When this question hit my inbox, I paused for a moment. It’s a really good question and it surely happens to everyone at some point. Here I am having not really thought about it very much until this question came through.
There are a few scenarios here, considering things like retainer clients versus non-retainer, different types of services offered, and all the variables.
In the case of regular retainer clients who are paying monthly, if you haven’t heard from them within the month and they’re still paying you, definitely check in with them and see if things are okay. Something may have come up, they might have become ill, or could be dealing with an emergency that has taken them away from their business. Life happens, even if they have systems in place and other team members on board for when things do happen, it’s worth checking in just to say you hope things are okay and touch base.
For non-retainer situations, it’s a little bit different and you sort of have to follow your gut on whether or not to check in and when to do so. Projects come and go, sometimes clients hire a virtual assistant to help meet a short term goal and then they don’t need anything for awhile. If you hear from them every month consistently for a long time and then a month or two goes by when you don’t hear from them, I think the same applies, drop a note just to say you hope they’re doing well and ask if there’s anything you can help with.
I wanted some outside advice on this one, too, so I reached out to some smart friends to see what their thoughts were on the question….
Kelly McCausey of LovePeopleMakeMoney.com shared:
As a coach consultant I’ve had to overcome a personal tendency to feel like I’m bothering someone if I follow up too much. It’s probably common to feel that way, but clients have paid to be in a professional relationship with us so we’re never bothering them when we follow up.
Don’t make assumptions about their silence. You might get the idea they’ve gone quiet because they want to drop out of your working arrangement. Shoo that idea right away.
I love using the Voxer app on my smart phone to nudge clients about booking their coaching calls. I also like to simply check in with an idea or tip. I think it’d be wonderful if my VA did that with me.
Elizabeth Hughes Callison of EHC Business Services mentioned:
As a Virtual Assistant that provides bookkeeping services; I have a few clients that only contact me during tax season.
If the filing deadline is quickly approaching and I haven’t heard from them, I will first send a reminder email and then will follow-up with a phone call. This usually seems to work for these clients.
At the end of the day, it never hurts to reach out.
You’re building relationships in your business.
Even if the client doesn’t have any work to offer at the moment they receive your email, they’re going to appreciate that you asked how they were doing and checked in with them.
I’d love to get a discussion going on this topic.
Add your thoughts and client stories in the comment section below 🙂