What to Do with Unresponsive Clients?

There's no freelancer that's immune to this unwanted scenario. How we handle this situation is what makes all the difference.
So, what are you supposed to do when your client suddenly stops responding to your messages?

One of The Best Solutions - Don't Jump To Conclusions

It's understandable to become frustrated in this kind of situation.
Especially if you did and submitted your work properly. You're waiting
for a client to review your work, so you can get paid.
For some unknown reason and without any explanation your client
doesn't reply. You're already thinking about the worst-case scenario,
aren't you?
This is exactly what happened to me on one of the projects before I joined goLance.
With every new message addressed to my unresponsive client my
impatience and frustration grew. My last message was something I'm not
proud of.
Now, you can imagine how I felt when I finally heard from this
client. It turned out he was in a hospital all the time. I was totally
embarrassed when he apologized first. I should have known better, and
yes, I should have been more patient.

Time Can Be Painfully Relative For Freelancers

All things come to freelancers who wait, but don't wait too long.
Now, we're getting to the bottom of our problem. Time passes differently
for clients and freelancers. That's a fact.
When you wait for your work to be reviewed and eventually get paid,
an hour can seem as long as a day. And a day can feel like the whole
week.
Here's the million-dollar question for every freelancer. What amount
of time can we consider and agree upon to be both reasonable and
acceptable? Should you wait a couple of days, weeks or the whole month
before you ask your unresponsive client, hey what's going on?
It's entirely up to you when and how you're going to react. Just
remember that's in your best interest to stick to a professional and
kind tone of your messages.

Save The Effort - Contact The Support

After you have sent a few messages without a response and you have
run out of patience, it's time to contact the support. Send a support
request and ask for assistance. Take screenshots of your messages and
don't forget to emphasize how long you've been waiting for your client's
response.
Don't even think about contacting your client outside the platform on
your own. That's your support team job. They have the means and the
full authorization to reach out to your client directly on your behalf
and ask for an explanation. Don't worry, you will eventually get paid,
sooner or later, this way or another. You just have to make sure you
have done everything by the book. Meaning, according to your freelance
platform's Terms and Conditions.

You Have Every Right To Turn A "Pause" Button Into The "Stop" Button

No matter how you felt about it, your client had every right to
disappear. There's nothing you can do about it. This doesn't mean that
you're absolutely helpless. If and when you eventually hear from your
client, it's your turn to exercise your freelance rights.
If your client's "disappearance" was justified and it's not very
likely that it will happen again, then you shouldn't end your
professional relationship.
Just to be fair, I want to share an example when a client rubbed me
the wrong way with his waiting game. Not only did I have to wait for my
client to get back from holiday, he didn't bother to notify me about,
but also he tried to teach me a lesson about the importance of patience.
So, I accepted that I should learn to be more patient, but I also
pointed out that my client should learn to be more professional. He made
me wait with no warning and without an apology. I politely declined his
offer to work on his next project. I considered us even.
What are your thoughts? How do you deal with the unresponsive clients? Where are the limits of your freelance patience?

Tags

More by nebojsa.todorovic

Topics of interest