filling your hours, the size of your workload and your unique expertise or skillset. In other words, keeping your client up to date and in the know is vitally important in managing their expectations.

Let’s look at how else you can manage their expectations:

Set deliverables

Each task that you have communicated with your client should have a detailed method to completing it. The deliverables that you have should be agreed upon with the client and each should have a deadline. This shows the efficiency of your work and that they will, in fact, get what you have promised them.

Virtual PAs may need to renegotiate deadlines

This should only be done when absolutely needed and not as the norm. Clients realise that their virtual PA has a life outside of work and sometimes deadlines are affected. The key is to be honest and open and let your client knows about the delay in good time before the deadline. Renegotiating the deadline before the day indicates that you are on top of your work. Keeping quiet until it is too late may look like you have forgotten about the task.

Establish communication procedures

Communicate regularly with clients, especially because your work as a virtual PA means you are not in physical proximity with them. No matter how many clients you have, the communication procedures are not going to be the same for any of them. Establish the best ways to get in contact as soon as you onboard your clients.

The things you should include when establishing these procedures are:

  • The preferred times for communicating – morning or evening
  • The preferred communication methods – Skype, phone call or email

If there will be communication over weekends, the best way to make contact during this private time should be established as well.

Get to know them personally

A working relationship can be friendly without crossing any boundaries. Knowing your client personally enables you to understand them better. This will help you to anticipate their needs and avoid any confusion, ensuring tasks run more smoothly. It will also help them to be more understanding of when you make a mistake. A friendly and trusting business relationship will make working with your client a pleasure.

Be honest

From the beginning, be honest if you are struggling to understand a brief or a task that has been set for you.  If the client comes to you with expectations you know you cannot meet, communicate this honestly so that a solution is achieved.

Set realistic expectations

There are expectations of both parties in a working relationship. It is not just the client who has expectations of the virtual PA – the assistant expects adequate communication and information from the client to meet the client expectations. The expectations must be realistic for them to be achievable. Go further by finding out what the reason behind the expectation is and how it ties to broader objectives.

Under promise and over deliver

When it comes to deadlines, give yourself a little more time than it would take to complete a task, just for contingencies. If none occur and you submit sooner than the agreed upon date, clients are impressed – either because they feel you are managing your time well or because you have prioritised their work over other clients’.  This does not mean you should downplay your abilities and under promise to an extent where your client will go searching for virtual services elsewhere.

Anticipate the client’s needs

If clients were experts in the business of virtual assistants, they would do the work themselves. You know how your services can make their lives easier and leveraging this knowledge enables you to eventually do a better job than they were able to.  Identify administrative areas where their business needs help and propose spending more time on them.

Take the time to build a solid foundation with your client and you’ll set up a friendly and polite working relationship where mutual respect is of the utmost importance.  If you’re a business owner looking to delegate time-consuming administrative tasks to a virtual PA so you can focus on building your own business, then book a consultation today.

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