What to Do When Things Aren’t Working with Your Virtual Professional
Every once in a while a client comes to us frustrated because their virtual professional has disappointed them. In an effort to help, please take some time and honestly evaluate yourself and your staff to see what can be done to improve. These tips work on in-house as well as remote workers.
Have you set clear priorities and expectations for your staff?
Most times disappointment comes down to expectations not being met. The first question to ask is, have you been clear about your expectations? Do you have a written list of priorities that aren’t being followed, or has it been a while since you reviewed your expectations with your staff members?
If it has been a while or your expectations have changed, we recommend having a discussion where you clearly lay out your expectations for your staff. For example, if you expect phone calls to be answered live and not go to voicemail. You may state, I expect 87% of all incoming calls to be answered live. Then you have to have a mechanism to track that performance to make sure your staff person is or isn’t meeting those expectations. Maybe a call log where your staff members state each call and whether it was answered live or was a callback. Have them tally the percentage and provide that to you daily. Then you as the manager need to spot check the reporting for accuracy.
Are you reviewing their work on a regular basis?
We teach all our staff members to perform a Close of Business (COB) Report. If you never comment or provide feedback on those reports, then after a while your staff member may not put as much effort into those reports because they feel like you don’t care. I review every COB from my VAs. Randomly, I give a response. “Great job today looks like you were really busy!” or “What happened today? It doesn’t appear you were producing very much – is there something that I need to know?”
These reports should not be a generic copy/paste report. Answered phone calls & emails, is NOT what they are taught. Your daily COB should be a reflection of the KPIs you have outlined for them. Using the example above, your staff member’s COB would be – Answered 35 calls – 92% live, 8% callbacks.
Are you meeting with them regularly?
As humans, we crave to be known. You can’t matter to someone if you never speak with them outside of making demands. It doesn’t matter that your virtual staff member is across the globe, they want to matter to you, and you need to show them you care. As much as you can, schedule regular calls/meetings. It doesn’t have to be long, but knowing that they matter and what they do to help you matters, will immediately improve performance.
My staff members and I regularly meet as a group, and then each gets daily interaction. Just like I say “Hi” to my internal staff members, I take the time to connect with my virtual staff daily. If there are priorities, I need them to focus on, I lay that out each morning. Weekly meetings with my staff internal and remote are a must to make sure we are all rowing the boat in the same direction.
Are you counseling them when things aren’t going well?
A common complaint is that my virtual staff member isn’t responding or isn’t available when I need them. My first way to help clients who have these issues, is to ask: what would you do if your internal staff member wasn’t available? Would you not sit down with them and talk about it? Then do that. Would you write them a warning? Then do that (and let us know and have a copy of it).
All too often, clients dismiss this and allow it to go on too long without any intervention and then put the hammer down and/or fire them. While it certainly is a clients prerogative to address it this way, I think they are missing an opportunity. Your remote staff is someone you have invested time in. Someone you have trained. Why not try and salvage it if you can?
Did you know we are here to help?
I am always happy to get involved for a better outcome. We have a proven system to get your staff member back on track to productivity more often than not. It is called our Pathway to Success. By having a clear 30-day goal as part of a probation period, we work with your staff member and you to help get everyone back on solid ground.
Often it is walking you through the above, but I hold each of you accountable for what we agree on so that progress is made. More often than not, just having an objective 3rd party share experience and knowledge is all that is needed.
There are times where the relationship is too damaged, and the staff member does need to be released, but at least, we have done what we can to bring the situation to a close peacefully.
Don’t wait until you are overwhelmed and at the breaking point to get us involved. We would much prefer to assist early. As a business coach for years, helping clients through the tough spots is a particular favorite task of mine. So please, allow me to help if I can.
Need to talk? Feel free to set an appointment to chat with me.
To your success!