In one interview I went on it was stressed that they were looking for someone who had excellent communication skills, a great telephone manner and someone who was easy to get along with. They were looking for someone who would help strengthen the relationship between them and their client and they were wise to know that the administrative assistant could be that go-between. They wanted someone who was going to be able to communicate effectively and in a friendly manner.
I am a people person so getting along with people has always been a strong point for me. I am interested in our clients and their assistants. I take the time to get to know them as we communicate back and forth either by phone, e-mail or in person.
In dealing with clients you need to be sensitive to their needs and be aware that sometimes people are under stress and you must treat them with professionalism and care. Of course confidentiality is a must. Your client must have the assurance that you will keep their business in the strictest confidence.
When you build up a relationship with clients, you can almost hear a sigh of relief when they have been unable to reach the boss, but have been able to reach the assistant. You need to give people assurance that their call is important to your company. Be helpful, friendly and cheerful and clients will be more than willing to press '0' to get the assistant.
As much as possible I include the client's assistant in e-mail correspondence with their boss. Except where confidentiality issues do not allow it, it is always smart to cc the assistant to keep them in the loop, and many times it will be the assistant who needs to know to make sure something will get done. Copying the assistant shows them you appreciate their role. You will find a great ally when you connect with your client's assistant.