Clients keep asking for my number, how do I keep my business email or DM only?

76 replies
Hey Warriors,

I need some advice. I have been running my animation business for just under a year now. 90% of my clients come from instagram.

I deal with all most every client through dm or email. But sometimes clients will ask for my number. Im not to comfortable with the idea n also because it will take up a lot of time away from editing.

How do I keep my business email or DM only. Like most companies are. Now a days phone call Is usually the last resort.

My business is pretty straight forward to where I only need some info through email or messenger.

Or am I looking at this wrong n should I take phone calls..?
#business #clients #email #number
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  • Profile picture of the author DWolfe
    Here is what you can do. If you do not want to use your own phone number for privacy reasons. You can go to google and get google voice. Its free give them that number and when they call it goes to voice mail. You can call them back later. Just make sure you get a local number when you sign up for it. Here is the link to save you some time. https://voice.google.com/voicemail
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  • Profile picture of the author Princess Balestra
    tbh I got clients wanna lick my face.

    Point is, who calls the shots in any biz relationship?

    I seen people demandin' I Skype to order, stay close to my phone like a slave, an' be available on FaceBook Messenger 24/7.

    Nope. Saaaaaaaaary. That kinda schwango ain't gowin' noplace.

    Problem most clients got is they will eat away atchya time cos they figure jus' bcs they payin' they got access to yr SOUL.

    Gotta either DISABUSE these guys of their DELOOSIONS or be paralyzed as a comsummately spectacular creative force.
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  • Profile picture of the author ryanbiddulph
    Tell them Lewis; DM or email communication only.

    Just get clear on it buddy. I know you may be afraid to set the rules but we all need to lay 'em out as we become more busy in this online game. Be clear and polite and folks will understand. Anybody who does not understand is not an ideal client

    Ryan
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    • Profile picture of the author lewisjamespro
      thank you. much appreciated
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    • Profile picture of the author Ian Jackson
      Originally Posted by ryanbiddulph View Post

      Tell them Lewis; DM or email communication only.

      Just get clear on it buddy. I know you may be afraid to set the rules but we all need to lay 'em out as we become more busy in this online game. Be clear and polite and folks will understand. Anybody who does not understand is not an ideal client

      Ryan
      I agree

      To extend this point, and contexualize... the only (and traditionally accepted) way they can/should get access to you by phone/skype is by investing in *your* HIGH end 1-2-1 mentoriing program.
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    • Profile picture of the author XponentSYS
      Originally Posted by ryanbiddulph View Post

      Tell them Lewis; DM or email communication only.

      Just get clear on it buddy. I know you may be afraid to set the rules but we all need to lay 'em out as we become more busy in this online game. Be clear and polite and folks will understand. Anybody who does not understand is not an ideal client

      Ryan
      My clients can email and message all day long. I am a coach so if they CALL they PAY. They can call..... if I answer the phone it's $97. that seems to work.

      I have their CC on file. its part of the contract.
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  • Profile picture of the author chuckholmes
    One of the best ways to stand out in an online world IS to provide a phone number.

    I can't tell you how many people call me and say "you actually answered your phone." From the sounds of it, most online marketers don't provide their phone number. I have mine listed all over my websites.

    You don't have to be a slave to your phone. Set boundaries. Have office hours. Hire a virtual assistant to correspond to people.

    But, don't be surprised if you miss out on a lot of sales because of no phone interaction.

    Just my two cents.
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    • Profile picture of the author Anthony J Namata
      Originally Posted by chuckholmes View Post

      One of the best ways to stand out in an online world IS to provide a phone number.

      I can't tell you how many people call me and say "you actually answered your phone." From the sounds of it, most online marketers don't provide their phone number. I have mine listed all over my websites.

      You don't have to be a slave to your phone. Set boundaries. Have office hours. Hire a virtual assistant to correspond to people.

      But, don't be surprised if you miss out on a lot of sales because of no phone interaction.

