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How Feedback Creates a Culture of Trust and Communication

As a lifelong writer, I have come to understand how important feedback can be to the development of a piece of writing. My experience as a Virtual Assistant at Trusty Oak has underscored the crucial role of feedback not only in refining products and services but also in nurturing strong client-VA relationships. When I write for a client, I am writing for a purpose, and the best way to achieve that purpose is to seek out, internalize, and utilize feedback. However, receiving feedback can be a difficult, uncomfortable, and anxiety-inducing experience for many. Learning to accept and incorporate feedback builds effective communication between the client and the VA, helps the VA deliver their best, and enables all of us here at Trusty Oak to Follow Through on Every Commitment. 

Building Trust and Communication

Communication is key when it comes to establishing a relationship between a client and their Virtual Assistant. Since we do not share an office space or any type of physical work location with our clients, it is essential we build effective and efficient communication to ensure that we are always providing the best service possible and internalizing and responding to the client’s needs. Feedback is a necessary part of establishing this relationship. Feedback promotes trust and honesty while building a healthy avenue of communication. 

Seeking and utilizing honest and constructive feedback demonstrates the VA’s willingness to learn and grow in their role with the client. It also creates mutual understanding and trust, strengthening the relationship between the client and VA, and facilitating synergy between the two. Building a trusting relationship makes it easier to communicate in the future and helps to establish mutual respect and growth. A precedent of trust and honesty also provides clearer pathways for seeking and utilizing feedback on every project after. At a psychological level, this precedent also creates feelings of safety which strengthen the bond between the client and VA and create a more beneficial working relationship for both parties. 

Learning to Accept Feedback

As important as feedback is, that doesn’t always make it easy to receive or provide. For those unsure of the best way to provide feedback, seek to do so in a constructive and respectful manner. Giving feedback should be less about identifying past mistakes or errors and more focused on building future successes together. When both the client and VA approach feedback from a place of mutual respect and honest communication, it strengthens the relationship and the product they are collaborating to create. None of us are mind readers, which means there will always be things that we have done differently than what the client may want or need. Feedback is an opportunity to learn about the client’s expectations to ensure that future endeavors more closely hew to an established standard. Consistent feedback practices also make it easier to move past anxieties or feelings of discomfort as the establishment of a trusting, respectful relationship results in both the client and VA being more open and accepting of what the other has to offer. 

When I first write a draft, I expect there will be things that the client will wish to change or adjust. Going in with that expectation enables me to more easily receive and incorporate that feedback. Being able to open yourself to receive and utilize feedback shows attentiveness and dedication to meeting the client’s needs, as well as a sense of respect and trust in each other. It’s important to understand that feedback is rarely a reflection of your skill or ability, and, instead, is more about aligning your work with the vision of the client. Another way to alleviate anxiety is to be specific; ask the client for feedback that is specific to the task at hand, as opposed to general statements such as “Let me know if everything is correct.” This provides more structure to the feedback and helps set realistic expectations for the client’s responses. 

A Focus on Commitment

One of Trusty Oak’s core values is to Follow Through On Every Commitment. Feedback plays an essential role in this process, as the establishment of clear expectations ensures the Virtual Assistant is always aware of the commitment they are working toward. Our commitments to our clients include providing services and products that are tailored to their specific business or industry needs. As mentioned above, effective feedback communication promotes trust and honesty, two qualities that enable the VA to meet and exceed the commitments made to our clients. Each day brings new challenges, new projects, and new commitments. A culture of effective feedback ensures that we are always looking toward our client’s needs in the spirit of fulfilling our commitments to them. 

Want to learn how you can ask for feedback from your virtual assistant?

Read our blog, “Asking for Feedback from Your Virtual Assistant” for helpful tips.

Justin Weibel

Justin Weibel attended Slippery Rock University where he earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Secondary Education with a focus on English education. After graduating in December of 2011, he began working as an educator in 2012. He started in the public school system as a part-time and long-term substitute until 2016, at which point he was a full-time teacher in a rural North Carolina public school. Upon returning to Pennsylvania, he began working in a residential treatment facility and private school called the Summit Academy. There, he worked with court-adjudicated young men, individually and in group settings, to support and empower them to take control of their lives. Later on, he coordinated educational programs funded by Title 1, including GED testing and the credit recovery online program. This transition from direct education to program coordination is where he discovered and fostered his interest and drive for administrative work.

Justin is passionate about educating and helping himself and those around him grow and develop. He is interested in finding ways to help those in need through his work. He is looking for opportunities to make the world a better place by supporting those in leadership positions and he views his role with Trusty Oak as an opportunity to experience and learn more about a variety of industries and people.

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