Unresponsive Clients In Digital Agencies

We had a project manager on our team about a month ago that said, “Hey, I’ve been sending this client emails over and over and over again, and I’m getting frustrated because he’s not getting back to me, his project is getting off track, and it’s not working.”

And so I came back and I said, “Did you call him?”

“Well no, I didn’t call him, I sent him a ton of emails, I check in with him all the time on email.” the PM responded.

I said, “Well, maybe you should call him. Maybe instead of emailing all the time you should just give him a call, maybe he doesn’t do email.”

So she ended up giving him a call, and she went through the emails and he said, “Yeah, yeah, you know, I’m just very, very, busy and I just didn’t have time.”

Not “An Email Person” And That’s OK

He did have time, but he just wasn’t an email person, he was somebody in healthcare, and he was doing a fine job, but he needed phone support, not email. So that was about a month ago, and as soon as the calls started happening, twice a week, the project picked up. At that point, it was no problem, finished the project quickly, well, the client was super happy and asked for the next project. So that was number one.

Calls are critical!

Number two, same thing happened again with a different project manager today. So the project manager said, “Hey, I’m having this problem with this client. I sent them all of these emails, and I got on the phone today, and one of the clients there said that she hadn’t seen any of this, and she acted like she didn’t know what the hell was going on.”

I said, “Well, did you call her?”

The PM responded with, “No, I sent her a bunch of emails.”

I said, “Okay, there are two things that were going on in that meeting. One, the client was there with her boss, we’d just gotten done with Christmas, and he had, that project manager had sent all of those emails, but he hadn’t called her. And two, because she was there with her boss she didn’t want to look bad.”

It’s our job to make our clients look like ROCK STARS!

She didn’t read the emails, she didn’t pay attention. It was her fault, but it doesn’t matter, because it’s our job to make her look like a rock star. So what I told the project manager was

  1. Call her twice a week, every single week.
  2. Send her a checkin via email, and remind her in the phone call that you’re sending that email.
  3. Schedule a time, a five minute call, once a week or twice a week if you can, with that client.

It doesn’t matter if your client makes the meeting!

She’s not going to make it, she’s never going to show up for that meeting, but when it comes time to do this meeting again, and you can start off your project with, “Let’s go ahead and start off looking at Asana, alright, I assigned you this, this, this, this and this, you’ve got these emails, I did all of my calls, but you didn’t do any of yours,” you don’t have to say that to the client, they’re just at the top of the list in Asana, of her missed deadlines, of the client’s missed deadlines.

Then really, the conversation, that happened today, will never happen again. She will know, even if she’s in front of her boss she’s going to know it was her fault and so is her boss. She’s going to do what she’s supposed to do and look like a rock star because you’re helping her be accountable.

Obviously, you need to make sure you tell your client BEFORE THEY GET IN FRONT OF THEIR BOSS that you’re going to start off with looking at everyone’s deadlines and checkins, and send her a screenshot of what that’s going to look like. Remember, the client is a rock star and you’re going to be sure of it.

The Lesson is, It’s Your Fault If Your Client Isn’t Doing Things Correctly.

So anyway, that’s it. If a client is not doing the things they’re supposed to do, here’s the lesson, if the client’s not doing the things they’re supposed to do it’s your fault. It’s not their fault, unless they’re just completely ignoring phone calls, emails, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera, and you’re doing all this stuff and then they’re blaming you, and then you can say, “Hey, whatever.”

But, for the most, project managers, agency owners, they want to blame the client, it’s not the client’s fault. It’s your fault, so be on top of them, if a client is not responding to one thing, give them another way to communicate. So that’s it, that’s today’s lesson.

I hope this was helpful, and happy new year!