Maintaining good ethics is so important in business. I really love the article Rosanna put together below. I think every VA should bookmark it :-)
Ethics, Ethics, Ethics
It's something that you might not talk about often, but your work ethic tells your clients all about you everyday. By observing your performance, your clients are sure to learn plenty about your character. Their decision as to whether to continue a work relationship with you will depend greatly on what signals they pick up and how they interpret them. Try to see yourself through the eyes of your clients, and put your best professional foot forward.
As I am always saying, you want your clients to be comfortable with you. People buy from people- and that includes services! Anybody may be able to secure their first project with a client, but it's only your good character and work ethic that will encourage your client to use your services again. If you have demonstrated that you are a reputable professional, it is much easier to keep the clients you have- and build your client list further. A well done one-time project may lead to additional (and often steady) work.
However, no matter how great your skills are, you can kiss that return business goodbye if you fail display good character and ethics. Here are some guidelines that can help you identify ways to polish your professional image:
- Never speak negatively about a client, especially to other clients. In fact, not to anyone at all. You would be surprised to learn how small the world really is sometimes. Also, if clients hear you putting down other clients, they will wonder what you might say about them. This pretty much kills your chances of building a realtionship built on trust and respect.
- Keep your client updated on your progress with their project. Periodic reports are greatly appreciated and help give an account for the time you have spent on a particular task.
- Consider all client information privileged. Whether or not you have signed a confidentiality agreement, it is your responsibility to protect their information to the best of your ability. You may have access to a great deal of information about your client and their business. In my opinion, everything is confidential.
- Guarantee your work. If you read my previous post, enough said.
- Handle any complaints promptly and in the best interest of your client. Give them the benefit of the doubt whenever possbile and correct the situation. If that means something has to be redone, don't hesitate, start immediately. If you have made a mistake, aplologize and ask how you can remedy the situation. Then do it.
- Never compromise your integrity- for any reason. Right is right and wrong is wrong, regardless of whether you are in the spotlight. Provide reasonable estimates, work efficiently, and invoice accurately. Don't even consider any work that might reflect questionably upon your character.
Your ethics and character are the foundation for your reputation. If you take the time to build it carefully, it will serve you well for years to come.
Rosanna Tussey is a virtual assistant and stay at home mom. She provides paralegal, transcription, and general office support. Visit her blog at www.vaconnection.blogspot.com.