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mjva

Communicating with Team Members!

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Hi Everyone,

 

A key element in any relationship is communication, we all know this. So, how do you effectively keep in contact with your team members?

 

I'd love hear how other's maintain open lines of communication with their team members!

 

 

Warmly,

Michelle

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Email, of course. I will send out a message to all (set it up in my address book) if it's something company-wide that everyone needs to be aware of.

 

If they have a quick question, they will usually ask my clone (I can't really call her project manager - she definitely is more of a clone and is never allowed to leave me - EVER) ;) or they ask me. We all use Skype - I ask them to do that and most already have it.

 

They each have a backpackit.com page which lists their client responsibilities and they leave notes on there for me too for anything that doesn't need an answer for them to continue. It's pretty laid back, actually.

 

It works for us, but they all work pretty independently because it's bookkeeping and it's either monthly/weekly/etc so it's pretty standard stuff that they do over and over, ya know?

 

I'm lucky, I consider all of my team members friends and family - but we can all switch right into biz mode as needed as well.

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Email and skype for us too. I like skype chat for quick questions and conversations. Emails are usually if I need to tell everyone something. I started using Santexq but not sure I like it 100%. Also I always seem to be reminding my assoicates to enter their time. (We all have either myhours or timekeeper on our computers.) Most my associates find out pretty quick that I don't like talking on the phone. :whistlin:

 

Karen

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Guest VCAA OFFICE

You too?? I thought it was just me but I hate talking on the phone. I just want to work and then spend time with my family. Very interesting.

TR

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Guest

We use email mainly also. We do use sharepoint, but that is mainly to store the client work in a central place. It's not as much for communication.

 

I'm not much for the phone either, but I do enjoy talking to my project managers. We've really become friends in addition to team members and they always make me laugh.

 

I'm always curious to see how others are handling their multi va business. This is a great question Michelle

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LOL - most of my regular clients know I don't like talking on the phone too. But many of them are coaches and LIKE the phone. Particularly my client who is a radio show talk show host! Love her though - she just told me she recommended me to Kaliq Glover (Emmy Award winning engineer) and he is going to contact me about a project!

 

-Karen

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Hi All,

 

One of the things I recently implemented was a team phpBoard. Not connected to my website and totally hidden, only my Associates have the link and it's all password protected, so no one else can sign up unless I approve their membership.

 

I've created some boards and categories specific to the business and general discussion topics. As with most multi-VA businesses, my Associates are all over the country, so it provides a "home base" for us. We share pictures of our families, share our wins and challenges and collaborate on ideas. It doesn't replace our team meetings nor would I use it to manage projects, but it just gives us an additional place for us to communicate on a personal and professional level.

 

The phpBoard has a calendar feature that allows us to share important dates, vacation time, etc. The cost was awesome --Free and it was really easy to set up.

 

It's been an awesome communication tool for us!

 

Warmly,

Michelle

 

 

 

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Thank you Michelle, that's a great suggestion. I was looking for away to communicate better with a few people I work with. I'm running out of databases on my hosting program, though, so I think I'll try setting up one at freeforums.org , and see if I can restrict access on the free account too.

 

I thought of adding a private board to my smf forum, but as far as I can tell, I would have to set up membership groups to create the special permissions, and I don't want to do that.... just yet.

 


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Email, of course. I will send out a message to all (set it up in my address book) if it's something company-wide that everyone needs to be aware of.

 

If they have a quick question, they will usually ask my clone (I can't really call her project manager - she definitely is more of a clone and is never allowed to leave me - EVER) ;) or they ask me. We all use Skype - I ask them to do that and most already have it.

 

They each have a backpackit.com page which lists their client responsibilities and they leave notes on there for me too for anything that doesn't need an answer for them to continue. It's pretty laid back, actually.

 

It works for us, but they all work pretty independently because it's bookkeeping and it's either monthly/weekly/etc so it's pretty standard stuff that they do over and over, ya know?

