VA Chronicles: Managing Mistakes and Handling Conflicts

We all have committed work mishaps at some point in our career. It’s one of those things that makes us learn the most memorable lessons in the workplace. Mistakes and conflicts force us to eat huge portions of humble pie to rectify the mess we made. On a positive note, it makes us better team players as we learn to pay more attention to our superiors and teammates. It also molds our character in more ways than one. Let’s face it, it’s not easy to admit that we’re wrong and it’s not enjoyable to redo the work we thought we did right. Then again, that’s all part of the job. No one is exempted from slip-ups and every day presents a new set of challenges.

In our previous post, we gave you a peek into the life of Pepper’s virtual assistants. Today, we’ll look at some of their experiences in managing their mistakes and dealing with client conflicts. We’ll break them down into tips and quips to give you some insights on how you can handle similar circumstances, too.

Understand the problem. One of our VAs shared that she took time to understand what’s upsetting the client. Instead of retaliating and being on attack mode, she addressed the issue immediately, responded on time, and corresponded in a respectful manner. You have to learn how to separate the issue from the person because oftentimes it’s not the client that’s the problem but the situation.

Apologize sincerely. Apologizing is one of the ways of acknowledging the mistake you made and also recognizing the emotions of your client. Our VA told us that when she made a mistake she was quick to apologize and gave a thorough explanation of what happened. She didn’t make an excuse but instead she was objective about what transpired and was sincere in her apology and correspondence.

Be prepared to show supporting documents. There are times when clients unintentionally accuse you of doing something you didn’t do. One senior VA shared that her client claimed that they made changes in his blog. She talked to her VA, gathered as much information about the matter, and explained what happened to the client backed by screenshots, communication threads, and other evidence. She explained what happened respectfully, apologized for the inconvenience, and clarified the issue. She didn’t point out the client’s fault but instead allowed him to realize his own mistake, which he admitted to eventually.

Ask for specific details. Sometimes you’ll encounter demanding clients and they’re pretty difficult to handle. One of our VAs shared that she asked for specific details such as deadlines and client expectations to help her handle his demands. Another VA said that she asked the client to be specific on which ones are the priority tasks so she can better manage her time and delegate to other VAs so she can focus on those urgent tasks.

Familiarize the client with your work process. Your clients will appreciate it if you explain to them the tools you use, the time you allot for specific jobs, and other work process you employ. One VA shared to us that explaining her work process to the client allowed them to establish a middle ground that enabled her to meet her client’s needs without compromising the quality of her output.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions. A lot mistakes could’ve been prevented if you had only asked questions. One of our senior VAs said that it’s important that before they begin a project they ask all the questions and clarify vague instructions. She said that even if they’re already working on the project and something is unclear, it’s okay to pause and inquire instead of proceeding with something they’re unsure of. It’s better to ask questions than being the one questioned.

At the end of the day, effective communication is what resolves mistakes and conflicts. By being honest and open with your client, you can prevent unnecessary mishaps from happening. There will always be instances when things can be a bit confusing or tasks can be pretty overwhelming. By communicating these things to your client, he or she can help you sort things out and even suggest ways on how to do the task faster and easier. This kind of regular and proactive exchange fosters good collaboration, leading to a long-term working relationship and strong business partnership.

In case you missed our previous posts on VA Chronicles, you can check them out here:

Part 1: An Inside Look at Virtual Assistance

Part 2: Managing Mistakes and Handling Conflicts

Part 3: Do You Have What it Takes to be a Virtual Assistant?

About Pepper Virtual Assistants

Pepper Virtual Assistant Services is a business solutions firm that specializes on administrative assistance, customer support, CRM, copywriting, and personal virtual assistance. We take pride in our reliable service and responsive client handling which embodies our team’s optimal performance.




  1. Mac

    Thanks for the nice information.This post contained an essential tips I think this tips will help others to reduce conflict among each other.

    • Pepper

      You’re welcome, Mac! Thanks for dropping by!

  2. Jenelle B. Cuison

    This article is very insightful. I found it very helpful most especially in starting a career as a virtual assistant. As we all say we are human and sometimes we really make mistakes. This article showed me how to handle mistakes professionally. I really liked that it says to own up to your mistakes,apologize sincerely and make an effort to correct what have you done and not be on defensive mode.

  3. John Mark T. Salas

    This article is amazing. As a fresh graduate and don’t have much work experience and do not know how to handle mistakes and conflicts this article well help and will orient us to manage mistakes and handling conflicts. In terms to the construction of sentences the combination of words is perfect because the words were used is familiar or known even High-school or elementary students can easily understand what the writers want to express or say. there’s no grammatical error in this article therefor the grammar is perfect. I love this Article because everything is well explained.

  4. Suede

    throughout my 4 years in studying psychology, i could really say that this article has brought more lessons to me. it’s not enough to only learn these things in a classroom setting, it is better to experience it first hand so that you will be able to reflect on it more and to have a sense of what to do when you are faced with this particular dilemma.

  5. Anthony

    To add up, one way to manage mistakes and handle conflicts is to listen. Hearing one’s side will lessen the tension and get clarification based on issues that arouse. Hence, one can eradicate his or her assumptions based on what he or she hear from other people.

  6. Lenard Christian Apao

    Nicely put. It’s great when experiences of fellow virtual assistants help fellow VA as well. This article provides an insight to challenges of a VA and how to overcome them. Thanks for this article, I’ll be sure to share it!



  1. VA Chronicles: Do You Have What it Takes to be a VA? | Pepper Virtual Assistants - […] Over the past weeks we’ve looked at the lessons our VAs learned from their clients and how they handled…
  2. VA Chronicles: An Inside Look at Virtual Assistance | Pepper Virtual Assistants - […] Part 2: Managing Mistakes and Handling Conflicts […]

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Share This