How to Set Communication Boundaries With Clients


Read the full episode transcript below:

00:28 David Blackmon: Hey everybody, welcome to another episode of WP The Podcast, I’m David Blackmon

00:35 Tim Strifler: And i’m Tim Streifler

00:38 David Blackmon: Today we’re going to talk about something that is super important not only in your personal life, but it’s very important in your business life as well. And that is setting boundaries. And specifically we’re going to talk about how to set communication boundaries with clients in 2022. When we’re recording this episode in may of 2022, you know there are a lot of ways where clients can get in touch with you, and trust me i’ve had them reach out to me on just about every way possible that we may discuss today. But setting those communication boundaries are really really important you know. Just because we have this cell phone and they have our cell phone number and stuff, doesn’t mean they should have the flexibility to text us at 10 pm at night when we’re with our families or off. So it’s going to be more important i think in this day and age than it ever was. When i was growing up when everybody had a brick-and-mortar business they were opened Monday through Friday, nine to five or whatever the hours were. People knew that they couldn’t get in touch with them beyond that. So it was kind of you didn’t have to set these communication boundaries back then today you really do need to do it and i’m going to let Tim start us off and then i’ll dive in and give my two cents as well.

02:01 Tim Strifler:  Yeah absolutely. So i think that the key here is to plan out how you want these boundaries to be ahead of time and then communicate it to your clients from the very beginning, and then ideally even have something in your contract that states how you work and how to get in touch with you and stuff like that. That way it’s in paper and again it’s something that they’re agreeing to along with the rest of the agreement so that they everything’s clear right? There’s no surprises right? They’re not going to be mad at you that you won’t text them back at 11 p.m at night. And so um again a lot of his preference for me my preference is that no one calls me right? Yeah well we can do phone appointments, but it has to be scheduled if you call me i will not answer. It it doesn’t matter if i’m you know free or not i’m not going to answer it. I hate answering that phone call out of the blue. Um so it’s like you want to talk about something awesome let’s schedule a call, let’s do a meeting and then, we’ll you know we’ll do zoom, we’ll do phone whatever. And so that’s the preferred way. So and then another thing is i don’t respond to emails after after 5 p.m. I just don’t. So that’s the main thing, and so making those things upfront your client that hey these are the hours that i work during the week, um and i’ll respond your emails during, then we can schedule a call to go over things you know and and just being upfront about it and so ..

03:29 David Blackmon: Yeah and one thing that i want to say you know with with setting these communication boundaries. Obviously if there’s emergencies that come up that’s a different you know. Make sure you set that those parameters in place too, doesn’t mean that you have to be texted in the middle of the night but you know if a client’s site goes down, you know and it’s urgent, and it’s their money maker and stuff or it’s a weekend. They need to have those ways to get in touch with you in those emergency situations too. So don’t you know be you know make sure you take care of setting those in place too not just cutting yourself off because i’m with Tim you know after five o’clock that’s it you know. I don’t want to really deal with clients it’s family time. And that’s me time or whatever. Whatever time it is and stuff. And um but make sure that you know, because sometimes emergencies come up and stuff and yeah just give them a be real clear with what’s okay and what’s not okay and stuff. And then you should be fine. It’s pretty simple pretty short episode I know. It seems crazy why do we even need to have an episode on this, but believe it or not, you really do you know because i didn’t set them in the beginning. I just was so happy to get clients and stuff i hadn’t i didn’t even think about setting communication boundaries and stuff. And i had them texting me and calling me at all hours of the night and guess what i was jumping you know. And i got to a point where i didn’t want to jump anymore. And i had and it’s harder to go on the back side and establish these things than it is in the beginning in the front side when you’re initially meeting with those clients and stuff. So trust me from experience it’s much harder than to try and re-establish them on the back side..

05:28 Tim Strifler: Yeah and it’s a hard thing because we want to please our clients. We want to make them happy,  we want to serve them well. But if you are doing things outside of your comfort zone talking on weekends and you know it’s stressing you out. Like you’re not going to be able to serve them or your other clients well and so by having your standard boundaries of communication you’re able to serve all your clients best that way, and you’re able to stay sane and have good mental health and everything. There’s a book, the last thing i want to say. Um a kid’s book. I don’t know if it’s just an America or global, but um it’s called “If you give a mouse a cookie” um and the premise is if you give a mouse a cookie they’re gonna ask for a glass of milk right? And so it’s like with clients you give a client five feet they’re gonna want 20 feet. And so it’s like you text them once you text them back once they’re going to just continue texting and so keep that in mind. It’s like they’ll respond to how you react so if you if they start texting a million questions and you’re answering those questions via text. Well then they’re going to continue texting you even if you’ve established boundaries and communication boundaries and stuff. So best advice is say “hey i got your got your message let’s schedule a call you know for for monday morning” or whatever. And i’ll be happy to walk you through all these things and just end it there and they’ll be happy because they’re heard but now they’re not going to keep texting you until the project is over so..

06:49 David Blackmon: All right, tomorrow we’ve got another great episode, the first person you should hire when growing your web design business. Until tomorrow we’ll see you then.

07:02  Tim Strifler: Take care bye-bye

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