Excellent communication–not merely good or okay–is so important in your business relationships. I would venture to say it’s even more important for a Virtual Assistant because we may never meet our clients, colleagues or associates face-to-face.
One aspect of beyond-excellent communication is consistently following through in your responses to emails and voicemails. I’m not talking about the occasional message or response that falls through the cracks; that happens to the best of us.
What I’m talking about is establishing consciously devised standards and policies for handling correspondence in your practice. This includes being in the habit of making sure those who correspond with you know that their message was received. There is nothing more frustrating than sending someone a message and then hearing nothing but crickets in response.
If you’ve ever been on the receiving end, you know what I’m talking about. You’re left wondering whether the recipient is taking whatever action might have been required, or if they even got the message at all. This kind of poor communication creates extra work for those folks trying to correspond and work with you. It doesn’t put you in a good light and definitely doesn’t engender any confidence in your follow-through abilities.
Don’t do that to your clients and associates–or yourself, for that matter.
Establish a timeliness standard in your business and then be disciplined about sticking with it. If you have a 24-48 hour turnaround, make sure you demonstrate a pattern of consistently responding to all messages within that timeframe. Also devise processes and procedures that allow you to keep track of messages and follow-up appropriately and efficiently.
Even if you don’t have to do anything, you should still acknowledge receipt of the message. This can be accomplished with a simple "got it." Those two little words can mean all the difference for the person at the other end. And proper email acknowledgement is going to work wonders on keeping clients happy and apprised of your work progress with them.