Dealing With Hurry Up and Wait Clients

We love clients. All our clients. They allow us to continue our dream, right? They allow us to provide for our family. But some clients are easier to work for than others. If you have a client that consistently drops last minute projects in your lap, and then takes forever to approve them, you may need a new method to handle them.

Proactively Check in With the Client

Sometimes clients are buried, and they don’t have time to follow up with you as they should. They know, for example, on Monday that they need to hire you for a project due Friday. But on Monday they are swamped. They wait until “they have more time,” which could be Wednesday or Thursday. But guess what? They still need their project back by Friday, except that they didn’t have time to tell you that, which means that by the time they get a hold of you, it will now become a rush project.

You can avoid this in part by proactively calling up or emailing your client. By reminding them that you are there for them, you will help them assign their projects a lot faster.

Create a Schedule for Your Client

Sometimes the problem with a hurry up and wait client is that they are disorganized. You can help prevent a last minute project dropped in your lap by creating an easy to follow schedule. A Word or Excel document that you create with the name of the project, date assigned, due date, and date of return can help you both prioritize.

Reiterate the Projects You Have

Some clients think every project is a last minute rush. This can be hard to handle if you’re unsure which projects take priority. Perhaps your client is forgetting which projects they’ve assigned you. Again, it can be a sign of disorganization or just someone who is overwhelmed. When you get assigned a new project, reiterate the other projects you are currently working on for your client. This can help you and the client prioritize so that you will have proper time to work on projects.

Following Up After

There is nothing worse than rushing a project, only to have the client take forever to approve it. This is really the frustrating part of the “hurry up and wait” situation. Now, sometimes a client needs to send on approvals to another department and it might take a while. There can always be a good reason for a delay, but if your client is consistently late in getting approval or getting back to you, then that’s a problem.

Be sure to allow a reasonable enough amount of time before you follow up, but make sure you do follow up.

You will have to manage the relationship of a Hurry Up and Wait Client. If you do, it can work out well for both you and the client. If you have some tips on how you manage clients like this, feel free to share them below.

Image: Morguefile

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