4 ways to win back a distant client (without harassing them!)
In the dating world, ghosting sucks. But in the business world, ghosting can mean missed deadlines and poor customer relationship management.
Was it something I said?
There will always be clients who never call you back or reply to emails (even when your sales tools might tell you they’ve opened it).
Chances are your client clicked into your email, or saw the looming voicemail notification, but got busy and forgot to respond.
Fact is, your service is important to their business, but it’s likely that their other priorities got in the way. They have their own lives, jobs, worries – but it's up to you to bring them back on track to meet deadlines and get the job done.
So let's see how we can engage a ghosting client!
1. Remind them of their goal
Your client came to you for a reason, right?
They came to you for a service and you need to complete it. But the trouble is, you can’t do your job without their input. This is why customer communication is so important (cliche, but true).
So if they’re ignoring you, a key way to draw them back in is simply to remind them of their goal!
Whether it's to sound more authentic online or improve their SEO - pointing out their original intentions will give them a little nudge.
Leave them a voice message with a follow up email and really hone in on what they care about (even bold it if you have to!)
For example: Hey NAME, I know you were really keen to get your website up and running, and you mentioned your deadline was the end of the month. Please get back to me by DATE so we can achieve your goal!
2. Flick them a text
Texting clients is becoming the norm
It’s 2019, customer relationship management is changing. And in our creative industry, we’re at the forefront of casual customer communication. While it used to be considered informal to send a client a text, nowadays it’s pretty common.
If your client is a millennial, chances are they’re not used to speaking on the phone (in fact, many of us are afraid of answering an unknown number!) And when it comes to emails, they probably have a full inbox, so it’s easy for them to miss a message.
So, if you’re feeling ghosted, consider flicking your client a text. And remember, go easy on them – just like you, they’re busy.
3. Give them a deadline
A good way to avoid getting ghosted, is to implicitly take something off the table.
A daily must in our industry is always adding a deadline to your comms. This reminds your client that while getting back to you may not be at the top of their priority list – if they want you to do what they’re paying you for, they have to cooperate.
For example: Hey NAME, last time we spoke, we agreed to have this design element signed off by the end of this week. Please get back to me with your feedback by DATE, so we can reach this deadline.
If it gets to a point where you’ve been ghosted for a while and it's become an issue for your team, don’t be afraid to say something like: The start date will be pushed back if I don’t hear from you.
The bottom line is that in many industries, especially our creative one, collaboration is crucial.
Your client may not realise that they need to be more hands-on with the project, so remind them: If you don’t do your part, we can’t do ours.
4. Book some face time
Your client can’t ignore you when they’re in front of you – book a face-to-face!
And when we say ‘face time’ we don’t mean via your iPhone or Zoom, we mean catching up in-person...
Hosting an in-person meeting to kick-off the project, then having a few more throughout, is a valuable technique for customer relationship management.
With the rise of technology and remotely operated businesses, we often lose the human connection advantages that come with meeting in-person.
So if you’re feeling ghosted, we highly recommend reaching out to your client with an in-person customer communication approach. It may take a few friendly nudges, but once you’ve got them in front of you, they’ve got no choice but to focus entirely on the project at hand.
Don’t let your client ghost you like an awkward tinder date
Ghosting can happen in all areas of our lives, even in business
When it comes to customer relationship management, it can be just as confusing and disappointing as personal relationship management!
But the difference is – unlike your tinder date – your client might not be trying to ghost you out of disinterest! They may simply be busy, or there’s been miscommunication around what’s expected of them throughout your project.
The best you can do is try as many customer communication tactics as possible, so you can re-engage your client and remind them of why they hired you in the first place!
And if it gets to the point that nothing works, then perhaps it's time to let go?
In the end, if your client still wants your service, they’ll make time for you when they can (with your direction). If they don’t, we hope they’ll be professional enough to let you know – if not, you’ll have to make that decision for them!