A Quick Guide for Effectively Gathering Preferences
When you start supporting someone for the first time, one of the main initial tasks will be to collect all general preferences. The information you will need to collect depends on your role. I recommend referring to your job description as a guide, but here are some items that I used when I started out in a few of my past roles in case it's helpful to cut, paste and tailor this to fit your new role:
Any airline preferences?
Seat location on a plane?
Need trip packing assistance?
Any preferred hotels in certain cities?
Any hotel special requests? (ex: high floor, away from elevator, etc.)
Car service preferences?
Frequent flyer and other travel membership information?
Be sure to collect photos of their driver's license and their passport.
Buffer times needed?
Add placeholders for work, lunch or anything else?
Okay to accept all invites if there are no conflicts?
Who are the people they have the most meetings or calls with?
List of priority people for meetings or calls?
What is their conference line, web conference, cell number, office phone number and extension information?
Do they have more than one email address? If so, are there certain uses for each one?
What is their communication preference for non-urgent matters? What about for urgent matters?
Do they prefer updates as items are complete, or general end of day overviews (pending nothing is urgent)?
Do they prefer a particular task management tool?
How are their expenses managed?
Are there other people's expense reports to approve?
Be sure to collect pictures of the front and back of their credit cards to keep on file. Also, be sure to confirm billing addresses.
Do they have a list of preferred vendors and/or service people that they use for certain tasks?
Where can I find the contact information for these people?
Need any ongoing maintenance for his/her office? Ex: tidying up when they are out of town.
Anything to always keep in stock?
Any other needs?
Once you have gathered these preferences, I highly recommend entering them into your job manual. If you have not started a job manual, I recommend reading the article Creating a Job Manual. Not only does it help to be able to look up all details later on, but the act of writing each item up helps for remembering everything since it's a bit of a review. As time goes on, you will be making edits and additions to these preferences, so be sure to keep everything up to date.
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