How to Give Feedback to Your VA: Improving Your Care Experience

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Do you work with a virtual assistant to support your business operations? If your answer is yes, you’ll find this article helpful. If your answer is no, but you’re interested in hiring a virtual assistant soon, this will be great information to know!

To get the most out of your VA, aligned expectations from both parties are required—and only good communication makes it happen. If you don’t communicate clearly, even a great VA can make mistakes. You should also take note that employees appreciate feedback—just look at these research findings

  • 96% said they actually liked getting feedback regularly
  • 83% of employees value receiving feedback, whether it’s good or constructive
  • 50% of managers say employees have acted on feedback 

The simple question now is this: “Is your feedback helping or hurting?”

Keep reading to find easy tips for giving feedback that motivates your VA to improve and produce amazing work. 

Is feedback important when working with a VA?

Business owner talking to a VA over a call to discuss concerns, services, and other training resources

Of course! 89% of HR leaders agree that regular feedback and check-ins improve employee performance. 

But even if we’re talking about small businesses without HR departments, feedback is still equally important. After all, it’s your foundation for a great partnership. Remember, you hired an assistant—not a mind reader. 

Now, to be specific, here are the main reasons why the feedback loop is a necessary part of working with a VA—and not just an option.

  1. It helps the virtual assistant understand exactly what you want them to do. The more detailed feedback you can give, the better they’ll be able to meet your specific requirements. Let them know if they’re missing the mark (like if their tone doesn’t quite fit your brand voice).
  2. It empowers your dedicated VA to get better. When you point out mistakes or areas for them to improve, they can learn and do an even better job next time. If anything is misaligned, feedback lets them adjust promptly instead of letting them make the same mistakes over again.
  3. It prevents mix-ups. Talk about tasks, deadlines, or responsibilities. It’s easy to miscommunicate when you’re working remotely. Providing feedback allows your VA to quickly catch and resolve confusion before it becomes a bigger issue.
  4. It builds trust between you and the VA—trust that you have mutual accountability. If there’s any lapse, whoever’s at fault owns up to mistakes, and commits to improving together as a team. 
  5. It saves time and effort. It’s simple: the more your digital assistant learns your preferences, the less you’ll need to get them to redo tasks. Upfront feedback helps cut down on those revisions and back-and-forth discussions that can really drain productivity. Streamlining your process starts with feedback.
  6. It lets them know what to replicate when they’ve done well. Without that feedback loop, your VA has no way of knowing which tactics resonated with you. By acknowledging and explaining the positive impact of successful actions, teams can more effectively establish and reinforce best practices.

How to establish an effective feedback mechanism for your VA?

Screenshot of feedback exchange via messages between CEO and virtual assistant

With all these “yes-es” that giving feedback is important when working with a VA, it’s obvious that an effective feedback mechanism needs to be in place. Here are our suggested steps for establishing it in case you haven’t yet. 

Step #1: Decide on the frequency of feedback

Decide on the frequency of feedback sessions. It could be weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly, depending on the nature of your VA’s tasks and your preferences. But can you believe that 60% of employees want feedback on a daily or weekly basis? Regular feedback ensures that any issues are addressed promptly and progress is tracked consistently. We suggest more frequent check-ins at the start of your engagement. As you work longer together, you will eventually need less check ins.

Step #2: Follow a feedback template 

If your feedback process is all over the place with no real structure, just create a simple form or checklist that covers the crucial feedback categories (like quality, timeliness, and areas for improvement). A systemic approach keeps feedback consistent and ensures no key areas are missed. Some business owners even prefer signing up for employee management software which help facilitate asynchronous feedback methods.

Step #3: Use the sandwich method 

When delivering constructive feedback, start with a positive observation then share the area for improvement. Lastly, end the review with another positive note and a summary of action points. This helps soften and balance the impact of criticism.

Step #4: Leverage video/audio tools 

Typing out feedback is just a lot sometimes. If commenting in writing is difficult, leverage video screencasts or voice notes to walk through your feedback in rich detail. It’s 6x more effective to capture information with video than to respond with open-ended text.

Step #5: Be balanced

Provide both positive and constructive feedback. Acknowledge and celebrate achievements to boost morale. But also address areas for improvement encouragingly. 