      Just my two cents.
      I couldn't agree with you more. And what with the Smart Phone you can easily copy/paste links to information they can go read. It shortens call time tremendously. Being accessible gives you an edge on the marketplace. Definitley.
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  • Profile picture of the author Randall Magwood
    Originally Posted by lewisjamespro View Post

    I deal with all most every client through dm or email. But sometimes clients will ask for my number. Im not to comfortable with the idea n also because it will take up a lot of time away from editing.

    How do I keep my business email or DM only.
    Tell them that you only communicate via email or DM. And make sure that they know that the option to contact you via phone is non-existent. Let them know you dont communicate through phone. You gotta tell them. Just tell them.
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  • Profile picture of the author DIABL0
    Tell them your deaf.
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  • Profile picture of the author redone111
    Tell them Your respond to emails so fast then if you use phone thats why prefare email
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  • Profile picture of the author Rose Anderson
    I only work with email because I want to have everything in writing. With a phone call there's no way to prove what was said.

    I've never lost a client due to this policy.

    Rose
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    • Profile picture of the author Sid Hale
      Originally Posted by Rose Anderson View Post

      I only work with email because I want to have everything in writing. With a phone call there's no way to prove what was said.
      You can always follow that phone call up with an email to the client reiterating what was said/agreed on the phone call. A little more trouble Rose, but well worth the effort if it helps you clinch a new client who potentially brings your repeat business.

      Originally Posted by Rose Anderson View Post

      I've never lost a client due to this policy.
      That you know of???
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  • Profile picture of the author MikeFriedman
    Originally Posted by ryanbiddulph View Post

    Tell them Lewis; DM or email communication only.

    Just get clear on it buddy. I know you may be afraid to set the rules but we all need to lay 'em out as we become more busy in this online game. Be clear and polite and folks will understand. Anybody who does not understand is not an ideal client

    Ryan

    I think you got this wrong.

    Anyone who is not willing to communicate by phone is not a real business.

    Refusing to talk over the phone makes it seem like you are hiding something.

    Now you can set boundaries and rules for how much time you are willing to spend on the phone or when you can be available for the phone.

    If someone told me they only do business by email or DM, I wouldn't be doing business with them.
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    • Profile picture of the author Daniel Evans
      Originally Posted by MikeFriedman View Post

      I think you got this wrong.

      Anyone who is not willing to communicate by phone is not a real business.

      That's certainly not true and it's becoming less true by the day as the Internet evolves further.

      It's entirely subjective dependant upon the type and structure of the business and / or the products or services being sold.

      There are a gazillion businesses operating successully without offering telephone support and postal address (WHOIS) info.

      There are people selling 50 cent keyrings on multiple platforms in small quantities per order who wouldn't entertain the telephone. People on the other hand, who are selling expensive goods will go out of their way to provide and emphasize telephone availability. Some businesses demand it, since initial contact is near mandatory - true of labourers who might benefit from connecting personally before visiting a home.

      Pricing structures (particularly for online services) are reflective upon methods of contact and average length (and methods) of consultation.


      In some cases, businesses often finally begin when the telephone is withdrawn as an option.




      Daniel
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      • Profile picture of the author lewisjamespro
        ye I agree with this. The reason why Im questioning if I need a phone call because its a simple process. The business we run only needs for the client to send us an mp3 file n lyrics to the song. Theres nothing really technical about that so I personally don't feel we need a phone number
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        • Profile picture of the author MikeFriedman
          Originally Posted by lewisjamespro View Post

          ye I agree with this. The reason why Im questioning if I need a phone call because its a simple process. The business we run only needs for the client to send us an mp3 file n lyrics to the song. Theres nothing really technical about that so I personally don't feel we need a phone number
          If you feel you don't need a phone number, then whey did you start this thread stating that clients keep asking for your phone number?

          If it is costing you business, then it's up to you whether you want to rectify it or not.

          Having a phone doesn't mean you have to answer it all the time. It doesn't mean you must let clients suck up your time whenever they want to.

          Hell, I save a shitload of time by having a phone and scheduling calls with clients. We hash out in 10 minutes what would take 12 emails back and forth over 3 days to figure out.
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    • Profile picture of the author chuckholmes
      Originally Posted by MikeFriedman View Post

      I think you got this wrong.

