How to Manage a Client of Few Words

Living in the digital age, we have access to technology at all times. Cell phone, laptop, tablet, Amazon Alexa… the list continues. It’s sometimes hard to understand with such accessibility to all of these devices, why you’d still experience a lag in communications from a client regardless of how clearly you communicate timelines and key dates.

As an Account Executive, a majority of our day is spent digging out of our inbox. We rely heavily on email communication for quick responses on creative approvals, feedback, deadlines, guidance on next steps…you name it. And while any good manager would encourage you to simply pick up the phone, the reality of the environment with work-from-home situations has changed those behaviors as we learn to respect everyone’s work/life balance. While it can be frustrating at times waiting for a response, here are a few quick tips on how to navigate the waters a little easier:

  • Don’t: email them every day asking why they have not responded to your last email. This may come as a surprise but clients are busy too. It may seem like they aren’t being responsive but you don’t know all the different directions they are being pulled by their team. It’s very easy for emails to get lost in the sea of inbox messages.
  • Do: be proactive and follow up within a reasonable time for a friendly check-in. This could vary based on the project at hand. If the project has a deadline of a month from now, give them time to digest what you sent and follow-up within a week or two. If the project has a priority deadline, then follow-up within a couple days.
  • Don’t: be rude. Hasn’t your mama told you to treat people how you want to be treated in return? While it is frustrating at times, always be professional. Always. This is non-negotiable.
  • Do: give your client tangible next steps or a clear call to action. Urge your client to “confirm receipt” of the email so you know they have received it and are working on next steps. Disclaimer: they may not always confirm receipt … but it’s worth a try!
  • Don’t: pause work on a project if the client has not immediately responded to your initial email. That’s just a little dramatic. Give them the proper time to actually open your email.
  • Do: work with your client. Learn how they prefer to communicate and operate in the most productive ways. If a client rarely responds to emails but is happy to jump on a video or phone call, then schedule weekly check-in’s and keep the emails to a minimum.

There’s numerous reasons why a client is delayed in getting back to your email: crazy work week, family emergency or even still acclimating to the unpredictability of work-from-home life. Whatever it may be, always be respectful and professional but not afraid to follow-up. More often than not, clients appreciate a friendly reminder!