At our last NAWBO meeting we spent quite a bit of time
discussing things in our business that seem to take away our time, and then we
talked about ways in which we could change these time-suckers so that we had
more time to do the things that are the most important.
One of the girls that sat beside me told us that she has a
client who will call and want to spend an hour on the phone a few times a week.
They also email constantly. The girl that told us about this issue said that
she has never set a limit on the phone call, but instead gets stuck either
answering questions that the client should have already figured out or read about on
his own, talking about things that are unimportant or listening as the client
rambles about things that he might want or might not want or may one day want,
but probably not.
This seemed to be an issue around the table, so I thought it
would be an interesting topic to post about. I’m sure that we have all had
clients in our time that like to spend a lot of time on the phone chatting
though we have a stack of papers on our desk that really need our immediate
attention. Or possibly your client emails day and night, and expects you to immediately return those emails. How do we handle these clients, letting them know that we do not have the time to spend constantly chatting without being rude?
Time is money. We know that, and you especially know this if
your time is limited, as is mine. As a work at home mother, I have precious few
hours to get the tasks done that have to be completed. The time I
do have is precious, and in it I need to get a lot done. If I
spend my time working on a project I am billing a client. If I spend time on
the phone, I am, well, losing that money, because rarely do I bill phone calls.
The other girl said the same, and people around the table mentioned that this could
be part of the problem.
Several ideas to stop these unnecessary contacts were
shared during our discussion that night, so I wanted to share them with you.
Begin billing for them. If someone knows that you charge X
amount per hour for your work and you begin tacking the time that you spend on
the phone onto their overall project bill you might find that these phone calls
Set a time to chat each week. For instance, say that each Monday from 10-10:20
you will talk on the phone about the project; otherwise, you must do the
communication over email. This way you can limit the time that you are talking
and you can get off of the phone when you have to. Emails are easy to keep short and to the point.