To phone, or not to phone: that is the question

Posted by on Mar 1, 2019 in Creative Process | 2 Comments

I get emails all the time that ask, “Hey, how much do you charge for a logo?” I say “let’s talk” and then I hear crickets.

I also get feedback from clients that read along the lines of “Hey, I like this, but can we rearrange the bottom section and then rotate the image a bit?” I’m left with many questions, like, what stuff at the bottom? Did they want me to rotate, left, right or upside down?

Situations like these led me to decide that when communicating with the client regarding budget, presentation, and feedback it is better to have a conversation on the phone or FaceTime. When asked why I tell the client the answer is easy: to save time.

Time is cash

Previous to making this change, I used to go round and round with clients over email because of the misunderstanding of direction and request. “No, I meant this. Oh… my bad, I thought you meant this.” All this adds up in time AND cash. It is so much easier to understand what the feedback is when you are on the phone. Then I can knock it out once instead of doing it 3 or 5 times the wrong way.

A five-minute call can save you so much time and cash! Think about it, you could knock it out with a 3-minute call or spend 15-minutes every time you write an email and still not get it right. It is actually less effort to talk than to write, and humans provide more information when talking then email.

Benefits of picking up the phone

I am aware that phone calls have gotten a bad reputation. Yes, they can take more time and focus away from your priorities. Some can also feel like a waste of time or an energy drainer that leaves you struggling to get everything else done the rest of the day, but if used to their full potential calls can be an asset.

Even when I am pretty sure about an email direction, I still call. Sometimes there is a quick brainstorm on how to solve the problem even better. A quick discussion can develop into a whole new solution rather than just handing back the project with what was requested.

Having a conversation is not only a way of coming up with better solutions it also helps build relationships. How? Well, it can be magical talking through a project with someone. The excitement and inspiration shared and built upon can be a game changer to the project – a once seeming dull assignment can become an inspiring piece to work on.

How do I make sure that my phone calls will be a success? I follow these simple steps:

  • Schedule calls and have a set agenda. This allows you to plan for the call and be focused when it does happen. Setting a start and end plus sticking to the agenda or topics of discussion will keep everyone focused and show respect for their time and yours.
  • A call should have a purpose and an end result. Send an email to follow up the call with what was discussed and next steps so everyone is clear on what the take away was.

I’d love to read about your opinion – do you pick up the phone?

2 Comments

  1. Scott Collins
    March 1, 2019

    Scott,

    I agree with you wholeheartedly. Much faster. When I want to slow things down a bit though, I’ll request the client handwrite their revisions and mail them to me. Once received, I’ll mail back my questions, usually something like, “What do you mean?” Then they’ll try to call, but I tell them – it must be mailed, no exceptions! Then they’ll call again and say we’re fired. But here’s the kicker, I tell them our contract explicitly states termination must be written on a Hooters cocktail napkin and mailed in a 11×17 pink envelop! They usually never call, email or write me again.

    Reply
    • admin
      March 28, 2019

      yes. yes… It is good to have a system in place and to stand by it. Sounds like the client did not read the small print. That is on them. You did the right thing. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

      Reply

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