• Kathy Nativi

Setting boundaries with online clients

There are several ways a customer can disrespect, or give this impression. The first thing to consider is that if someone disrespects you, in most cases, you have given them the opportunity to do it. Let’s see first in what ways a customer can disrespect virtual assistants and how to behave.


Asking for a discount


Asking for a discount isn’t correct, but it’s certainly a practice that is becoming more and more widespread. If you ask for 100 and the customer says “I can you 50” and you accept, you are confirming your job is worth 50. Instead you have to make them understand that it’s worth 100. It’s more likely that the customer will appreciate you for your professionalism if you say no to a discount than if you give them one. And honestly, you’ll never do a great job for less money.


So, to a customer who asks for a discount, simply answer that you’ve already applied your best rate.


Activities not covered by the agreement


It is very common for virtual assistants to be hired for administrative activities and then find themselves acting as strategic consultants to customers. We know of cases where a client has hired a virtual assistant for administrative support in web marketing, sending newsletters, creating articles for WordPress, managing their social networks, etc. and have ended up giving suggestions on the activities to grow their online community and even creating a platform for online courses while they pay a consultant at an assistant rate.


If a customer hires you to upload content to Facebook, you shouldn’t deal with their content strategy, so be very specific in the contract when it comes to the activities that are included and when they ask you for something that is outside of it and is part of a consultancy, simply answer “we can arrange a consultation, I’ll send you a link with all the information.”


If, on the other hand, they simply ask you to do other activities and you risk going beyond the number of hours, point out that it is possible to do so, but those will be considered extra hours.


They don’t respect your time


Another classic: the customer contacts you at all hours of the day. This is a very delicate point because in reality if you give availability as a personal assistant, for example, you certainly cannot say “I’ll answer you tomorrow because we have run out of time for today.” You have to be available when the customer needs it, not when you want to. But there are some characters who send you an email to ask you something and if you don’t answer after a nanosecond, they look for you on WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn or Xoom to ask you if you did what they asked for.


You must be very specific, in the contractual stage, that in order to optimize time and work, you can organize a weekly meeting, but emphasize that the best way is to use a tool that centralizes all the information; a project management tool such as Trello or Asana.


There are many other ways in which a customer can be impolite without even knowing. If others come to mind, or you have experienced others, share them with us!


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