In business, one of the biggest time-drains is an unresponsive client. Imagine you and your client are completing tasks on time and making awesome progress towards delivery, and one day the client goes dark. With no explanation, your client just stops responding. Now, what do you do?
It is quite frustrating – especially in freelancing, when you are about to miss a payment or deadline because your client is not responding to your text, emails, or calls. The best way to deal with a client not responding is to outline better communication expectations before starting a project. If that fails, here are our top eight ways to deal with an unresponsive client.
What Causes Unresponsiveness?
An unresponsive client creates frustration and harms your future revenue. To deal with an unresponsive client, it’s essential to know what caused the unresponsiveness. Like all other business transactions, the answer to this question is not that simple. But we are not that clueless; here are some of the biggest reasons why clients go dark:
They are Busy
Time is money and your client’s time is invaluable. That’s why they hire PR consultancies and lobbyists to do their work. You should create a better relationship with your client and manage their time effectively.
To do that, it’s important to schedule regular conference calls and meetings in which you can go through the required materials and have their undivided attention. Please don’t waste your and your client’s time by chasing them constantly by email. Regular calls and scheduled meetings are far more effective ways of keeping track of your clients.
They are Irritated
Instead of working on the project, most agencies try to generate activity to show value to their clients. They text or email their client all the time. If your client is busy and you send data that is not relevant to them, you will surely irritate them. An irritated client is an unresponsive client. If you disturb your clients all the time, they will avoid you and wonder what they are paying you for.
Their Inbox is Overflowing
If someone is important enough to be assigned as a contact person for a project, they are probably holding a similar role for other projects within their business. Therefore, it is a possibility that if your client received a lot of mail, they might miss yours if it is mixed in with all the rest. Remember that, as long as you are sending a precise and important email, there is no harm in sending follow-up emails to ask for confirmation.
They Have Moved On
Sometimes a client stops responding to your emails because they have moved on. Whether they don’t need your services or have found a better solution to their problem – they don’t feel the need to respond to you anymore. Read on to see how to have great communication that keeps clients coming back!
Deal With a Client Not Responding
Now that you know what causes an unresponsive client, it’s time to learn how to deal with a client not responding. There are several steps you can take to secure your payments or deadlines, including:
Create a Clear Communication Plan from the Beginning
To avoid unresponsive clients, it’s essential to create a clear communication plan from the beginning. To do that, it’s best to start with the right communication tools, such as Checc or Slack; Checc is a great option because it’s both client-focused, and project-focused and has built-in ways to communicate the key parts of every project. Remember, it’s always a good idea to also get the client’s phone number and email in case the client stops responding on the primary communication channel.
In business, backup plans are quite important. Therefore, you must have a backup communication platform before starting a project. You must confirm with your clients the best possible way to move forward in case you don’t hear from them in a certain time. It is useful to know someone else on the team that you can contact.
The deadline is Here!
Don’t panic and confuse your clients. If you want the client’s feedback on multiple tasks, try to prioritize the deadlines. Clarify which tasks are more important than others. This step is important because if your client is going to forget to respond, it better be for a less important task.
In addition, if your client is not responding, don’t use calendar dates and present your deadlines using a number of days. For instance, avoid saying, “can you answer by Monday, May 12?” rephrase your request as “four days after you provide feedback on Y, we can deliver Z.”
By clarifying your deadlines, your clients will picture the project as a whole. This will show that you want them to respond as soon as possible; otherwise, the whole project will miss the deadline.
On average, more than seven business calls are necessary to secure a deal. So, if you’ve just sent one email and didn’t get a response, don’t be discouraged. If your client is not responding, you have to be persistent. To get a reply from your client, you can try:
Express Concern: you should ask your client if everything is okay because you are worried about their unresponsive behavior.
Set a Concrete Deadline: most people don’t take a task seriously until a deadline is emerging. If that’s the case with your client, try saying, “please let us know by Monday at noon.” This will give them the push that they need.
Ask Y&N Questions: building a relationship with your client is essential and generally done by asking yes or no questions. These open-ended questions can help you understand where your client stands.
Send Calendar Invite
For companies B2B and SaaS that sell expensive tech, this strategy is quite effective. Applying this strategy in your business life is quite simple; once you have established a promising relationship with your client, send them a calendar invite including a short message, such as, “we have scheduled a meeting on this date. Please let us know if this date works for you.”
For some reason, if your client goes dark, a calendar invite may get your project back on track. Your client may be busy or missed your text and emails. If you remind them about the scheduled meeting, they might acknowledge your email and contact you.
Use Scheduling Tools
Another way to get a response from your client is by using scheduling tools. There are several scheduling tools available out there, such as Checc, Setmore, and Doodle. The main benefit of using these tools is to maintain regular contact with your ideal clients. Sometimes, you forget to give your client a call or send them an important email. Remember that you send your clients toward your competitors every time you make a mistake in communication.
Scheduling tools are here to make your life easy and smooth. You can use these tools to send emails without even thinking about them. Plus, these tools make it easy to arrange scheduled calls and messages to your clients. Although scheduling tools are an additional function in your business, it ensures a more effective and smoother working experience.
Follow-up in a business is as important as the deadlines. You should never terminate a communication or meeting without setting a date for the next one. As we have discussed earlier, most of the time, a client forgets to respond or gets confused about the next steps. In that scenario, a scheduled follow-up is an amazing way to get your client accountable for the next steps.
Sometimes after a successful meeting or call, you feel on a high. During this feeling of success, you forget to secure the deal and lose a potential customer. Don’t underestimate how important following up is, even after positive outcomes!
Don’t Blame Yourself
While dealing with an unresponsive client, you must remember that it is not always you. Some clients are busy and don’t have enough time to reply to you. If suddenly the communication stops, don’t blame yourself. It is good for your business to review your past communications to see if there is a pattern. If you find a pattern, try to resolve it and improve your communication skills for the future.
In addition, you must remember that your client has a personal life as well as a professional life. It would be best for you to check on them regularly to build a better relationship, but don’t be saddened if you don’t always get a response when you want it.
In business, sometimes great pieces of work and ideas do not go anywhere. You must accept it and let your client go. If your customer is completely ignoring you, even though you have tried to contact them over multiple communication channels, then it’s time to move on.
If you get frustrated over one unresponsive client, you may lose other valuable customers. Remember that obsessing over a client is unproductive and irrational. You must invest your energy and time on more serious clients or elsewhere. We recommend setting a strict deadline in which you want a response, and when that deadline passes, let your unresponsive client go.
Suppose your client goes dark, don’t panic or blame yourself. There are several reasons why a customer ghosts you. Perhaps they have personal issues or are busy with other business initiatives. If this is the case, we recommend follow-up. Be persistent but don’t irritate your client. Most of the time, a client appreciates you investing your time to get back in touch with them.
Other than the follow-up, several external tools help you deal with an unresponsive client, such as calendar tools, scheduling tools, and internal communication tools. By using these tools, you can improve your relationship with your client and reduce unresponsiveness and frustration.