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How To Welcome Clients To Your Virtual Assistant Practise – On Your Terms

Michelle Dale - Tuesday, April 10, 2012
Formally welcoming clients to your virtual assistant practise is like inviting someone into your home as a guest. The client is now on your turf, and will likely have no idea what to do once they are there, so it’s really important you give them a warm welcome and some initial guidance as to what they do next, including how you can cater for them.

I am often surprised at how some VA’s will let the client lead the way, e.g. “my client doesn’t like using my project management system” or “my client prefers to have invoices sent via another system” – when it’s essential, even crucial that the VA is the one in control of this situation, as it will set the scene for things to come in the future, and really, at this point, you need to make sure your client is fully aware about how you operate. At the end of the day, once a client learns your ways, and it won’t take them long providing you go about it correctly, they’ll likely stick to them, providing it’s explained from the offset – Day 1.

Having a larger company I have a very specific way I work with clients, to the point where if I deviate from this is any way, it could potentially cause issues. The organisation of multiple clients and team members takes skill and requires a much higher degree of organisation than someone on their own, I know, I worked on my own when starting out as a VA and life was much simpler when I only had myself to manage! Certain systems, procedures and processes need to be put in place, then quickly and easily communicated to the client about where their part is in all of it.

Welcome Page.

Traditionally there used to be talk of a “Welcome Pack” amongst the VA community, sounds very corporate doesn’t it, and while this is fine for some folk, it seemed a little tedious to me, and depending on whether you created a printed version or not, expensive to have things that a client would need to read through, and would likely not pay that much attention to in the beginning, fancy business cards are fine, but I don’t have any, nor do I have any clients who I meet personally, I am a 100% digital girl, so instead I created a simple “Welcome Page” which contains short, concise instructional videos for the 4 core systems I use with clients.

Those videos on the dedicated client welcome page are for:

  1. Appointment Scheduling (Talking To Me)
  2. Online Office (Collaboration and Task Management)
  3. Support Site (General Help, New Tasks and Enquiries)
  4. Billing History (Estimates & Invoices)

I also have other important links on that page to things like client training areas and terms and conditions.

Welcome Dashboard Message.

I mentioned in point 2 above that I have an online office. All work is processed through this secure space via an individual client area, which myself, managers and selected team members are assigned to. Every client has one, and while many take to it quickly, if people prefer to just collaborate over email I have the support site for that so I can give a unique reference code to every piece of communication – I leave nothing to chance, but either way, I set up a welcome message on their dashboard with step-by-step instructions on how to communicate with us, and also links, so when they login to their client area, they have that welcome message as a reminder of what they need to do, with all the useful links they would need to find anything related to their client account or working with us.

Welcome Email.

But of course we also need to give the client their login information to this area, and show them where the client welcome page is with the videos so they can see how it works, and how they can collaborate with us to get their work started, so for this, I send out an email with a nice message, stating their login information and mentioning everything they need to know to get started is in the main dashboard.

So there are 3 parts to my welcome process as a whole, and none of them involve a “pack,” paper or even a business card, unless you count my online one.

  1. The welcome email.
  2. The welcome message on the main dashboard of their client area.
  3. The client page with short concise video tutorials and useful links.

The welcome you give your clients is not only the first impression they will have of working with you, it also determines the way of working, so make sure it’s on your terms, and you state, clearly, with step-by-step instructions and videos if possible what they need to do to make their experience working with you, the most efficient and productive. I often receive compliments on my systems, and clients enjoy working with me online because I make, at every point possible, the experience seamless, and easy for the client to grasp. Welcome your clients in with a plan, and impress them with your confidence in your systems and organisational methods of running your online business.

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Hi I'm Michelle, an entrepreneur specialising in virtual assistance, a digital and real world nomad, and a down-to-earth mother of three.

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