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This is something that is often overlooked by service providers because they’re so busy working on providing a great service that they sometimes forget about the relationship building part.
Being a virtual assistant means getting to work with great small businesses and solo entrepreneurs; you can provide more detailed customer service, give one-on-one attention, and focus on specific aspects of business. But you still need to connect with your clients on a personal level to build strong client-provider relationships.
You have the opportunity to be more than just a vendor or service provider.
- Be a friend.
- Be an advocate.
- Be a supporter of other small businesses.
- Be the go-to resource.
- Be part of the team.
How do we do all of that?
Subscribe to their email newsletter or blog feed. Leave comments on blog posts, join the conversation, compliment them on something awesome that they did.
Follow their presence on social media. Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube, etc…. But do more than just follow for the sake of following; like and comment on their posts. Share when appropriate. Give them a shout out or kudos on social media for a recent project or blog post they’ve done.
Give them feedback on projects. Saying, “I really enjoyed working with you on this project” or “I really like what you’re doing with this project,” goes a long way in relationship building and it’s nice to hear.
Love their project management software or enjoy working with the rest of their team? Could something have gone differently during the project? Let them know those things too. Feedback is always good, and it goes both ways.
Share ideas with them. If you’re working on a task and have an idea that might help the client’s project grow a little extra, don’t be afraid to tell them about it.
Be a fresh pair of eyes for them. Sometimes we spend so long looking at our own work that it just becomes a blur. Fresh eyes on something can be super valuable and catch tiny little things that we’ve missed. If you spot a typo in an important project or blog post, let the client know and ask if they need help fixing it.
Be extra nice and don’t add the five minutes it took to your billables tally. Your client is going to appreciate that you were looking out for their best interests and they’re going to remember that – and that is worth far more than the dollar or two that you’d make on the billable.
Show them that you appreciate them. Whether it’s a random discount just because they’re awesome, a special service you don’t offer to the public, or sending them a thank you card in the mail, make your clients feel appreciated in as many ways as possible.
I’m not saying that you have to do all of these things every single day or that you have to give away free services to build client relationships. Just be nice and do nice things for people, that’s really what it all comes down to.