Many virtual assistants and other service-based businesses can find that their workload slows down in summer. Perhaps because their clients take time off to go on holiday, or the business owner themselves has to cut back hours to look after the kids who are off from school. Whatever the reason, as a small business owner it can be tough when the client work isn’t rolling in as regularly as you’d like. You can lose momentum and motivation if things go too quiet for too long.
So how can you keep things moving over the holiday period? Well you don’t have to start selling holiday packages or swimming pools but like travel agents, you do need to understand what your customers are thinking about in the summer months and cater your marketing to that.
So when business is slow, ask yourself a few questions:
- What are your customers’ worries and concerns in summer? As a virtual assistant, some of my clients may be concerned about who is going to answer customer enquiries while they’re on holiday, or they may want to keep their Facebook page or LinkedIn group updated while they’re away. So grab a piece of paper and write down the kind of concerns that your target market may have over the summer months and how you could help them with that.
- What are they busy doing? When you know what your customers are doing and what’s on their minds, you know how to speak to them. Ask your clients what their plans are over the summer months. Perhaps they want to get started on a project that they’ve been putting off and want to use the quiet summer time to do this. By asking questions and finding out what their plans are for the rest of the year, you can talk to them about how you can help them achieve these plans.
- What would they rather be doing? They may want to take some time off over the summer but are worried about how this will affect their business. Perhaps they’d just like a few days lazing by the beach. So what would your clients love to do but feel they can’t, but possibly could with the help of your services? Again, educate them as to how you can help them achieve this without a lot of stress on their part.
Putting together a summer marketing plan doesn’t require any magic skills, but it does require some thought. When business is slow, take time to speak to your clients and find out what they are doing over the summer months. Then put together a plan that can help them with any issues or projects that they have. By doing this, your clients will not only appreciate what you’re doing for them but you will also be ensuring that you have a steady stream of work to cover you over the holiday period.
Are you planning to go on holiday but worried about who’s going to look after things while you’re away? Or perhaps you’re planning to work on a project and need some help? Then click on the arrow button to find out more about our virtual assistant services and how we can help you in your business.
When dealing with businesses, we have all experienced bad customer care at some point. It only has to happen once and it puts us off using that company again. However, companies that provide an excellent level of care to their customers will have life-long advocates of their products and services. These “word of mouth” recommendations will help a business grow and succeed.
Using Virtual Assistants as an example, part of the service that we are offering to clients is personal and proactive support to them and their business. Here are a number of ways that a VA can do this:
- Get to know the client. Set up an initial meeting to find out more about them, their company, the industry they work in and who they work with.
- Promote a professional image by ensuring that calls are always answered. Use a call minder service when you’re away from the office and respond to messages as soon as possible after receiving them. Complete all work to the highest standard and to deadline.
- Don’t overpromise and under deliver. If you say you’re going to do something or get back to someone, then do it! Only make promises that you know are achievable.
- Exceed expectations. If you have told a client that a project will be finished by Friday, try and finish it by Thursday morning – they’ll be very impressed!
- Have a contingency plan in case of emergencies. This means you’re less likely to panic when disaster strikes and can continue to provide a seamless service.
- Ensure that all instructions from a client are confirmed in writing so that you’re both clear about what’s been agreed. If the project requirements change, then get this in writing too and let the client know if this affects the final fee.
- Be proactive. By getting to know the client’s business and communicating with them regularly, you can recommend other services that could benefit them. Forward any relevant or interesting items that you come across in magazines, newspapers or on the web.
- Show your appreciation to regular clients by sending them gifts at Christmas, special offers and any other incentives.
- Seek feedback from clients regularly and find out how you can improve your service to them.
Losing a client can be very costly to small businesses, not in only in terms of money but also to their reputation. We all know how people use the Internet to express their views and these can be communicated to a wide community in seconds.
So providing first class customer care is essential to the success of any small business.
To find out more about how virtual assistants work with clients, check out our video “How to Work with a Virtual Assistant“. This video covers the key points that you need to consider when hiring a virtual assistant into your business. Click on the link to play the video >> How to Work with a Virtual Assistant
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