      Anyone who is not willing to communicate by phone is not a real business.

      Refusing to talk over the phone makes it seem like you are hiding something.

      Now you can set boundaries and rules for how much time you are willing to spend on the phone or when you can be available for the phone.

      If someone told me they only do business by email or DM, I wouldn't be doing business with them.
      I agree. If a business tells me they don't have a phone number or won't talk by phone (if I want to call), I tell them peace out. Businesses still need to have a personal touch. Just my thoughts.
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    • Profile picture of the author LuiggiC
      Originally Posted by MikeFriedman View Post

      I think you got this wrong.

      Anyone who is not willing to communicate by phone is not a real business.

      Refusing to talk over the phone makes it seem like you are hiding something.

      Now you can set boundaries and rules for how much time you are willing to spend on the phone or when you can be available for the phone.

      If someone told me they only do business by email or DM, I wouldn't be doing business with them.
      This! At least here in Córdoba, Argentina with my local business it's like 90% of the "sales" are by phonecall.

      That said, is obviously that, for example, with an email you have "proofs".
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  • Profile picture of the author affmarketer101
    For design business, I think email and DM are the best because people are careful when type it. I know it's slow, but it will reduce number of revisions.
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  • Profile picture of the author Robinson Clay
    Just be upfront. Any client who values your time and the importance of policies such as these on the results that you produce will understand when you tell them that you can't be available to answer the phone 24/7 (or that you prefer not to be available at any time).
    Give it a shot. You will be surprised how many of them don't mind working on your terms.
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  • Profile picture of the author Sid Hale
    Originally Posted by lewisjamespro View Post

    I deal with all most every client through dm or email. But sometimes clients will ask for my number. Im not to comfortable with the idea n also because it will take up a lot of time away from editing.
    Why are you not comfortable? Are you scamming the buyer, or ducking support issues?

    Supplying a phone number might also get you a new client that you may not have gotten otherwise... or an "upsell" to a more profitable offering.

    Originally Posted by lewisjamespro View Post

    How do I keep my business email or DM only. Like most companies are. Now a days phone call Is usually the last resort.
    Most companies???

    Maybe you are referring to most affiliate websites that are selling only $7 ebooks for 100% commission via email. Simple downloadable products where the affiliate isn't even responsible for delivery of the product.

    You're right that phone contact between buyer/seller is less needed in many situations today - but do you really want to lose a client to your competition simply because they felt they needed to speak to a real person?
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  • Profile picture of the author Frank Donovan
    This isn't a one size fits all issue, IMO.

    Certainly most, if not all, businesses serving a local community would benefit from having a contactable phone number. So would a majority of service providers - especially when the service is of a technical nature. On the other hand, independent freelancers can usually get away with an email address although it certainly helps credibility to also have a postal address on your site (actually a requirement in many territories).

    Of course, once you get as large as eBay, it seems you can make your customers jump through any number of hoops before they give up trying to get hold of you by phone.
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  • Profile picture of the author BacklinkzTopper
    If you see from client's point of view they are not wrong actually. Sometimes phone no is required because they cant wait for your reply.
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  • Profile picture of the author Sarevok
    Just be totally honest and up front.

    Tell them that you're totally phone-phobic and instead rely on instant messages and email.

    If your end user still believes, and knows that you can deliver the goods, then there's a chance that they won't mind that much.

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  • Profile picture of the author salsym
    Originally Posted by lewisjamespro View Post

    Hey Warriors,

    I need some advice. I have been running my animation business for just under a year now. 90% of my clients come from instagram.

    I deal with all most every client through dm or email. But sometimes clients will ask for my number. Im not to comfortable with the idea n also because it will take up a lot of time away from editing.

    How do I keep my business email or DM only. Like most companies are. Now a days phone call Is usually the last resort.

    My business is pretty straight forward to where I only need some info through email or messenger.

