Troubleshoot Like A Top VA: How To Handle Common Client Problems
Clients come in all shapes, sizes, and temperaments.
Some are a breeze to work with—they communicate well, respond on time, and keep their end of the bargain. You’ll know you’re dealing with one when the synergy just feels right.
Then there are some who, oftentimes unknowingly, cause you one too many problems. They tend to be unclear, unreasonable, and unreliable. Understandably, this can be very frustrating and overwhelming on your end. You might even catch yourself thinking...
But here’s the thing, every successful Virtual Assistant and their mother had to deal with one or two client problems along the way. Why? Because client problems come with the job.
And fortunately, they are also super manageable… once you know what to do.
With that being said, let’s check out some of the most common client problems and the blueprint on how to troubleshoot them like a Top Virtual Assistant!
Problem #1: Vague Instructions
There might be instances wherein clients would give vague instructions. You know you're on the receiving end of one when the details are either so difficult to decipher or practically non-existent.
How To Handle It
Unclear requests are almost always born out of the client not really knowing what they want. So it rests upon you, first and foremost, to help them realize their vision. You can do this by asking the following questions:
“What is the end goal of this task?”
“Do you have an example in mind?”
“If I understood you correctly, you would like me to_____?”
Take note that these inquiries should only serve as starting points!
Once you get a better idea of the big picture, continue doing your due diligence with the smaller details as is expected from a Top Virtual Assistant!
Problem #2: Going Silent
Magicians aren’t the only ones known for disappearing acts. There are instances when clients go off the radar now and then, too. You try to get in touch to ask a question or follow up and all you hear back are *crickets*.
How To Handle It
Why does this happen? They’re probably just preoccupied with work, life, or both. After all, most clients are innately busy people. However, this doesn’t change the fact that you need to get answers ASAP. So, follow these steps to grab their attention like a Top Virtual Assistant:
Drop them a line and let them know you’re concerned about them.
Still no response? Advise them that they must respond by a particular time or you’ll have to pause their projects for the time being. This usually gets them to *poof* right back!
If it’s still radio-silence on their end, we suggest putting a timeframe on how long you’re comfortable with waiting. Once that time is up and they still haven't gotten back to you, it may be time to move on.
Problem #3: Micromanaging
Now for the opposite end of the spectrum, clients who get involved way too much. They love to dictate every detail and always want to have a say in everything you do, leaving you with no space to exercise your administrative or creative freedom.
How To Handle It
We totally understand clients who act like this. Their business is their baby! But even though they mean no harm, there is no denying that such behavior can be distracting, off-putting, and can even place stress on your client-VA relationship.
This is how a Top Virtual Assistant would deal with micromanagers:
Assure your client that you understand what's been asked of you and that you'll immediately let them know if you have further questions.
Keep them in the loop as much as you can without letting your productivity suffer.
Take control of your calendar! Be the one to suggest a schedule for client check-ins within the day or week.
Problem #4: Scope Creep
“Scope Creep” involves a client demanding more work than initially agreed upon. They can come as continuous sporadic requests or a straightforward overhaul on a project—all while the project is in progress!
How To Handle It
Not all scope creep is done maliciously. Most of the time, the client may have just underestimated the work or prepared an incomplete brief.
Nonetheless, accommodating their frequently changing demands can negatively affect your work, delay the project, and drain the heck out of you. Stop the scope creep in its tracks like a Top Virtual Assistant by taking the following steps:
Gently remind the client of the project scope.
Be upfront and tell them what you can accommodate as of the moment to meet their deadlines.
If they still want to push through with their requests, ask for an extension and additional compensation (for freelancers).
Set new deadlines for additional requests or major overhauls.
Client problems will arise at some point. When exactly? Who knows! But it doesn’t matter, because now, you are more than ready to troubleshoot them like a Top VA.
Follow our blog for more tips to help you pursue a rewarding, fulfilling, and successful Virtual Assistant career!