An Assistant with Multiple Personalities

You may not like your plumber’s fashion style (loose low-hanging jeans may be an acquired taste for some) or the grumpy attitude of your internet provider’s salesperson, but as you don’t deal with them often and they are usually a necessary evil, you make do.

But when it comes to your virtual assistant, and even if you don’t see them on a daily basis, their attitude and personality must be the right fit for your business. They can be your servant, your messenger, your problem-solver, sometimes your front of house – so style and attitude will matter. Looking at my own experience and very varied clients I have been supporting, I’ve come to the conclusion that a good VA has to come equipped with multiple personalities. By that, I don’t mean that they have loud arguments in an empty room or some sort of Napoleon complex. I am simply saying that your assistant should be experienced enough to adapt her attitude and approach to fit the client’s communication style, personality and the industry sector they are in.

It’s important to get the communication style right at the outset. Not because the client won’t understand their VA, or vice versa, but because trust and speed of response depend on it. Take the young IT entrepreneur who wants to communicate exclusively via WhatsApp. They value convenience and the use of familiar IT media, even if a phone call might actually be quicker in the long run. But then you might have the CEO of an engineering company, who prefers the relatively old school approach of phone and email. And just as the client’s preferred media may vary, so may their style of communication. Some clients are too busy for pleasantries, others practically demand a bit of banter. As for humour, that’s always tricky. I’ll admit it. There have been times when I’ve casually dropped a hilarious pun into the conversation and wondered about the moment’s silence down the line.

Having a different approach with each client does not mean that you cannot be true to yourself and that you pretend to be someone you’re not. It simply means that you should be discerning, be able to assess a particular situation and understand what your clients need from you in order to start building a relationship based on trust. If you think about it, all you are essentially doing is displaying the different sides of your personality at different times during the day. If one of those sides is not in line with the client’s expectations or is being expressed at the wrong time, it is perhaps better to reevaluate your business relationship and decide whether or not you are the right fit for your client.

If you have been affected by any of the points raised in this blog, why don’t you pick up the phone and see if we could be the right VA for you? What could possibly go wrong?

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