    Or am I looking at this wrong n should I take phone calls..?
    Well, you define the business policies of your company. There is nothing wrong with politely convey the same to your clients.
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  • Profile picture of the author samsunite3
    I'll say that it's impolite to tell a customer that you don't want to talk to them. So you have two options:

    1. Make them understand that phone is inconvenient for you -- auto reply with "I'm working atm, I'll call you back soon", give a new number you actually got for this purpose, and have it go directly to voice mail, call them back during off-work hours.

    2. Learn to live with it. Charge more for this kind of service. Understand that it affects your schedule and your daily work. You can have these clients on a retainer -- charge them a monthly fee for being available on phone.

    Hope this helps
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  • Profile picture of the author brytespaklz
    IMO, most up-to-date(modern) businesses understand that the internet has become the preferred medium for doing business. Certain types of businesses however still require active contact via telephony. This is particularly true of consultancy businesses.

    Your type of business can get on well without a making a phone number available. It does seem that you are feeling guilty for not providing a phone number for your clients.
    I suggest you make your clients know that phone calls are only available as part of a consulting package and will attract an upfront fee.

    The prospect of paying a fee for information they can acquire for free via DM or email will definitely discourage most people.



    The few who are willing to pay the upfront fee will be worth your time.



    Goodluck.
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  • Profile picture of the author Corban Yang
    Well, if you do answer the e-mails or via DM quite quickly - that's cool, but I do understand how some of the people ask for a number because it is much more personal and reliant. Have you reconsidered it and weighted all the cons and pros? Also, you could just get another phone and ignore it or just turn off/fake number. Then just add "in case I am not answering, please e-mail or DM me".
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  • Profile picture of the author DABK
    Why not hire yourself a virtual assistant to take calls? The VA talks to them, finds out all that's bothering them, all they want, tells them you'll take care of ; then she/he/they type up what the client wants and you read it when you choose.



    You are losing some people because you do not use phone. You should test to see if what you lose is made up by the time you save, don't just assume you do.
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    • Profile picture of the author chuckholmes
      Originally Posted by DABK View Post

      Why not hire yourself a virtual assistant to take calls? The VA talks to them, finds out all that's bothering them, all they want, tells them you'll take care of ; then she/he/they type up what the client wants and you read it when you choose.



      You are losing some people because you do not use phone. You should test to see if what you lose is made up by the time you save, don't just assume you do.
      Great advice. Hire a VA to help with phone calls, or if you don't want to, have set office hours where you check voicemails and respond to calls. Either of those are better strategies than having a phone free business.
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  • Profile picture of the author MikeFriedman
    Originally Posted by Daniel Evans View Post

    That's certainly not true and it's becoming less true by the day as the Internet evolves further.

    It's entirely subjective dependant upon the type and structure of the business and / or the products or services being sold.

    There are a gazillion businesses operating successully without offering telephone support and postal address (WHOIS) info.

    There are people selling 50 cent keyrings on multiple platforms in small quantities per order who wouldn't entertain the telephone. People on the other hand, who are selling expensive goods will go out of their way to provide and emphasize telephone availability. Some businesses demand it, since initial contact is near mandatory - true of labourers who might benefit from connecting personally before visiting a home.

    Pricing structures (particularly for online services) are reflective upon methods of contact and average length (and methods) of consultation.


    In some cases, businesses often finally begin when the telephone is withdrawn as an option.




    Daniel

    My comment was a bit of an exaggeration. Yes, there are plenty of businesses that operate without doing any business by telephone.

    That is very market dependent, and there are very, very few except on the absolute cheap end (fiverr sellers and the like) that are doing it successfully in the B2B niche.
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  • Profile picture of the author affilorama-portal
    Place yourself as a customer, there are really people who are doubtful to transact online but they are open to these things, provided that you first build trust with them. I know it can really be annoying, however, opening more options for communication is the key to gaining more clients. If you really want to step up the game, hire a virtual assistant to take care of your customer inquiries, if you feel there is a need to do this.
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  • Profile picture of the author luciesmazanska
    What I would suggest is
    Put the chat form on your website like we have let's say it's prevents visitors from asking for a number because when they see that you are online they will contact you there and not via a number
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  • Profile picture of the author Ervin Kalemi
    Just tell them you're a very small team and currently don't support customer support via phone. That's I do and they don't mind it.
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  • Profile picture of the author MargaW
    I don't like being on the phone, but I wouldn't say that these days people communicate only via emails or chat. A phone is still one of the most (if not the most) popular communication method and there are lots of people that prefer to get support via phone.

