I give my cell phone number out to clients, since I’m often traveling and not in the office every day. One of our biggest clients thinks nothing of calling at 9 p.m. on a Friday night or 8 a.m. on a Sunday morning to discuss her project. If I don’t answer or call back within fifteen minutes, she just keeps calling. How can I get her to stop calling during my personal time?
A.By telling her when you are and are not available to discuss business. If you’ve been vague about your availability, it’s no surprise that your client doesn’t understand. But you have to start by clarifying it for yourself. For many professionals, going “off duty” is difficult in any case, and constant access to instant mobile communication can make it even more so. You need to establish what your working hours are and communicate them clearly to your client. Then you must reinforce your new boundaries – with her and more importantly with yourself – by only taking or returning calls during those times. Also, remember that many clients don’t understand that phone calls are often billable. If that’s the case here, be sure to clarify it with her so there won’t be problems down the line.