Developing and maintaining a meaningful, productive working relationship with your virtual assistant requires patience, understanding and trust.
And while this relationship can take some time to flourish, once you and your VA establish a trusting relationship, most of the challenges you encounter along the way will be much easier to tackle.
One of the biggest challenges business owners face is how to delegate tasks effectively. Simply sending off a list of instructions along with a deadline may or may not be adequate, depending of course on the complexity of the task. It’s also important to remember that how you interact with your VA, specifically your manner and how you communicate can greatly influence the outcome of any tasks assigned.
Do You Communicate Your Expectations Clearly?
When delegating tasks to your VA, make sure that you outline your expectations clearly and make a point of answering any questions your VA has as soon as possible, so the project moves along smoothly. Furthermore, keep in mind that ignoring any request from your virtual assistant for more information or clarification will only lead to mistrust down the road, and will almost invariably lead to a delay in the completion of the task too.
Did You Provide Adequate Training?
Make sure your VA can complete the task assigned by providing additional training, if necessary. Never assume your VA has experience in using the latest database creation software or is knowledgeable in every area of your business or industry. By providing training when necessary, your VA can improve their skills straightaway, and begin working on new tasks with a lot less oversight.
Are You Professional?
Remaining professional at all times is one of the best ways to earn respect and build trust between you and your VA. This is especially true when you first start working together, so don’t forget to provide insightful feedback on the first few tasks your VA works on. Then, participate in weekly catch up calls with your VA to check on the progress of tasks, to answer any questions your VA may have and to plan for the forthcoming week.
Keep Your VA Involved and Informed
The more your VA knows and understands about your business, the more likely they’ll be able to perform new tasks you assign. For example, if your VA provides customer support to your clients by email, make sure your VA is informed about new products and services, the procedures for handling customers expressing joy as well those that have complaints, and it doesn’t hurt to keep your VA up-to-speed on managing your CRM system too, at least to some degree.
It’s very easy to forget to inform independent contractors who work remotely about what’s going on in your business, which is why it’s a great idea to have weekly catch up calls, send them your newsletter and schedule regular review meetings (in person or virtual) with your VA so you can maintain clear lines of communication, consistently.
Listen to Your VA
If your VA asks for the same information over and over, maybe it’s time to re-examine how well you communicate. In most cases, asking upfront with your VA about what they’ll need to complete a task keeps requests for additional information later on to a minimum. As your working relationship becomes more comfortable, you and your VA will find ways to work together more seamlessly, so it just makes sense that listening and responding accordingly can go a long way toward building a long-lasting business relationship.
The Bottom Line
To create and maintain an effective working relationship with your VA requires clear communication and understanding. You can accomplish this via phone, email, Skype, Zoom or you can use an online chat facility like Slack where you and your staff (both in-house and virtual) can gather together in ‘real time’ to share news, ask questions and generally get to know each other a little better.