    When people ask for my phone number, I usually tell them that I believe that emails are more effective. Moreover, I don't mind to reply to emails also after hours, if I have time (in practice - if I'm online, I don't mind responding even late at night). It doesn't mean that I would like to be on the phone. However, if they insist to arrange a call, I don't refuse, as everyone is different.

    It's really easy (and cheap) to get a virtual number, so you don't need to provide your private number to anyone. Maybe recording a voicemail greeting like I'm working now and can't answer your call but please send me an email and I will reply asap would help...
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  • Profile picture of the author mywebguys
    YES, AVOID TIME VAMPIRES AT ALL COSTS IF YOU WANT TO SUCCEED!!!

    This comes down to what I call "CLIENT SELECTION:" where you setup your business processes to DISCOURAGE the types of "problem clients" that we freelancers are so used to dealing with... such as time-vampires or chronic complainers, serial refunders, and serial time-wasters...

    Most of all it's YOUR business don't let a customer tell you how to run it.

    If you have to EXCLUDE 10% of your potential clients from doing business with you because they don't like HOW you do it.. so be it!

    The last thing I would do is CHANGE something big like that just to please 10% of my potential clients.

    The 10% that you may be EXCLUDING would only be the problem clients anyway.. the ones who want to chat your ******* ear off for an hour and not buy shit.. pick your brain for free then tell you at the end they think they know a better way but thanks for the free advice... or the people who will start to call you daily thinking that you have time to just chat... these people are NOT your ideal customer... they are simply time vampires looking to find a way to TALK you into doing shit for them for free.

    Don't fall for it.

    Now there will be a few out there that just won't hire anyone unless they talk to them on the phone. These are the same type of old fashioned folks that CANNOT SEND AN EMAIL OR TYPE A CHAT IF THEIR LIFE DEPENDED ON IT... they feel like they absolutely must talk to a person immediately every time they have an issue. If they had you on retainer to provide 24/7 tech support that would be fine... BUT if you only miss out on a few of these and your life is much happier because you get to do business the way you prefer... to me it's totally worth it.

    In the long run only 20% of your clients will earn you 80% of your business anyway. It's the 80% of clients who suck up all your time and only make up about 20% of your income that you need to watch out for.

    Again, each client is different so this cannot be a one-size fits all solution.

    Maybe you could have a phone number that always goes to voicemail. I tell you what, this would STOP all the folks who bug you by phone more than once per day dead in their tracks because they would assume every time they call you don't want to answer. Or that you are always busy.

    But everyone else who realizes that it can take up to 2 days for a business phone call to be returned,
    would certainly wait patiently for the return call.

    Only the time-vampires demand you answer the phone or return a call immediately... stay away from them!!
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    • Profile picture of the author lewisjamespro
      Thank you, I Really like this advice. I agree because the few ive had phone calls have become the pain customers (ringing but not wanting to buy) or (asking questions that could be answered in writing form email or dm etc.) My business is very straight forward on how we receive info from the client as its a simple process of just needing a mp3 file n written lyrics. 99% of my clients do ask for a number as we deal with all questions through dm or email with ease
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  • Profile picture of the author Roland Hull
    Well, you kinda have to convince them that you will answer the e-mails or DM as fast as it would take to make a call.
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  • Profile picture of the author latic
    Get a VA to act as a client manager / customer service and let them do the talking.

    You'd just have to design some forms for them to work on each type of call you get.
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  • Profile picture of the author crackhouse
    This is really backwards thinking and is going to hurt you in the long run. What is your problem actually talking to people and explaining your services to them? Do you feel you're a charlatan and that would be exposed by a simple phone call?

