Do you find managing the clients in your Virtual Assistant business difficult?  In our guest blog, VIP VA Member Julia Cheeseman shares her top tips for managing your clients effectively so that everyone wins!

 “When you are faced with many different clients, all with different expectations, personalities and cultures, it’s often a challenge to ‘fit in’ when you work alongside them.  Being adaptable and flexible is one of the great skills that hiring an outsourced PA brings, but how can you ensure that you are not taken advantage of, or that, you, as a business stays in control of your clients and not the other way around?

In this blog, I’ll be giving you some recommendations on how you can achieve not only a great relationship with all your clients, but also how you can ensure that your business stays ahead of the game when it comes to being in the driving seat.

  • Set expectations before you start

Make sure that the remit given to you from your client is clear and concise and that both parties know what is expected.  If this is ominous in any way, then it allows for one side to take advantage.  This is not a hard thing to initiate before any work is undertaken but it becomes very tricky to go back to the remit of works once the work has started.

  • Ensure your contact is clear and watertight

Once you have your remit/scope of work agreed with your client then lay everything out in a contract.  This needs to include payment terms, any other terms and conditions, your scope of works, termination and notice period guidelines and it must be signed and dated from both parties before any work is started.

  • Timescales for jobs and Service Agreements

In your contract above, it’s a great idea to include timescales and service level agreements for the scope of works you are undertaking.  This will include how long on average a job will take and what the client can expect.  Sometimes it clearly make take longer and other times it may be done quicker, but if a general service level is agreed upon then this sets expectations beforehand.

  • Terms and conditions

Make sure you add any other terms into the contract, no matter how small they might be, this might be things like, you must sign a non-disclosure agreement, that you are entitled to holiday, that you don’t work after 6pm.  Add in everything that you can at this beginning stage, so everything is clear.

  • Opening hours

Set yourself hours and stick to them!  Add them into your contract so it’s not ambiguous.  If you work outside these hours, then this is your choice – not your clients!

  • Regular feedback meetings and two-way communication

So, now that the contract is signed, and everything is clear work can begin.  Hopefully there is no ambiguity now that a contract has been signed. 

A wonderful way of ensuring that any issues that arise are dealt with quickly and easily is to ensure you have regular contact and honest communication regularly with your client.  This ensures that you are both on the same page when it comes to what you are doing, how you are doing it and what you both expect.

  • Stick to your guns

The contract issued at the beginning made everything clear.  If you are still being asked to do things outside of this agreement, then you must raise it as soon as it arises.  For example, If they ask you to do extra work, then use your discretion as to how you manage this.  Don’t start to waver when it comes to your rules, otherwise your client will know they can take advantage and sadly, some will.

Above all, remember that you are the expert at what you do, and they have hired you for that reason!”

Julia Cheeseman, Starfish Admin Services

What are your thoughts? Do you find juggling clients and different expectations difficult? We’d love to hear from you…