Trust as conceptThis is Day 21 in the 31 Days to Become a More Efficient Virtual Assistant Series

Previous post: Using Checklists to be Better Prepared

Technology can be such a great thing… when it works! If technology doesn’t work the way it’s supposed to you can have an incredibly frustrating time trying to explain what’s taking place when the person you’re communicating with isn’t standing next to you.  Sometimes the technology we frequently use isn’t the same as what someone else uses and the end result may vary. We see this happen all the time with Internet browsers where a website looks one way in Chrome and another way in Firefox or another browser.

Proactive testing can (and should) be done with website design, newsletters, product purchasing, etc. I encourage you to be as proactive as possible to help increase customer/user experience and to reduce complaints/support requests for your clients’ customers. (Make your clients shine!)

10 Tips for Proactive Testing and Troubleshooting

  1. Be sure to test all hyperlinks when working on web pages, blog posts, newsletters, etc.
  2. Find out (and remember) your client’s preferences for hyperlinks opening on page vs. opening in a new tab.
  3. Go through the entire purchase process when setting up product/service buttons and shopping carts (your clients can easily refund the purchase through Paypal, 1ShoppingCart, etc.)
  4. Send yourself a draft copy of newsletters, preview web pages and blog posts in “live” mode and check for consistent spacing, font size, font type, etc. Whenever possible review things in different browsers and email programs since HTML renders differently in different settings.
  5. If a web page or blog post starts to act strange be sure to refresh the page with CTRL+F5 (Windows) or Command+R (Mac). Clear your cache if refresh does not solve the problem.
  6. If you have to call in the big guns or explain a problem to a client be sure to include a screenshot or a screencast.  This is an example of “a picture is worth a thousand words.” Screenshots are easy to do by installing the Awesome Screenshot add-on/extension for Firefox, Safari or Chrome.  Screencasts are incredibly easy with Screenr Business (Screenr will have its own post later in this series).
  7. Make things easy. Include the URL of the web page or blog post you’re having a problem with. Not only does this make things easier for your client but it also means you’re both looking at the exact same page (instead of guessing).
  8. File attachments and email do not always play nice and email servers often intercept attachments. Be proactive and alert your client when you’ve sent a file attachment (especially when it’s a large file size).  Consider sending large files through TransferBigFiles or with a Dropbox link.
  9. Increase email deliverability by whitelisting your clients’ email addresses and frequently check your junk/spam email folder for any emails which may have been intercepted by spam filters. (Gmail is particularly aggressive)
  10. Have a pop-up window on a website and you can’t see the “submit” button? You can shrink (zoom out) the web page easily while scrolling on your mouse button and holding down the CTRL (Windows) or Command (Mac) buttons at the same time in Firefox. The same Windows shortcut works in Chrome. (I have yet to figure it out on Mac.)

By proactively testing and reviewing our own work we increase the trust our clients have in us. It’s the attention to the “little details” which will have a positive effect on the quality of our work. High quality work will lead to more word-of-mouth referrals. And word-of-mouth referrals, my virtual assistant friends, are what lead to a profitable and sustainable business.