Being a virtual assistant is more than just doing projects – it’s about creating the best client experience! However, managing multiple clients can be overwhelming, and very in demand. Before you know it, you will be booked out, and looking for ways to manage your clients! It’s important to get a client management system in place now, before your client list grows. One of the biggest mistakes I see new virtual assistants make is not having these client management systems in place before booking their first client.
Your client onboarding is one of the first places your new client will see your organized business structure. So it is important to make a good impression! By having this system set in place BEFORE you book a client (even your first one!) you are setting yourself up for success. The more you have automated – the better. I highly recommend having a CRM program, like Dubsado, to help make this even easier. Dubsado is going to allow you to automate most of this process, meaning you will spend much less time, and never forget a step.
Your welcome packet is a great way to kick off a project or a new client! This is a place where you can share various policies, and share how you work. This is often done in a separate PDF – I personally have mine part of my Welcome Questionnaire so there are fewer emails going back and forth! I used to have a separate PDF, but found it easier for my clients if it was designed with their welcome questionnaire. I use Dubsado to automate this process and make it easier for clients.
I love questionnaires. I personally hate going back and forth in emails, and find that questionnaires can help gather all of the information you need in one place! At Ava And The Bee, we use Dubsado’s questionnaire feature, which my clients love. Plus, when you have it filled out in a questionnaire, you don’t have to dig through emails. Here are some other suggestions, but remember, this will depend on the services you offer!
Social Media Questionnaire – This can cover a variety of things like what their goals are (more followers, raise awareness, more clients booking), how they handle spam or negative comments, and what social media accounts are relevant to their business that you should follow and interact with. This is especially important for a local business since there might be a local magazine or website that they are featured or advertise in
Blogging Questionnaire – This can cover their style, the tone of voice in their blog posts, what SEO tags they are looking to target, specific layout and size requirements, and what type of images they want to focus on (great for when working with wedding photographers! Do they like more posed, or detail shots?)
Client management is all about client boundaries. One of the hardest parts of working for yourself is this: setting boundaries with your clients. That is why it is important to set these as soon as possible in your business, instead of midway through working with a problem client.
Not setting boundaries with your clients is not just a disservice to you – but to them. You can’t do your best work for any of your clients if you are jumping to meet client demands outside of your boundaries. This also trains your client to expect this from other freelancers as well, and that contracted workers and freelancers are expected to work all hours of the day.
Plus, it trains them to expect more from you. If you budge once, and do a last-minute project with no rush fee, they will expect you to do it again and again.
I encourage you to have your main point of communication be through emails- NOT texting or phone. Even when I was a wedding planner, the client did not get my cell phone until 3 days before their wedding. This ensured that all emergencies were handled at work.
The root of many client problems is due to communication issues. But this is something you can organize now, before you have issues! First, always be clear on the details of the project, or the scope of what you are working on. One of the biggest client problems will come lack of expectation setting in the beginning.
You will often get clients who give little to no direction. Or they are unclear on what their expectations are. The best way to solve this is to ask more questions. There is nothing wrong with asking for clarification! Don’t be embarrassed to ask questions, or worry about looking stupid. The last thing you want to do is to have to redo a task over and over again because you are unsure of what the client needs. This will start to make you look incompetent! Sometimes it is easier to have calls with clients like these. Some clients are just not good at communication via email! Make sure to find the best way to get an answer from this client moving forward.
Being a virtual assistant means you have to be proactive. Be proactive by reaching out to your clients and keeping them updated on your progress. Essentially, you become so good at keeping your clients “in the loop” that they don’t have to ask for updates or information because you’ve already provided it!
No matter how clear you make your turn-around policy, or set up deadlines for clients, you will run into those with unrealistic expectations. This goes back to step number four. This is often due to the client not having a clear picture of what is required in that task. Outline the project for them step by step. Explain why an Instagram post does not take 5 minutes. It takes time to research a caption, format, select the right hashtags, and schedule.
By painting a picture of the work that goes into the project, the client might be able to have a clearer vision of what is required. And if they still do not get it, set a phone call to go over why it is unrealistic. Explain why the project will take a certain amount of time, and explain that this will be the case for anyone who is completing it, not just you.
Offer regular status updates on all projects. At least once a week, touch base with all of your clients, explaining where you are on their projects. This will ensure that they know you are working hard, and ensure a successful relationship.
One of the best ways to help build a strong relationship with a client is to develop a reputation as an independent professional who delivers exceptional results. Make sure that you don’t oversell yourself and promise unrealistic results. By setting reasonable expectations, you give yourself the opportunity to completely impress the client with the final project and position yourself as someone they would like to continue to work with.
It’s unrealistic to assume every prospect you connect with will be a perfect client fit. It’s also unrealistic to think you can offer the right solution to each client you talk to. Knowing when to go your separate ways is important for both of your happiness.
If you come across a client who you’re not a good fit for, be ready to refer them to another freelancer or agency. While it might seem counterintuitive to end a relationship with a client before even getting started, it can actually help build trust—which can pay off later on.
Setting up these client management systems now, no matter where you are in your business is going to be so important. From their first impression, through monthly calls, you can ensure a successful client relationship! In my course, The Creative VA Academy School, I have a whole module just on client management. It goes over how to onboard your clients to ensure a successful working relationship, as well as how to set up client communication. Plus, I show you how to organize client work! This is the only online course for Creative Virtual Assistants, just like you!
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