In business, knowing how to best communicate with people will make or break a relationship. This is true when working with Filipinos. I’ve learned a few ways to help you and your Online Filipino Specialist stay on the same page and develop a trusting, successful partnership.
By nature, Filipinos love to please and get your approval. By communicating with them often, you can give them that reassurance. It validates the work that they’ve been doing. Through your training, teaching and constructive feedback, you let your OFS know how they can improve and what they’re doing well. Your OFS will appreciate this and thrive off of it.
A simple “thank you” is always appreciated. This will validate their work and motivate them. It will help them feel valued and important.
If you fail to communicate with your OFS, their work will slow down and their performance will suffer. Why? Because if you don’t bother to talk to your OFS or send emails. It sends a message that you simply don’t care about what they’re doing. Lack of communication tells your OFS that they’re not important. Their desire to fulfill assignments will diminish, and eventually, you’ll lose them.
Don’t be that boss that forgets about employees. Make communication a top priority. Let me outline some of the ways you can do this.
We’ve covered this in other sections, but it is so important we just had to add it again here. That’s because the daily email is the very best way to maintain good communication with your OFS.
Make the daily email a requirement for your OFS. It’s a non-negotiable task they should perform every single work day.
It’s your OFS’s chance to ask questions and to share frustrations, confusion and achievements. You can then respond to the email and address anything they brought up in the email.
Not only does it make your OFS accountable, it keeps you informed on what they’re up to. It provides the contact your OFS needs and wants. Anything can be expressed in the daily email.
Feel free to send additional emails to your OFS as needed, and invite them to do the same. Email is probably the fastest and easiest way to communicate back and forth. Respond to their emails as soon as you can. Don’t let them sit in your inbox and ignore them. This will destroy trust. You expect your OFS to answer your emails, so do the same for them.
Use a project management system
You might already be using a project management system to help keep track of your OFS’s assignments, deadlines, milestones and other project essentials. A project management system can also be a great communication tool, since most of them come built in with messaging features.
There are a number of project management systems out there, but I like Basecamp. It’s simple and thorough, and it works well with my Filipino OFSs. It’s easy to send messages through Basecamp and give your OFS directions and feedback. In turn, they can respond with questions and answers.
Chat and Video Call
Video calls can be a wonderful way for you and your OFS to get to know each other. It gives both of you a chance to see each other. It helps your OFS realize you’re not some faceless figure from far away. From there, you slowly develop some sense of comfort and trust.
If both you and your OFS prefer chat over video calls, Skype is still a great choice. You can also use Google Talk, Facebook Messenger, or even Whatsapp.
Pick up the phone
If you prefer, you can also call your OFS. This would be useful if you have urgent, time-sensitive information.
There are a few things to keep in mind when calling the Philippines. First is that your OFS is many hours ahead of you. If you’re in Los Angeles, for example, and your worker is in Manila, there’s a 15-hour time difference. That’s significant. Be aware of that when calling so that you’re not trying to reach them in the middle of their night.
Second, calling the Philippines is expensive. It’s best to call using Skype. Otherwise, the call could cost between $0.02 to $1 per minute, depending on your provider.
Ask them if it costs them money to receive a phone call. Depending on the provider, your OFS may also be charged about $0.14 for receiving your call. Some phone companies offer it for free. So make sure you check that out.
Even if you and your OFS don’t plan on chatting much on the phone, it’s good to have their number in case you need to reach them in an emergency.
Nothing beats Jing
If you’re not familiar with Snagit, got to get to know this screen capture and screen recording application. It’ll be the most valuable tool in working with your OFS. I use it all of the time, and I absolutely love it. It makes giving feedback and instruction so easy. Oh, and it’s free!
I use Snagit to record audio and video and to send screenshots. Taking screenshots and recordings is so much easier than thinking out how to write it in an email. With a video, I can just show my OFS exactly what they need to do.
Ask a lot of questions
When it comes to communicating with your OFS, the more you ask the better. The more you ask, the more you know. The more you know, the easier it will be for you to manage them and ask the right kind of questions in the future. Here are a few I like to ask:
- Do you know how to do this? Your OFS might know what it is you want them to do, but do they know how to accomplish that task according to your standards? Asking them this simple question helps you know what training and guidance they need.
- Do you enjoy your job? This is a straightforward question, but it’s one you should often ask, especially if you see productivity or quality slipping. Your OFS’s answer may determine what type of work you give them and what adjustments you need to make. It also gives your OFS a chance to tell you what more you can do for them.
- What do you think about this strategy? This is a question you might consider asking more experienced OFSs. When you ask questions like this, your OFS will feel more part of the decision-making process. Be prepared to listen to their answers. And if they have good ideas, consider implementing them. You are the expert of your business, but you may be surprised with the insights your OFS can provide.
Don’t forget the feedback
Every time I ask my VA’s what I do well, they always say that I give great feedback. They love that I use Snagit and send them video feedback and video instructions. The problem is I don’t give enough feedback.
Over the years I’ve realized how important feedback is to the Filipino culture. They want to know what they’re doing right. They want to be better at their jobs.
When they’ve done a good job, let them know about it. Go heavy on the compliments. Filipinos need praise. They need to feel like they’re doing things well.
Don’t be afraid to give negative feedback, but always start with the positive. Even if your OFS did something poorly, find something to compliment them on before pointing out what they did wrong.
Giving positive AND negative feedback has at least three benefits:
• It builds trust
• It builds a loyal, long-term, hard-working employee
• It builds your relationship
And when something goes wrong, take the blame first. Remember that you’re the one giving the directions. Instead of berating your OFS, say something like, “I know I probably didn’t explain this very well” or “We have a problem, and I know I probably messed up.” It shows that you want to work with them in improving the situation.
Conclusion: Effective communication goes a long way
You didn’t hire a perfect person. You didn’t hire a robot or a mind reader. You hired an online Filipino specialist. You can’t expect your OFS to be successful without communicating with them.
About John Jonas
John helps business owners learn to outsourcing to the Philippines and replace themselves with virtual assistants.
He founded and owns OnlineJobs.ph.
He currently employs 14 amazing Filipino workers full-time and loves every one of them. He lives in Utah, has a wonderful wife, 4 amazing kids, and golfs 4-5 times/week.
If you liked this you’ll probably also like reading
– How To Overcome The 9 Biggest Challenges With Filipino VA’s
– Four Pillars of Managing Filipino Virtual Assistants