Step #6: Focus on solutions, not just problems 

Though honest feedback is important, don’t focus just on the negatives. Instead, find solutions and suggest actionable improvement plans. Let your VA know you’re here to help.

Step #7: End on a positive note 

Ending your check-ins all preachy and demanding? Pure recipe for a sour partnership. As your VA signs off,  make sure to leave them feeling great. Highlight their contributions, and share any positive results they’ve achieved. They’ll feel good about themselves and your relationship will be stronger.

7 reminders when giving feedback

Close up of business owner typing on a feedback form

If you care to look at it closely, giving feedback can also be quite easy when you get used to it. However, to ensure that feedback remains objective and outcome-focused, here are seven reminders to bear in mind:

1. You should set the standards upfront. 

From day one, inform your VA that regular feedback sessions will be a consistent part of their workflow. That will make your VA mentally prepared to receive (and implement) feedback like a total pro.

2. Think about the communication channel to use.

First, pick a channel for giving feedback. Is it by email, messaging apps like Slack, or video calls/recordings? Match the channel to the type, urgency, and complexity of the feedback. Asynchronous channels like email or messaging can be used for minor updates and questions but video or phone calls are great for feedback that requires discussion.

3. You must give timely and specific feedback.

Do not let issues linger. If you have something to say, say it now while both of you are still fresh on it. Another thing, be detailed with what your virtual assistant did well and what needs improvement. Vague feedback like “good job” or “needs work” leaves your VA puzzled. So, give tangible examples. But hey—focus only on the big things that truly impact the end result and avoid nitpicking over tiny details. 

4. Always use positive reinforcement.

Before diving into criticisms or areas for improvement, start by pointing out your virtual assistant’s strengths. Praise their strengths, efforts, and the positive impact of their work. This helps motivate them and makes them feel valued as part of the team. Recognizing employees can make them 20 times more engaged. A little positive reinforcement can go a long way.

5. Be constructive with your criticisms.

Any time you offer feedback or point out areas that need work do so in a constructive manner. Don’t give opinions or subjective judgments, but rather factual feedback (not as a personal attack). Explain the “why” behind the areas that need improvement, and make suggestions. Always, frame it as an opportunity for your virtual assistant to learn and grow.

6. You should encourage two-way communication.

Feedback should be a collaborative discussion. It shouldn’t be a one-way lecture. So, let them explain their reasoning behind their work—not just you, forcing input on your VA. Listening to employees is associated with higher morale and 4.6x productivity. So, flip your old way. And ask your VA’s perspective, if any instructions were unclear.

7. Follow up and monitor your VA’s progress.

At the end of the feedback session, summarize the key action items or areas for improvement that your virtual assistant needs to focus on. But don’t stop there! Check in with them periodically to determine how they are progressing on those action points. 

Common challenges in the feedback process

Even with the best intentions, giving feedback to your virtual assistant is still easy yet difficult. Let’s take a look at some common challenges you might face.

Not providing enough context

You’re busy—we get it. But still, it’s a must to provide sufficient context and access to background information. That’s if you don’t want your VA to misinterpret your instructions.

Not providing rationale or reasoning

Feedback should not only highlight areas for review and improvement but also explain the reasoning behind it. Simply letting them know what needs to be improved without providing the premise or rationale won’t motivate them to address it.

Delayed or sparse feedback

Delays in giving feedback can lead to missed opportunities for education, course correction or reinforcement of undesirable habits. Infrequent feedback may also create a sense of uncertainty or lack of guidance for your virtual assistant.

Personal biases or subjectivity

Feedback should be based on objective assessments and factual observations. Not personal biases or subjective opinions.

Empowering your VA will elevate your business

When giving feedback to your VA, always maintain a positive and supportive tone, especially when you’re addressing areas for improvement. Frame feedback as an opportunity for learning and development, rather than criticism.

At TaskDrive, our VAs are not just skilled professionals. They’re eager learners, ready to grow and adapt to your unique business needs. They are basically a valuable extension of your workforce—committed to your success. Book a free synergy call and discover how our top-tier virtual assistants services can elevate your bottom line of operations.

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