Tag Archives: client relations

A Little Thank You Card Goes a Long Way

By Amanda Smyth Connorthank-you-and-Follow-up

The holidays are upon us again and I’ve only just recovered from last year. I’ll be taking a different approach to the holidays this year as I continue my journey toward ORGANIZATIONAL NIRVANA!

I’ve started my Christmas shopping early, I booked my travel back in August and we’ve already alerted the in-laws as to which days and times we will be visiting (from 3:00 to 3:04pm on Tuesday.)

What I absolutely cannot forget to do this year is to send thank you cards to all of the clients who hired me. Whether they were completely awesome and fed my positive energy or sucked out my will to live, they still hired me and paid me, and for that I am thankful.

For starters, I’ll be sending a card to each of my new clients that includes a personalized message. For my regular/favorite clients I try to send a little more, like cookies for the editorial team or coffee and bagels for the crew. It’s a nice little “thank you” that won’t cost you an arm and a leg and it keeps your name fresh in their minds.  Remember, it’s not bribery if they’ve already paid you.

What do you do to thank your clients?

Happy Almost Holidays.

Amanda Smyth Connor is a social media manager for a major publishing company, owns her own wedding planning business, and has managed online communities and content development for many start-up and Fortune 500 companies.  She has been a professional editor for more years than she can remember.

The Bait and Switch

By Amanda Smyth Connorbait and switch

I love writing about the subject of client relations because they are just so darn intricate. Balancing client relations takes a certain finesse…a cross between ballet and tap dancing with some jazz fingers thrown in for good measure.

This week, let’s discuss the “Bait and Switch.” Let’s say you meet with a new client. They seem fantastic! They are excited to hire you and to get the ball rolling on the project and everything is coming up roses! And then things turn a corner. This next part may happen suddenly or it may happen gradually but long story short,  you realize that your handsome Dr. Jekyll has become a hulking, demonic Mr. Hyde.

Ah, the old “bait and switch.” You did your due diligence on this client. You met with them, you interviewed them as thoroughly as they interviewed you, maybe they even came to you on recommendation. But all of a sudden you find yourself faced with a client who has unrealistic expectations, last minute requests that are just ridiculous or worse, they ask you to engage in bad practices (keyword stuffing, use of misspelled words in your content, fudging factual info about products…the list of possible bad scenarios goes on and on.) Continue reading The Bait and Switch

Taking Orders v. Taking Control

By Amanda Smyth Connor484010_business_man_modified

Don’t move past this blog post – it’s not quite what you think. I’m not going to lecture you on personal empowerment or taking a stand against taking orders. Heck, we’re in the business of taking professional orders. Who isn’t, really?

What I’m up on my soapbox about today is identifying the difference between when a client wants/needs you to take charge and make suggestions versus dealing with clients who know what they want and simply want you to deliver.

Identifying the two is not easy. You may find yourself in a meeting in which a client wants to be in charge and wants to make clear demands about what they expect, but it becomes evident that they don’t actually know what they want.

On the contrary, you may find yourself in a meeting with a client who says they are open to your suggestions and creativity, but upon closer inspection, you find that they already had a road map in their heads as to how they wanted this to go and no suggestion you offer seems to appeal to them.

The best approach to identifying a “take control situation” or a “take orders situation” is to come prepared for both. Do your homework before the meeting, as any good freelance writer should. Learn the client/product inside and out so that you can show up to said meeting with a list of ideas. Feel out your client and be prepared to present your ideas, but also be prepared for a situation in which your suggestions may not be encouraged. If you are working with an editor, reach out to your editor ahead of time to ask in-depth questions about your client. Are they looking to you to take a leadership role or to simply deliver on a specific list of demands?

The ideal situation, of course, is to find a client who offers that perfect middle ground whereupon your ideas are welcome and respected, yet your client brings great ideas and suggestions and is able to meet you halfway in planning the course of this writing project.

Client relations are such a tricky thing, but this specific area of professionalism is one of my favorite things in the world. You may have to stroke egos and you may find yourself doing some hand-holding, but when you have achieved a perfect balance with a client you’ll find yourself developing more long-term relationship with clients.

Amanda Smyth Connor is a community manager for a major publishing company, owns her own business, and has managed online communities and content development for many start-up and Fortune 500 companies. She has been a professional editor for more years than she can remember.