Effective collaboration tips
Collaboration is an important aspect of virtual assisting. It is how you communicate and get things done with your client. Some of the major areas where you collaborate with your clients include:
- Sending feedback
- Taking instructions
- Sending in completed jobs
- Asking for clarifications
- Working together on a single task
- Setting weekly work schedules, and so much more.
To collaborate effectively, that is, to have smooth communications with your client where you both understand clearly the message that is being passed, and also to work together in an efficient manner, you need to make use of productivity tools and also work with ethics that portray you as a professional who knows what she is doing.
Some really cool collaborative tools include:
- Dropbox for sharing files
- Google Docs for preparing documents
- Trello for projects
- Google Keep for to-do lists and note taking
- Know that the major reason your client is using your service is because they need to maximize their time, so be careful not to ring them up at just any time of the day. Have specified communication hours especially with phone calls and WhatsApp messaging. However, this aspect should initially be sorted out in your own daily work hours (opening and closing times).
- Do not wait till the last minute before you ask for information that you need to work effectively unless an urgent need arises. If you do this, you might not receive your response on time, causing delays in the task you are trying to complete. You could also get substandard response as you might not have given your client ample time to respond properly.
- Do not impose any tool on your client. E.g. if you prefer to make use of certain app for file sharing and your client does not like it, do not insist that they make use of it. Ask for their preferred option or make other suggestions. Just be sure to let them know that you will charge them extra for using a different tool for them especially if you have to pay for such tool.
- In addition to the above point, if your client is suggesting a tool that you’d rather not make use of, (either for reliability or ergonomic reasons) do not feel pressured to accept it. What you should do is state the reasons why the tool is is not an option for you in clear terms. Remember, that you have to run your client’s work they way you’d do yours so you want to get everything right from the onset to maximize job satisfaction.
- Agree on how often you would be communicating. You might need to communicate with your client several times a week on different topics, in this case, you should setup communication frequencies according to the subject of discussion. Sending reports could be once a week on Friday evenings, social media content could be once a week on Sunday afternoons, etc.
- You should also have communication channels that you have agreed on to use in your collaborations, Options are phone calls, SMS, email, messaging apps, etc. Adhere to using the channels as instructed and do not assume that you can reach your client on any platform not stated. E.g. if your client tells you that they are available via certain email address, and you also know their other email address (maybe a personal one), do not communicate with them on the other one that you know unless they tell you that you can do so.
- Always activate your listening skills whenever you communicate with your client. It is in deep listening that you will understand their requests and be able to translate it into meaningful tasks. Also, as your clients know about their businesses more than you do, listening to them will help you come up with the right strategies to serve them better.
This brings us to the end of Module 7
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