Virtual assistants are human too. Yes they are very talented and rich in experience. They have honed their skills in various industries and have contributed to the success of many clients. But they can make mistakes as well.
As a client, you should never assume that virtual assistants are perfect. They are not machines. Virtual assistants are flesh and blood; organisms that are vulnerable to the same pitfalls as you and I. They can and will have their off – days as well.
The idea is to have the mistake identified and rectified before it becomes an issue or a problem.
Here are 5 tips to consider when your Virtual Assistant makes a mistake:
1. Create a Culture of Transparency
You should not be surprised if there are virtual assistants who may wait for the last minute to tell you of the mistake they made. It is human nature to deny a mistake has been made because no one wants to feel inadequate.
Work towards creating a culture of transparency. Encourage your Virtual Assistant to open up and admit mistakes right away. The way to do it is to inspire them to become leaders. Accountability is the quality that separates leaders from followers.
2. Think Through the Situation
It is also human nature to get angry or frustrated. But at the early stages, becoming emotional will be counter-productive. It will waste your energy.
Instead, think through the situation with your Virtual Assistant. Re-trace the steps and create an outline of the events that led to the mistake. You will not be able to do this with an angry heart. You should always approach problems with a clear mind.
3. Provide Immediate Feedback
Once you have all the inputs from your Virtual Assistant, take some time to process the information then provide immediate feedback.
The purpose is not to “scold” your Virtual Assistant but to find weaknesses and deficiencies in the processes that may have led to the mistake. Once you have identified these weaknesses, take note of them in document form for future reference.
4. Prioritize the Remedy
When you have all the information you need and the courses of action have been identified, direct all energies toward finding potential solutions. Prioritize your options in terms of probability of success.
Your Virtual Assistant can take it from here but check up on his or her progress frequently. The purpose is not to show lack of faith or confidence but to make sure everything that was discussed and plan is being implemented.
It is also to show the Virtual Assistant that he or she is not alone in facing this problem. That despite the mistake you are here for support.
5. Learn From It
Once the problem has abated, you have to take time and discuss the incident with the Virtual Assistant. The purpose is not to “unleash” your anger and disappointment; again, negative emotions have no value. The purpose is for you and the Virtual Assistant to learn from the experience.
It is easy to blame the other party for the mistake without finding accountability to the incident. And that is exactly why many partnerships or engagements fail. The fact is everyone in the agreement is accountable in some way or the other. The attention should never be on who is at greater fault but rather how the situation can be resolved in the best and most expedient way possible.