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The Dynamics of Working With a Non-Responsive Client

Bethaney Phillips - May 31, 2016 - 0 comments

In business, we know not to take things personally. Not us, as in Stand And Stretch or even marketing in general, but everyone in business. It’s simply part of working a job, and of the modern world.

Unfortunately, so is ignoring a correspondence. We get it, with email, text, social media, instant messages, voicemails, and so on, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with all of the ways people can get in touch with you. Sometimes you might not even receive a message, while others, it’s simply easier to not respond at all.

The History Behind Not Responding

Going back 100 years, people took communication seriously … I’m assuming. If you got a letter, you read it and you answered. If you got a phone call or telegram, it was polite to respond or answer necessary questions. Today, that just isn’t the case. We’re constantly spammed; it’s so easy to get ahold of people that folks go overboard. And in the process, it’s caused us to become numb to the entire process of communication.

Even in pop culture, characters taken different routes in dealing with the influx of notifications. Zack Morris outsourced his calls – to his brick phone – in Saved by the Bell. Elaine’s boyfriend lessened her efforts to reach him, known as “the downgrade” on Seinfeld. For instance, if she called him and left a message, he’d email back in response. And nowadays characters are going “off the grid” on purpose, just to get away from dings and rings for a short period of time.

Want Vs. Need

When someone doesn’t respond, it’s not personal. (At least not usually.) It’s not a slight, it’s the new norm – either a passive aggressive way of saying, “I’m busy right now,” or a complete oversight altogether.

But when you NEED a response, that balance of “will they answer or won’t they?” becomes far heavier of an issue. As marketing pros, we’re not out to scam you or waste your time; we need legitimate feedback to complete your project. The very project that is out to help your business grow.

Getting “Ghosted” in Action

After multiple attempts to reach out … and a nothing in response, we can’t help but wonder if it was something we said. Did we get lost in your inbox? Do you hate checking voicemails? Do you change what method you must be reached at any given time? What gives, client who we thought we make a good impression upon? And can you point us in the right direction? Even just a little? We can, of course, complete your project – in the same way that a builder could finish a house without the owner’s input. But that doesn’t mean they’d be happy with the finished product.

Just like the builder, we need you to come pick out the right faucets that fit your taste. The buttons that will best represent your look, the words that express all that you do. You’re the one that will be walking on those just-right floor patterns every day, after all.

Then, if there’s still no response, we’re left to decide between the lesser of two evils: making decisions that might not fly, or putting something on hold and delaying its finish. Do either of those outcomes sound ideal? Hello? Bueller? Are you still on the line? Did your email filter get stuck?


We’re here, waiting, whenever you’re ready … we think.


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