    If you're running a legitimate high value business, then having a voice communication option will legitimize you further.

    Never understood why people go to such great length to hide behind emails and DMs
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  • Profile picture of the author dsimms
    I dont blame you for not wanting to take calls, even more so, if you run a smooth operation, and if you are not careful, spending time on phone calls from time wasters because they do not have a life will not gain you any more clients, they will just continue to bleed you, and keep you from what they paid you to do.

    You can kindly explain to them via your site or email that you do not offer phone support.It would be a different story if you had a 5 person operation with someone taking phone orders, however, if you do not need to talk to them, then all they are doing is sucking up all your time, and 9 out of 10 times, I bet you they will start talking about other things that are not relevant to their order ie: I'm lonely, I just need to talk because I paid you, etc....

    Never understood why people go to such great length to hide behind emails and DMs
    I would not call it hiding...
    not every business needs or requires to be phone based when email and DM will work just fine, so are we really talking about the OP or insecure clients that just have to talk on the phone?
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  • Profile picture of the author Harry Avery
    I'd look into a business line, I think they're pretty cheap if you search around for them. Or set up a WhatsApp for your business so they don't have your personal number, if that's what you're worried about.
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  • Profile picture of the author Sid Owsley
    You can always schedule times when you'll accept phone calls. Use something like Acuity to send the them a link showing when you're available to take calls or post it on your website so they can schedule themselves. Something like a 15 or 20 min free consult just so prospect can hear a live person may be all they need to make them feel better. Make yourself available only twice a week for a narrow time frame so you can control when they call you. Most people and with an online business would love to keep it strictly email or DM but until you get to a certain point in your business you may need to accept phone calls in the beginning stages.
    Do whatever is necessary to make your business a success and you can make adjustments as you get more clients and be more selective about how you communicate with people.
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  • Profile picture of the author bethpridgen
    Put yourself as a customer, there are really people that are doubtful to transact online however they're open to those items, assuming you first build trust with them. I am aware that it really can be annoying, however, opening more options for communication is the secret to gaining more customers. If you really want to measure the game, hire a virtual assistant to take care of your client inquiries, if you feel there's a need to do this.
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  • Profile picture of the author SmartClicks
    Hi Lewis,

    I Hear you on that..i face the same issues as well. here's what I've done
    I use burner app on android to get disposable phone numbers, its relatively cheap
    and I only use this on high ticket sales. I am not getting on the phone so you can buy a $50 product...no sirrrrr

    Also understand that the clients that want the extra time and attention are often the ones that either end up not buying or doing chargebacks. Not sure if you've read Tim Ferriss 4-hour work week, he explains it better there. 80% of your income will be from 20% of your clients and these are usually low maintaince clients. the other 20% of your income will be from 80% of your clients..these are the time wasters the ones that wants a background check and introduction to your entire family before they sign up for a free trial

    Take a good look at your business and if the above holds true then I would not even bother..if its your time wasters that keep asking to get on the phone, trim the fat and cut them lose.

    Another option is Facebook calls, i usually invite prospects to my page so they see am a real person and we can do a quick facebook call to reassure them its someone real behind the keyboard. Alot of people have been burnt before and this might be why they are now very skeptical, so i try to warm up the clients as much as possible by bringing them over to my facbook business profile.

    Hope this helps, and keep being awesome
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  • Profile picture of the author chase4net
    Its worth to communicate via email.
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  • Profile picture of the author Robert Kren
    I just state upfront on all my sales/order pages that support is email only to keep costs down and for accurate record keeping with client communications. That's it, no other explanations or details needed.
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  • Profile picture of the author IGotMine
    It's totally business dependent.

    I don't provide a business phone because too many only want conversation. If you don't want to do business with me because I don't provide one, see ya, have a nice day.
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  • Profile picture of the author amuro
    You can simply tell your clients to contact you through dm or email since you do not have time to entertain each and every call which will take up a lot of of your time and effort.

