One of the difficulties of running a successful Virtual Assistant business is client growth. Now obviously client growth is a good thing and congratulations to all of your who have succeeded in building up a strong client base, it’s no mean feat. But once those client numbers grow, how do you make sure each one of them feels special? Feels valued?
I’ve been thinking about this more and more recently whilst I’ve seen my own client base expand. So I’ve done some thinking and a little research and have outlined my thoughts below:
- Be Honest: Don’t lie or exaggerate to Clients. If you don’t have the skills to do the job, tell the Client. They will ultimately respect you for being straight with them. Which if you weren’t could result in poor work, wasting their time and/or money.
- Good Communication: Whether you speak with your clients on the phone, by email, Skype or instant messenger, always follow up any project requests with a written plan outlining the task, delivery timescales, and associated costs. This way you’re ensuring you’ve understood the project requirements correctly, or have given the client the opportunity to clarify if necessary. Good communication is vital for remote working Virtual Assistants and will help retain a good client relationship.
- Be Attentive: If you’re having a slow-work day, drop your clients a courtesy email to check if there’s anything you can be assisting them with. On the other hand if you’re completely stacked out with numerous deadlines to meet and a client sends you an email or gives you a call, don’t make them feel that you have no time for them. If they’ve sent you an email, acknowledge it and tell them when you’ll respond properly. If they call you, politely explain your current deadlines (they’ll appreciate it when it’s their deadlines you’re working too) and that you’ll call them back later that same day. But remember, if you don’t get an opportunity to call them back that day, drop them an email to explain why and follow up first thing the following morning.
- Don’t miss a deadline: At the beginning of each project make sure you and your client are clear about the delivery expectations. And don’t miss it! Plan your working day and week around each deadline to ensure nothing slips. Obviously unexpected things can happen. The internet can go down; your computer can stop working. If this happens, inform your client straight away by another method of communication. They will understand as long as you keep them fully up-to-date.
- Never Assume: Just because you’ve worked with a client for a number of years, don’t assume they’ll never leave you. This can lead to laziness and sloppiness. By retaining a client for such a long time why not celebrate it. Offer them a free project. Send them a gift – some flowers or a bottle of wine with a card, thanking them for their continued work and for being such a fantastic client. It’ll make them feel remarkably special and put you forefront of their mind for other new projects that may come up.
- Be Yourself: Don’t try to be someone you’re not. It sounds obvious, but there are many Virtual Assistants that fake-it a little to be liked, to feel more professional, or to get new business. Let your own personality shine through and you’ll build trust with that client which leads to a better, stronger working relationship for the future.
By using all the interpersonal skills you’ve built up over the years, communicating well, and meeting and exceeding client expectations, you’ll have no problems retaining clients. There will be times when clients leave you. This may be through their choosing or through yours; it’s just the natural cycle of business. But by ensuring you give 100%, 100% of the time, then you’ll retain a good amount of consistent base clients for the long term.