In this article I am going to share some reasons why I have recently been trying to adapt my communication platforms my clients use to contact me. I have felt as though I have too many lines of communication available for clients to use to contact me, at times it becomes too much.
Cutting Some Lines Of Communication
Over the last 6 years of running my business I have amassed what seems to be an endless amounts of communication accounts and inboxes that I have become an absolute slave to:
- Mobile phone for calls, Facetime and text messages (work & personal)
- Home phone (personal)
- Facebook Profile & Facebook Messenger (personal)
- Facebook Business Page (work)
- Business website contact forms (work)
- WhatsApp (personal but often get work enquiries through)
- Skype (personal & work)
- Business e-mail (work)
- Personal e-mail (personal)
- Pro Tools Expert e-mail (work)
I have come to the conclusion that some of these lines of communications need to be severed or redirected in the hope that I will be left with one or two main platforms from where my communications can occur.
A big frustration I have had for years is fuelled by clients that contact me across multiple platforms. A common scenario is when I'm initially contacted through let's say my business email only for the client to follow up via Facebook which can lead to things being confirmed through WhatsApp or voicemail and in some extreme cases Facebook wall posts.
Being able to keep track of professional client dialogues across multiple platforms is a challenge. Not keeping on top of multi platform communications can easily pave the way for a professional mistake. Clients are usually the first in breaking out of one platform (e.g. email thread) jumping across to something else such as text messages.
For the last week I chose to have my Facebook account deactivated and my phone turned off leaving my two work email accounts available. I have just turned my phone on prior to writing this article to find several text messages and voicemails from clients. I've checked the time and dates of their text/voicemail messages against the emails I received from them only to find their emails were sent to me the next day as they clearly had no instant response from me via phone at the times in the evening they initially contacted me.
Same goes for Facebook. My gripe with Facebook is that it broadcasts online status' and last logged in times. This irritating Facebook feature gives the wrong impression to someone looking in on a self employed person. I am surprised at how many people believe I am available to talk or drop everything for their needs as they can see I am logged in Facebook and assume I'm doing nothing. I have learnt to ignore a lot of Facebook messages, however I have come undone in the past by doing so. Example, client - "I told you that, on Facebook." Me - "I didn't see that message, you should have emailed me."
For the foreseeable future I'm going to keep my Facebook deactivated and I am only going to turn my phone on if I have a scheduled call via email.
The Internet has made it so easy for us all to "reach out" and communicate at anytime we please. When you are running your own business having too many options available for clients to contact you can all be a bit of a nightmare.
I suppose what I'm trying to say here is by being too available to be contacted can effect how you can communicate effectively and professionally.