John Lennon quotes: "There are no problems, only solutions."
Those were wise words, yet over time, still many virtual assistance industries do not hear them when undertaking client ventures. Indeed, when establishing relationships with clients, procedures, or even businesses, many virtual assistants (VAs) are not satisfactorily meticulous in analyzing the issues they seek to solve and stating why those problems are significant. Missing that rigor, VAs also lose opportunities. Hence, they need to become better at imploring the exact issues to sack the accurate solutions.
Here at Ripple, we have all had our parcel of problems — more than enough if you come right down to it. So it is apparent to believe that this article is incidental. However, as much as you know the problem, do you know what to do about it?
Below are solicited issues and solutions raised by Ripple's talents that might be helpful for other VAs around the world.
Issue No. 1: Unfamiliar Tools
Digital tools have significant benefits for rendering operations that are safer, more consistent, valuable, and practical. But regardless of whether VAs know an instrument or not, it is part of their job to ensure it gets accomplished. They would not always get the company training, and frequently, their co-workers and even clients would be unable to navigate them through the chore bit by bit; it is up to the VA to discover how to glimpse it through.
To be irresistible in a progressively technological workplace, VAs must know how to manipulate digital tools and why and when to utilize them.
Some of the company's VAs shared that being foreign to the bunch of application software their clients use is incredibly daunting. While some could not grab the posted jobs in the group chat as most clients' tasks are unknown, others did their research, watched YouTube tutorials, and studied specific apps.
Familiarity, nonetheless, does not warrant proficiency. Similarly, acquaintance with digital tools does not prevent people from adopting them when it is not suitable. Discernment moves past the mere know-how to use such tools to get to the bottom of a problem.
Issue No. 2: Communication
Undeniably, communication issues in the workplace can result in energy downfall, lost productivity, and eventually working relationships. And if these problems remain unsolved, mistakes, lost earnings, etc., are nothing out of the ordinary. VAs must understand and grapple with communication troubles in the room before the mood gets uncontrollable.
Commonly, misunderstandings transpire because there is a substantial slump between the sender and the receiver. For instance, when a client transmits a message, it moves through many cycles, and its initial implication gets misplaced; thus, active or comprehensive listening is essential.
Another VA said that some clients provide "hard-to-understand instructions" and are non-cooperative, making it difficult for her to perform activities perfectly and keep on the same page. Likewise, another VA said there is an absence of direct communication with the client sometimes and a lack of clarity when taking on tasks.
The said problems are not entirely unsolvable, though. For one VA, he works around them by being resourceful and explorative. He uses communication tools such as Slack, WhatsApp, Voxer, and email to effectively and efficiently address concerns.
Another VA said that email or written communication is best for non- and less-sensitive information. Video calls, meanwhile, are most helpful in overseeing a sophisticated situation that has already induced the extent of misinformation.
Issue No. 3: Conflicting Time Zones
The chance to work on one's specific calendar or work schedule is crucial primarily in tasks that require here and now contact. However, some VAs in Ripple who work individually face different time zones across various clients. Taking time differences into account is integral; otherwise, the refusal can bring unfavorable consequences. One VA said that this could pose confusion and further issues with time management, especially when dealing with multiple clients.
Thus, as a solution, another VA shared that he made it a habit to check time zone converters regularly. Another said he asked the client's preferred schedule to talk concurrently about the aspects essential for the given tasks. Because it is undeniable that some VAs gain outstanding performance either very early in the morning or late at night, proper communication with clients is a reasonable remedy.
Moreover, VAs should note that some time slots link up. Thus, assignments that propose full-time interaction, such as figuring out rushed issues, productive chores, and team decisions, are better for such areas.
Meanwhile, dealing with duties that do not need real-time communication is best at time intervals that do not crisscross.
Issue No. 4: Internet connectivity and electricity
Everything about Internet connection issues pertains to how the different networks are running. Unless the trouble is rapidly associated with a computer or device (smartphone, tablet, etc.), then it will encompass either a grid or something distant along the line. There may be distinct justifications for a terrible connection: lousy weather or a power interruption. In the Philippines, the Internet connection status is generally unreliable.
VAs have to be strategic in prepping up for their work, especially in the provinces. One VA shared: "I always run an On Camera and mic test an hour before my meeting or work to check any issues in my connectivity and back it up with mobile data if any sign of Internet connection issue occurs." Another VA disclosed that he travels to another location to obtain a stable Internet connection and get his work done.
In the interim, a reasonable solution for slow connectivity is to transfer the router closer to one's workspace. Items, too, can constrain connections between devices and a router, so, if possible, attempt to maintain clutter surrounding the router to a minimum. Investing in a Wi-Fi extender to improve signal durability is also encouraged.
The demands in the VA industry continue to boom as the new year unfolds. As it thrives, a plethora of problems and opportunities charge various solutions — what worked a year ago might now be no longer the best process. Nevertheless, there is an opportunity to learn something new where there is a problem.