Why I interview potential customers – by Karen Hyde

As Rachael says, no-one is normal, everyone is different, which makes them normal and that’s why I interview my customers.

In my role as a Virtual Assistant I get to work with a diverse bunch of customers, all have a unique set requirements and different ways of working.

I love the variety my job brings and I’m proud of the standard of support I offer but working across several customers and industry sectors means I need to thoroughly define what’s expected of our partnership and how we should work together.

The worst thing imaginable would be for me to have uncontrollable workload. That’s no good for either of us. I always want my customers to feel delighted with the value I add to their business.

My customers are busy, successful people. They don’t want to hire a full-time employee but they sometimes need reliable ad-hoc support for a project or task and that’s where I come in.

That’s why I ask potential customers a few questions. Interviewing customers helps me assess all requirements, uncover any unique needs, and estimate the time commitment.

Getting it right from the beginning

If we work together, it’s a business to business relationship and what I learn from our conversations helps me define what I need to put in my contract and terms. That’s why interviewing new customers is good for them and me.

Why interviewing your new customers is a great idea

Why interviewing your new customers is a great idea

That’s great. Thanks for calling but I need to know more before I know if I can help you.

Admin covers a lot of tasks, it could mean anything from reading and checking emails to managing strategic tasks. I really need to find out more and if what the customer wants can be achieved in “a few hours”.

Have you worked with a VA before?

I always find this a good question to begin with. Some people have never worked in this way and rely on me to explain how it could work. Before I set up my VA business, I worked in global organisations where I never got to meet my team members so for me, working virtually and remotely is second nature.

Would you mind saying why you approached me?

The reason I ask this is because all my customers so far have come through a referral, or have heard I specialise in certain tasks or have specific industry knowledge.

Tell me something about your business

It’s great to get an understanding of the nature of business because that sometimes leads on to uncovering another problem.

How would a VA benefit your business?

I like to know I’m adding value which I why I ask this question. Instead of asking about the tasks you need, I’ll about how doing so would benefit your business. In other words, it’s me defining the value proposition. For example, I was partner with you and solve x, y and z, what could you do with that time.

What tools do you use for your business?

Having some great technology is the reason I can work in this way and keeping my customers’ information secure comes top of my list. I’m also a bit geeky and always looking for ways to improve my working methods so we work together seamlessly, efficiently and without duplication of effort.

It’s all about the right fit

For anyone who is thinking about working with a VA, you’ll want to know if that person is a good fit for you, your business and your teams; someone you can trust and who has the right skills, qualities and work ethic.

Getting the right terms in place

Having asked the right questions and with a better understanding of what the customer needs, Rachael is my go-to person when it comes to helping me write a proposal and contract. Even when I think I have covered every eventuality, it seems like Rachael always has my back, thinking of things I hadn’t even considered.

As Rachael says, no-one is normal, everyone is different, which makes them normal and that’s why I interview my customers.

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