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Constant Client Phone Calls

47 replies

Debbierocket123 · 12/04/2021 17:31

Hello Mumnetters!
I am a freelance graphic designer and having trouble dealing with a client. She calls me between 6-10 times a day to "check in" with me on her projects. Sometimes I answer but sometimes I am busy with another client or on another meeting/call. I have communicated to her that I want to offer the best possible service but am oftentimes not available for ad-hoc phone calls and if she would like to arrange a daily catch up call at a certain time that would be the best way for me to efficiently get her work done on time, while also giving her peace of mind that I am meeting her deadlines. However she still continues to call me up to 10 times a day and I am at a point where the phone calls arn't the best use of my time and I need to get some actual work done for her and my other clients. I have tried everything I can think of to get these calls to stop but she still persists. Does anyone have any advice on what I can do? Thanks in advance ;)

OP posts:

BullOx · 12/04/2021 17:35

Take the lead and book in a daily catchup with her?


October2020 · 12/04/2021 17:36

Is 'don't answer the phone' too simple an answer? Ring her once at a time that you want a catch up and ignore the phone the rest of the time?


Notoriouslynotnotious · 12/04/2021 17:37

Yep don’t answer. Decide on times in a day when her call will suit you. You call her. I had a boss who never ever answered the phone he called everyone back at a time that suited him. He was scrupulous about having people’s numbers in his phone and he could make 20 phones in one go and he only listened to voicemails if he didn’t know the number.


Debbierocket123 · 12/04/2021 17:37

Yes I have done that but she also calls me 2-3 times before the phone call to confirm we are still ok for the "catch up call" then continues to call me every hour for the rest of the I simply not answer?

OP posts:

ColourfulElmerElephant · 12/04/2021 17:38

Give her a set time to call each day and don’t answer the phone or respond to messages outside of it, and bill her for the additional time.


Notoriouslynotnotious · 12/04/2021 17:39

Seriously yes. She has no boundaries, you cannot change her so change your response to her. If you don’t ignore her or leave long gaps between calls it will be fine.


SoddingWeddings · 12/04/2021 17:42

How is she being charged?

Time to say that you'll have to charge her for your time on the phone every time she calls with a minimum fee of 30mins per phone call unless by prior arrangement.

Or block her number and all calls will you contacting her from now on.


CuriousaboutSamphire · 12/04/2021 17:42

Be blunt. "I cannot do the work you are paying for if I am on the phone to you. I also have other clients. Please, stop calling"

And then never work for her again.

I had one client like that. In the end I had to be quite rude to get him to stop. He now emails me with the work needed and never calls 😊

It's bloody hard walking that fine line between appeasing a client and being put upon!


VillanellesOrangeCoat · 12/04/2021 17:42

Definitely agree with @ColourfulElmerElephant
Bet the calls stop if you’re charging her.


katy1213 · 12/04/2021 17:43

Absolutely bill her for additional time; high maintenance comes at high cost.


Debbierocket123 · 12/04/2021 17:45

Thank you all so much for the feedback so far.

With regards to charging her - I have an app that we both agreed on working through and I "clock on" whenever I get a phone call or am working on actual design projects for her. So she gets billed every month based on my hourly rate that this app tracks. She is aware she is being charged for these calls but still persists.

OP posts:

SnarkyBag · 12/04/2021 17:45

Different job roles but when I had this with a particularly needed client I had to email and remind her that the package she had been quoted for had a specific number of hours attached to it and these frequent phones calls would be deducted from session time.

Can you suggest somehow that these phonecalls will reduce the time spent on the actual project in the future?


AmandaHoldensLips · 12/04/2021 17:45

I had a couple of clients like this. I described them as "busy-making". The way I handled them was by pre-empting them with a phone call slot. Usually start of each day, and end of each day.

Maddening, I know, (but I charged them higher rates).


Dixiechickonhols · 12/04/2021 17:46

Going forwards do you still want her as a client? How do you charge. If it’s a set price then for future jobs you’ll need to charge a lot more as she takes up so much time. You need to email her and be blunt. I’ve quoted x to deliver job by y date. I’m happy to have a daily call at 3pm with you but due to business demands I will not be available by phone at other times. Then if she calls ignore.


peak2021 · 12/04/2021 17:46

Either the billing option, or could you really manage without this client? Though if you say you will not continue with the work if this persists, then you must 100% go through with it.


Debbierocket123 · 12/04/2021 17:49

This client provides me with about a third of my overall income so it would be difficult to lose that but not unbearable. I am a natural introvert too so having this interuption has been very stressful from that point of view.

OP posts:

GreenFingersWouldBeHandy · 12/04/2021 17:54

Difficult one;. but you need to stop answering the phone other than at scheduled 'catch up' times. She sounds very unreasonable to speak to you at any time of the day; even a once-a-day catch-up sounds over the top to be honest (I work in a similar profession).

Just don't answer until the time of your scheduled call. Be very clear that you are busy, you don't want the quality of your work for her OR YOUR OTHER CLIENTS to drop as a result of constantly being on the phone to her. And tell her that you will have to start charging her for continually invading your time as if makes you over-run hours for both her and other clients.

Good luck; hope you find some better clients soon!


HarrietSchulenberg · 12/04/2021 18:01

Start showing a daily breakdown of the work you've done for her on her invoices. Itemising each one of her phone calls might make her realise she's paying you to take her calls.


Dancingsmile · 12/04/2021 18:18

Explain that you need to concentrate ,that her calls break that.
Say you will only answer a call from her at 3.00 to update her on the days work progress. Tell her you will not answer a call, email or text to her at any other time. You are not ignoring her but making sure you do the best possible job for her.
Then stick to it.


CarrieMoonbeams · 12/04/2021 18:33

Could you soften it with a bit of (fake) humour OP? Depends on how well you know her of course, but something like "Oh hi again Barbara! Yes things are still going well thanks, but of course I'd be 10 minutes further on if I hadn't stopped to answer the phone hahaha what are you like?!"

It sounds like you're going to have to sort this out one way or another soon OP, otherwise it really will start affecting the quality of your work as you'll be constantly on edge expecting the phone to ring.


wandawombat · 12/04/2021 18:39

I once had a solicitor send me an email saying "STOP BOTHERING ME ".

He knew me really well. Was effective.



Fourstonesmash · 12/04/2021 18:39

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Sunflowers095 · 12/04/2021 19:04

Give her slots during the day that she can call.

Or tell her you're changing your workflow and from now on inbetween planned calls/meetings communication is email only.


Merryoldgoat · 12/04/2021 19:19

I’d tell her I’m not taking calls before, say, 4pm and block her until then.


StCharlotte · 12/04/2021 20:32

If you can set a fixed time, could you end each call with "Okay, I'll speak to you at 4pm tomorrow then, bye!"

I might say "I'm changing my working pattern and will only be taking calls between x and y times [as I really need to keep my head down] . Drop me an email if you've any queries in the meantime but the phone will be off."

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