12.05.12

ADVICE / 42

today’s question: “what is the best way to correspond with clients?”

KATIE’S ANSWER:
there is no right or wrong to this answer. it’s whatever you are the most comfortable with. i prefer email so i have everything in writing and can reference back if I need to. sometimes we meet in the beginning to introduce ourselves but most of the time we are in different zipcodes, states, even countries. since we are usually far away from each other i email them their contract, they sign and scan it back to me.

it can also depend on the client. in the past i’ve had them ask me to print out all the deliverables and we’d meet for every round. we would go over everything together and i was able to answer questions and explain my decisions as we went. it did take up a lot more time than i was used to, but the client wanted to work that way (don’t forget to include project management & those meetings in your fees!)

at the end of your projects i think it’s nice to send a hand written note saying what you enjoyed about working with them and you would like to offer your services for their next project. it’s true, everyone loves snail mail.

BRI’S ANSWER:
a lot of design clients want to talk on the phone or meet in person before the project starts, which i totally understand. they have a lot of ideas spinning around in their heads for months and they want to make sure you get their vision. i am always glad i met with them afterwards too…this time allows me to understand the clients style, the way the interact, and feel out how this whole project is going to go. (this is going to amazing!…or…this person is crazy, run!)

after the first initial meeting, i prefer to handle most things over email. i think it’s easier to make lists and to keep track of the process. and hopefully this doesn’t happen, but if things go sour, you at least have written records.

our schedules can be a little whack, so it can be difficult to plan a good time to talk on the phone every week. be warned: some people are old school and want to talk on the phone….a lot. you gotta watch that. if you go the phone route, keep it to the point. have a checklist of talking points that you need to go over and let them know ahead of time how much time you have for the call.

just be thorough in your emails, pay attention to your clients, check in frequently, don’t disappear and you will be all good! and client snail mail? well you know how i feel about THAT!

(illustration by katie evans. read more freelance advice posts are over here! have a question? leave it in the comment box for us.)

8 COMMENTS

Add your own

    Tiffany says:

    Thanks girls! It really does depend on the client, doesn’t it? For clients in another state or overseas we might skype for our first meeting then do everything else over the phone and via email. After phone convos though, I’ll still send an email recapping what we discussed to, like you Bri, cover myself if/when things go sour.

    Ps- Echosign is great for contracts.

    Anni says:

    I agree that you can get a much better feel for a person when you meet. I really prefer email, in-person, or Skype meetings. I’m not a phone person at all, so after the initial inquiry emails I always push for a Skype call (if the client’s far away/busy) or a casual chat over coffee.

    Kory Woodard says:

    Definitely have to agree that I prefer email. More often than not the clients I’ve worked with recently have been from the UK, and with incredibly busy schedules a Skype conversation doesn’t always happen.

    So glad you shared this!

    gloria waters says:

    thank you!!

    i have a question, maybe not so much about design, but about blogging…
    how do you manage a friend who would like or suggest you featuring their work on your blog, and you totally feel it doesn’t fit your style.
    thanks katie and bri!!

    anonymous says:

    Hi Bri and Katie: My question is a bit different than the ones you feature here, but I’m feeling at my wit’s end and need some help from the pros. Have you ever had a situation (probably not as a freelancer) where your client’s taste and your taste don’t mesh? What’s the best way for a client to communicate their vision to you? How do you find some common ground without making either party feel badly? Thanks in advance for any help!

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