Just FYI before we begin, I would never normally do a post like this, however I think it’s particularly useful for new VA’s and also established VA’s to see first hand what went on in my biz last week, and that we are all prone to making mistakes, and we simply can’t help everyone…
Last week, I decided to ignore all my instincts and better judgement and I accepted a client who I knew in my bones was going to be a problem… What I didn’t realise was exactly how much of a problem they were going to be.
Now, I always try to follow my intuition when it comes to clients and normally I would not have taken this person in. What some people don’t realise when hiring a VA, is that it should be a mutual agreement that you work together. Just because we have websites advertising services, it doesn’t mean to say that those services are available to everybody that wants them.
So anyway, I accepted this particular client for a few reasons:
1) Primarily because a previous client had recommended my services to them.
2) Because the tasks were relatively straightforward.
3) Because this person claimed they were unable to find help elsewhere… (Now I know why!)
Everything went very smoothly, and 5 hours were purchased up front for the work. There were 3 tasks.
Less than 48 hours later from assigning the tasks, those 3 tasks were complete, 2 were live and functioning on her website and then the 3rd task was to ensure 2 form submissions went into her personal email account, we had tested these forms – it was in Google, and our test submissions went into our spam box, it was coming from a bit of a spammy url… so we wrote back to the client and confirmed the tasks were completed, sent her the relevant links for the first 2 tasks and asked her to confirm the form submission for the 3rd task – because the test forms landed in our spam box, we were certain that the form would be in her spam box, so we asked her to please check her spam box too and confirm if she finds the form submissions in there. If she did, then she would simply need to whitelist the incoming email address and the tasks would be complete.
Now, you would consider this a simple request right?…. wrong…
May this be a lesson to every VA out there who ignores their Instincts/Intuition/Better Judgement. Also beware of people who tend to write a lot in block capitals :-/
These are the events that followed after we sent her the message confirming her tasks were complete and asking her to check her spam box for the form submission – this is word for word with sensitive bits edited out… It made me want to start a blacklist of clients, so the next poor VA doesn’t land in the same trap.
This conversation occurred at 9pm on Friday night…
I am sorry to disturb you but I am very unhappy with [Virtual Assistant]
she seems to me highly incompetent
I am spending too much money not to get at all what I am asking for
I thought I made it clear with many emails I can copy and send you back
that one of my urgent request was for me to be sent an email at [clients email address]
each time an anonymous client would make a prayer request or send a contact form with his details from my website at [clients website]
Some of my friends upon my request made prayer requests and sent some contact forms but no email came to me at my address to inform me with the text of their request
[Virtual Assistant] told me she successfully did the job but IT IS NOT DONE!!!!
When I told her to make a try to check herself she said she sent me two links yesterday
I already explained to her
I AM NOT THE ONE WHO WANTS TO MAKE A PRAYER REQUEST ON MY OWN WEBSITE TO MYSELF
IT IS MY CLIENTS THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE I DO NOT KNOW
AND I NEED TO KNOW WHAT THEY WANT ME TO PRAY ABOUT
ALSO FOR THE CONTACT REQUEST I NEED TO RECEIVE THEIR MESSAGE AND EMAIL ADDRESSES TO BE ABLE TO CONTACT THEM AGAIN AND REPLY
THIS IS A CHARITY AND A BUSINESS
AND I VALUE MY CLIENTS AND ALL THE PEOPLE IN DISTRESS WHO ARE ASKING FOR HELP
I feel really unhappy since I must pay for work I never asked for
I feel that if this is not sorted satisfactorilly i will ask for a refund and find another company
I really appreciate for you to do WHAT I ASK NOT SOMETHING I DO NOT NEED
Sure, I am happy to help you with this. Let’s go through your points:
Yes, the tasks were very clear, and I can see exactly what is being said, since it all comes through our communal office space. Within 2 days from receiving all of the information to action your requests, we carried out your tasks.
The prayer and contact forms have been set up to go to your email address, and we sent a “Test” form submission to your account. We fully understand that you have not received the “Test” form submission, and have requested that you first check your spam/junk folder in your email account. Once we can confirm the “Test” form submissions are not in there, then we can proceed to troubleshoot the issue and remedy it.
