Have you ever had one of those clingy clients that calls daily?
Do you save their number in your phone just so you can press “ignore” when you see them calling (for the third time in two days)?
If you haven’t, you’re lucky! (If you have, leave a comment on this post telling us about your clingy client experience!)
Clingy clients, as I call them, are a huge distraction. Not only are you taken away from your work by often needless interruptions, you also see your profits go down the tube as you waste precious design time on yet another phone call.
Furthermore, you start to dread your phone ringing because you know it’s them (and we already have enough freelancing fear when it comes to answering phones, don’t we?).
I’ve developed two strategies that work fantastically for reducing the number of surprise phone calls I get while keeping my clients up-to-date on their projects.
Pre-arrange phone calls
When I’m in creative-mode working on a project, I don’t answer the phone. (I don’t like talking on the phone anyway.)
I’m engrossed in the project, so an interruption like a phone call totally ruins my momentum.
I disclose this approach to all of my new clients so they don’t feel neglected, and most of my clients prefer email just like me.
However, sometimes I have to talk on the phone, especially if they’re ongoing clients with several projects in the works.
So I pre-arrange phone calls. My clients and I find a date and time that works well for both of us. This way, my clients know I’ll be available when they call, and they’ll know I have time to talk to them. In addition, I’m prepared for the call and can have their projects open and ready for discussion.
Example: In the month of December, I got 26 phone calls from one of my new clients. 26!!! That’s almost two per working day, excluding my known holiday vacation schedule. (How I managed not to fire her, I’m not sure…must’ve been holiday spirit.)
I suggested and implemented a weekly phone call with her.
Number of phone calls in January? Three.
Email Progress Updates
To keep clingy clients in the loop, I also email regular progress updates.
This helps reduce your clingy clients’ panic as they watch the deadline date approach.
They’re just a quick note to keep them updated on my progress and when to expect new proofs.
Hi Jane, I’m nearly finished with the brochure; you’ll receive a proof on Wednesday for your approval. I’d like to finalize the brochure design prior to creating the matching poster and magnet. My availability is as follows for a phone call to review:
Simple, quick, easy.
Now Jane knows when she’ll be getting a proof, so you won’t get a call asking about it, and you can pre-arrange your phone call at the same time.
Or, for those clingy clients who expect lightning-fast turnaround:
Mark, I received your email with the changes you requested. However, I’ve got an appointment this afternoon, so expect a new proof waiting for you in your inbox when you check it tomorrow morning. Thanks for your patience!
This prevents Mark from calling you to make sure you got his email…and from asking why you haven’t dropped everything to work on his revisions. (No joke, I’ve actually had a client ask if I do work for other clients.)
What’s your solution?
Have you ever had a clingy client?
Were you able to resolve the situation?
How did you improve your relationship and cut down on wasted “reassurance” time?
Leave a comment on this post and let’s talk!Written by April Greer April creates brilliant graphic and web design through her freelance design business: Greer Genius. She specializes in information presentation and engaging content with a splash of marketing prowess where needed. April is available for speaking engagements and mentorships - visit her website for her contact information.