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Should you let a client go? This issue delves into that issue and whether you should consider the possibility of having to cut a client loose.


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Cut That Client Loose! It Happens...
by Janine Gregor


By far the most difficult aspect of being a virtual assistant is working with a client who does not communicate.
I shake my head in dismay.
Clients want the help...they seek the assistance of a virtual assistant but some fail to recognize that good relationships take work.
I emphasize the need for communication in the consultation call. I include an entire page in my Welcome Packet explaining the importance of communication but after a week of working with new clients, old
habits die hard.
The Scenario
It is Monday morning and I am ready to work. But I can't. The client has not responded to last week's email asking for an updated service list. The client has not responded to questions regarding last week's work
so even that effort remains unfinished.
So I put in a phone call but the client is not available.
Tuesday morning...still no response. This time I am asking if something is wrong. That happens. One of my clients fell off a ladder and I didn't hear from her for several weeks.
Finally on Wednesday afternoon I receive a reply to last week's emails but some of the questions were left unanswered. By now, I've ventured onto other client work and am engrossed because these clients are
responding and thus they receive priority attention.
So I reschedule my work for Thursday to play 'catch-up' for the client who has now decided to respond with several apologies and excuses as to why my communication has gone unanswered.
I write a quick aggravated-infused email and then decide not to send it in the annoyed tone in which it was written. (A tip I learned years ago...write out how you feel and then hit delete.)
(Sometimes a client may sign on late in the week and we finally begin to get caught up on last week's work but alas we are in the middle of an important discussion and I receive, "I am signing off for the rest of
today and I won't be back in my office until Monday." )
Yes, that did happened...but I digress...
Friday, I send out another email and put in another call to discuss the problem(s). I receive no response thus the following incommunicado-cycle begins again for the following week.
This has to stop. Something must be done. Shall I cut the client loose? It crosses my mind several times.
Here's what I do:

  • I ask to speak to the client and make myself available after hours if needed to rectify the situation. *I explain in that call how difficult it is for me to efficiently book client time while 'left in the lurch' without the proper responses.  I need to make the client see that I am business owner myself and that my time is valuable too. I say this in the call (nicely).
  • I ask the client what we can do better to ensure that I receive the information in a timely manner. Although I prefer to receive service-related work requests the week before so I can plan accordingly for the following week, if Sunday afternoon is the only time she can answer my emails, then I can work with that.
  •  I set up a shared calendar so I can see when the client is available. (I do that for everyone now.) But again, this is part of the communication process and has to be maintained by the client.
  • I summarize and confirm the discussion in a written email. 

In some cases, this method solves the problem. But in other cases, we have a few 'good' weeks and the non-responsive cycle begins all over again.
Nothing is fail-proof; either you want to work with a virtual assistant or you do not.
I understand that some clients have full time jobs. But if a client is on a tight schedule for communicating with their virtual assistant, then some effort needs to be made BECAUSE I cannot do the work alone.
I'm here to partner with a business owner and like all collaborations good communication is key to success. Without an exchange of ideas, I am unproductive.
When I am ineffective, the client is wasting my time and their money.
I am here to help the business owner succeed. If they do not realize my purpose, I turn them loose.
It happens.


About the author:

Janine Gregor, MSM is a social media and internet marketing virtual assistant. In business since 2006, she helps speakers, authors and coaches promote brands, products and services using modern-day technology coupled with old-school writing and relationship marketing techniques. Janine's highly anticipated publication, "The Virtual Assistant's Guide to Writing a Winning Request for Proposal (RFP)" is due to release the summer of 2012. Sign up here:  Janine dispenses her VA wizardry on her blog, website and as social media contributor on the business blog, Business Darlings.



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General Rates for Jobs:
(Please note: This is just a general list, each company/job pays differently, some higher - some lower. This is just to give you the general average and is not a scientific study.)
Customer Service - 8. - 12. 00 hr.
Administrative Assistant - 9. - 15.00 hr.
Graphic Design - 15. - 30.00 hr.
Data Entry - 8. - 12.00 hr.
Telemarketing/Appt. Setting - 8. - 10. hr, plus comm.
Social Media Updates - 10. - 15.00 hr.
Writing - 10. - 50.00 per article
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