Only you are able to check your email account, we do not have access to [clients email address] and we want to eliminate all possibilities for it not coming through before we begin troubleshooting.
I hope this helps and I look forward to hearing from you to confirm that the “Test” form submission is not in the spam/junk folder of your email account, as we requested.
[Client name], in response to your email, you obviously seem very upset. Could you please explain what exactly have we done for you that you don’t need?
I have reviewed every detail of the conversation between [Virtual
Assistant] and yourself, and her accuracy has been impeccable and she
has been extraordinarily polite throughout.
You ask why I am upset
You both do not take note of what I am saying and repeat like robots exactly what is convenient to you
I explained that friends tested what [Virtual Assistant] said was working which is that she said she made sure prayer requests and contact forms were coming to my email address
but they do not come
Many friends sent me fake prayer requests and fake contact form they filled up on my website and it did not join me on my email address as asked
I AM LOSING CLIENTS BY THE MINUTE AND ALL YOU DO IS DEFEND YOURSELVES
BUT YOU DO NOT PRODUCE THE RESULTS I AM ASKING FOR
CAN YOU PLEASE PROVIDE ME WITH YOUR PHONE NUMBER
I NEED TO HAVE A CLEAR CONVERSATION ABOUT THIS WITH YOU
TO MAKE SURE WE FINALLY UNDERSTAND
BUT WITH THE AMOUNTS OF STRESS TIME CONSOMMATION THIS SMALL WORK SEEMS TO TAKE WITH YOUR COMPANY
I WILL BE BETTER OFF WITH THE MANY OTHER COMPANIES WHO CALL ME EVERYDAY PROPOSING ME THEIR SERVICES
PLEASE GIVE ME A PHONE NUMBER TO CONTACT YOU ASAP ON MONDAY IF THERE IS NO OTHER WAY
AGAIN WASTING THE WEEKEND!!!
I don’t think that you fully understand our question “Please Confirm – did you check your spam/junk folder?” at [clients email address]
If you would like to see prayer requests in the meantime you can go to:
[Google spreadsheet URL here]
They are all on this spreadsheet, and they are dating back to November 2009.
As you can see in your email account [clients email account where the form was being sent from] we did set the contact form up for you correctly and confirmation from Google is as follows:
“Your form “form name here” was successfully created.
Replies will automatically fill in the spreadsheet:
[Google spreadsheet URL here]
You sent it to 1 email addresses: [clients email address]
Need to send the form to more people? Go to:
[Google spreadsheet URL here]
The Google Docs team”
[Client name] – please check the spam/junk folder of your email account to confirm if the prayer forms are in there. We cannot proceed until you confirm this.
Please, we simply need a yes or no answer to the above question.
CAN YOU PLEASE GIVE ME YOUR PHONE NUMBER
IF NOT I AM NOT REALLY HAPPY TO CARRY ON
(usually I am happy to speak to clients, but there was no way I was giving this person my phone number at this stage…)
Please send me your phone number I will call you.
By the way this false spreadsheet was already there set by google as an example
me and my colleague already saw it
it was put by google as an example so you did not set it
the user is supposed to change it
the prayers from 2009 are fake and as an example
this is a proof google can confirm
I WISH TO STOP USING YOUR COMPANY
SINCE YOU CANNOT EVEN PROVIDE A PHONE NUMBER TO A CLIENT
AND IF YOU DO NOT GIVE ME A REFUND WILL REPORT YOU TO MY TOP CONTACTS
I have submitted a refund request with our accounts department now and this will be issued within 24 business hours.
I am sorry we could not be of service to you.
So there you have it – I was outta there, I accepted the loss, the client has her work complete, and the ironic thing is I do believe that the form submissions are still going into her spam folder, which means that despite her efforts in seeking another company to help her, unless she checks her junk mail folder, (which she never even acknowledged in the conversation), the issue will never be resolved.
We all make mistakes, this is another one I learnt from last week…