As a virtual assistant or even as a business owner in general, dealing with client questions are part of the day to day role. However, the way you handle difficult client questions is what separates you from others. There are many ways that these questions can be handled, but there is a formula that makes this process a lot more seamless, and less stressful for both of you.
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There are really only two ways to handle difficult client questions.
- Be as open and transparent with your client by indicating the level of knowledge you have to be able to answer their question, and…
- If you don’t know it, make sure your client knows that you will do everything you can to get the answer.
Now that we have those 2 items listed, let’s delve a little further into it.
Transparency is Step 1
By being transparent with your client, you are invoking trust. They want to know how much you do or don’t know, as to ensure that you aren’t leading them astray. That isn’t to say that you say “I don’t know” and leave it at that, it means to acknowledge to them that you may not have the immediate answer, being the professional you are – this would then lead to the second step…
Seeking Solution as Step 2
This step is to show your client that you will seek the answer as to best get it off their plate if possible. Be it a process or seeking additional information – looking to your network of experts, that you might be able to get them the answer they need, or by picking up the phone.
By doing these two steps, you are, as mentioned, creating a relationship of trust and that you care for them and their business enough that you are willing to go the extra mile and seek a solution.
But what happens if there is no easy answer, or it turns out its something the client needs to handle?
So you have done some leg work and discovered that it is either something that they directly need to handle (i.e. private documentation requests, confidential information sharing, or a subscription they have to complete due to the privacy act) OR the solution isn’t there as you thought it might be. This is where you earn your trust badge again.
In these situations, where its something you cannot help them resolve, it is best to outline in a step by step fashion the next steps. Be it gathering contact information for them to reach out to or just briefing them on why a solution is or isn’t possible. Treating them with the respect that you have earned and by making any inconvenience as minimal as possible.
It’s these small steps that help to make the overall situation much easier for the client. It also will mean that they appreciate you all the more when it comes to more difficult problems to be solved down the road. Knowing that you took care and consideration to bring them the best resolution to their question.
As the saying goes, You win some, you lose some – it’s all in how you play the game.
Something to think about when the client comes to you next, with what seems to them like a large and difficult issue – if they know you have their back, it is something that is priceless to them.