Why I Only Communicate With Clients Through E-mail (And Why You Should, Too)
I believe that good communication with clients is a key part of any project. With that said, I do not communicate with clients by phone or through meetups any more. This may seem idiosyncratic at first. After all, responding to the client’s questions in real time can help you complete a project faster and give clients a sense of communicating with a real person rather than a covetous business. However, I’ve always found the pros to outweigh the cons when it comes to in-person and by-phone communication. What do I mean by this? Well, continue reading to find out.
Clients Can Become Too Personal
What starts as a healthy business relationship can often devolve into what a client believes to be a budding friendship. For example, I once had a client for my discontinued Web Design service who became too personal about the project. I gave her my phone number and email to contact me about any changes she wanted to make to her website. Now, she initially did contact me by phone (and only by phone) to ask about changing details of her website, but this didn’t last long. One day, I received several urgent text messages and missed calls on my phone from this client asking me to call them. Unfortunately, what I thought was an urgent request was actually, “So, what movies do you like? I like romantic comedies”! As you can see, this was no longer a business relationship, this was a budding friendship. The problem with this is now you have someone calling you and asking about personal details rather than the project. Once they believe you are friends, they may even ask for a discount on your services or become aggravated if you do not reciprocate their friendly advances. This can strain the business relationship you had been building with them and eventually lead to a dissatisfied client with feelings of animosity toward you.
Meetups Can Become Time-Consuming
This is why I typically reserve meetups for either extremely large projects and my Internet Marketing service, as these are 2 situations where I feel that it is necessary. A meetup for a small $10 an hour project that will probably only take a couple of hours to complete just wouldn’t be worth the time (as I have many other projects to work on) or money (gas money, lost opportunities, etcetera).
Emails Are More Organised
I find it easier to respond by e-mail considering I can easily view a client’s messages and respond to my priority clients first while sending a new client my contracts, price quotes, and links to my website for relevant information without dealing with pressing tiny virtual buttons on a smudgy little screen. With phone calls, I usually find that clients would begin facetiously calling my phone for every little detail, or they would become disgruntled if I didn’t return their calls within 30 minutes (because I was busy with their project). Text messages can also become a nuisance. Not only are they usually illegible (i.e “wen ken wii complet dis projekt? I donut wan 2 w8 long”, is usually too annoying to decipher.), but they also come in bulk numbers that I cannot keep up with (unlike emails where I find my clients care about what they type).
So there you have it. These are the 3 reasons I communicate exclusively through email. While communicating exclusively through email has worked for me, it may not work that well for you, especially if you prefer becoming your client’s friend or you believe it helps your projects.