 

I'm lucky, I consider all of my team members friends and family - but we can all switch right into biz mode as needed as well.

 

Candy - do you feel Backpackit is more efficient (simple) than something more robust like ClientSpot or BaseCamp? I loooooove BaseCamp but I'm starting to feel I really only need something collaborative like this for amongst team members and not so much for client correspondence. i.e. a team member can cc me on their client correspondence when / if necessary. On the other hand, emails can get really inefficient really fast.

 

Anyone else have thoughts on the above?

 

Karri

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Karri -

 

We looked at BaseCamp, but I thought it was too much. Backpack it is a simple long page wiki-type set up. Easy for everyone to get started, learn the formatting and easy to delete stuff.

 

My clientspot and those - my clients wouldn't use them and I think, again, it's too much for what we use it for - plus the expense is higher (I pay like $20 per month for secure backpackit pages). I use it to upload files and make notes for the team members about what is going on or what needs to happen - and they do the same for me. I actually asked them if we needed something more, but they all like backpackit and they all like myhours and don't want to change. I'm okay with that. Plus I'm an email person and I can forward emails right to their backpackit pages. That rocks.

 

I think it has to work for you and your team. What we do works, so we keep doing it :)

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Karri -

 

We looked at BaseCamp, but I thought it was too much. Backpack it is a simple long page wiki-type set up. Easy for everyone to get started, learn the formatting and easy to delete stuff.

 

My clientspot and those - my clients wouldn't use them and I think, again, it's too much for what we use it for - plus the expense is higher (I pay like $20 per month for secure backpackit pages). I use it to upload files and make notes for the team members about what is going on or what needs to happen - and they do the same for me. I actually asked them if we needed something more, but they all like backpackit and they all like myhours and don't want to change. I'm okay with that. Plus I'm an email person and I can forward emails right to their backpackit pages. That rocks.

 

I think it has to work for you and your team. What we do works, so we keep doing it :)

 

Interesting. And I didn't know you could fwd emails to backpackit!! That DOES rock. I'm going to check it out.

 

I just signed on with Freshbooks too and noticed you can upload files, etc there as well. Am ready to "downgrade" from BaseCamp because it does seem like more than I need right now. Thanks Candy.

 

PS: Please explain in detail how you cloned yourself. Or where you ordered her from ;)

 

Karri

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Does anyone use Google Apps? We use it for email and IM (called chat), plus the docs part for collaboration. I see a great opportunity in Google sites for the type of wiki collaboration described in WikiPatterns.

 

We have it for this job, but in order to see how it worked without messing up this business, I've set up a couple of my own and I like it more and more.

 

The email reads xxx@xxcompany.com not google.

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I use Kayako support centre to manage all my client queries, through this I can easily assign tasks to my team. I use goplan for project management and Google Apps for my team intranet.

 

I find the 3 systems are more then adequate for collaboration - for chat I use skype :-)

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Guest TerryGreen

We use Basecamp and Skype to keep in touch. We also have Campfire, but haven't started using it yet ... mainly because I don't know how yet :). We would eventually like to have our team members using Campfire so we can keep a history of everything.

 

Each of my team members have their own projects in Basecamp so my project manager and I can post private messages to them, but there is also a team project that everyone is included in so we can communicate easily if we want to address everyone at once. Some of my VAs have Skype (come to think of it, all but one of them do), and we use it when we have a quick question or need to figure something out. I think this method works quite well, because no matter whether we use Basecamp or Skype, everything is documented so we can always go back and see what was discussed.

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I use Skype, Email and Basecamp.

 

I use Basecamp to put the projects and assign the tasks to the various people.

 

I use Skype for a quick check in, question or to confirm they can accept the project.

 

Email I use when I need to forward info from a client to a VA.

 

I'm loving BaseCamp. I don't actually use it with my clients yet and not sure if I am going to. I use it to manage projects and my team. It helps me to stay on top of things and keep track of all the millions of little things I have to remember to do for various clients.

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