    Which is best used on more productive activities of getting more clients or follow up with those who just signed up with you.
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  • Profile picture of the author SSA Soft
    i think you should take another business number for your clients.
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  • Profile picture of the author Maxxx333
    Originally Posted by lewisjamespro View Post

    Hey Warriors,

    I need some advice. I have been running my animation business for just under a year now. 90% of my clients come from instagram.

    I deal with all most every client through dm or email. But sometimes clients will ask for my number. Im not to comfortable with the idea n also because it will take up a lot of time away from editing.

    How do I keep my business email or DM only. Like most companies are. Now a days phone call Is usually the last resort.

    My business is pretty straight forward to where I only need some info through email or messenger.

    Or am I looking at this wrong n should I take phone calls..?
    You could make it clear with them, or even give thema number, and let them know it will be exclusively for voice mails.
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  • Profile picture of the author chase4net
    By giving mobile number you can have healthy discussion
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  • Profile picture of the author RabbitAnimate
    If you're selling video animation, you probably need phone number, unless you're not English speaker and can't communicate well using English, then your client probably understand that
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  • I think you could also look a it in terms of what kind of client you want to attract.

    Older business owners are often more comfortable speaking to someone over the phone. They equate a phone number with legitimacy. If you want to tap into this market, then by all means get phone. Having a VA answer it and only answering during office hours adds to your legitimacy so don't worry about not having the time to answer calls. In some ways, it might be better if you don't answer all calls. Only call back if it's a legitimate lead/referral or when you're about to close the deal.

    But if that's not the market you want to tap, having a phone would just be added cost. The fact that 90% of your clients come in through Instagram just shows that not having a phone isn't stopping you have getting clients.
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  • Profile picture of the author nitishaugust
    i filtered the clients on the basis of their behavior, now m left with just handful but really good clients
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  • Profile picture of the author nowservingpixels
    This is something I've struggled with myself.

    When you're a freelancer, the product you're selling is your time. If you're not using your time wisely, you're hurting your profits.

    The problem I've had with offering phone access to the general public is that I've had people call and suck 40 minutes out of my inventory only to walk away empty-handed afterwards.

    This can't happen. I simply can't afford to let any casual site visitor take that kind of time out of my day on a whim, and I think it's unreasonable to expect that from someone who trades hours for dollars.

    On the other hand, if someone is a paying client, I feel like I at least owe them the courtesy of a phone call if they so desire. Not on an on-call basis, not for hours at a time, not several times a day, and not for every single back-and-forth interaction we have. But one or two 20 minute calls in order for them to explain something they couldn't articulate over email isn't going to break me, and it's the least I can do for someone who chose to bet their money on me instead of someone else.

    I've come to the conclusion that the best approach is to offer a phone number publicly on my site, but phone support is only available to paying clients who schedule a call with me in advance (and I use Skype's phone service to facilitate this so it stays at my desk and I can keep it separate from my actual phone.) Inquiries are directed to email. This is all spelled out on the contact section of my website, and so far it has worked well enough.

    Am I losing out on potential clients who may be put off by this? Possibly, but that's a trade off I'm willing to make. I've built up enough demand for my services that I can afford to choose my working conditions.
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  • Profile picture of the author onlinesellers
    I agree with some of the previous answers regarding offering transparency, your buyers will appreciate it. From my perspective there are two options you can do:
    1. Make it clear on your Instagram bio description that you offer only email and DM communication, as well as any other "policies" you choose. When customers know what to expect, you eliminate disappointment.
    2. Offer a window of 2hrs when you can answer phone calls and again, explain in your bio that in order to focus on editing and produce the best products FOR THEM, you can only offer this time period for the phone. Otherwise, you'll gladly answer each and everyone via email and private messages.

    Basically, be straightforward and set your rules.

    Good luck! Btw, are u also selling on eBay or Amazon, or just via social media?
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  • Profile picture of the author JohnVianny
    VERY SIMPLE TO ANSWER !

    People wants your number to directly call you and get some advices, coaching and so on?

    Go to Clarity.fm and put there your number: clients won't see it, they ask a call and they agree to pay some bucks PER MINUTE for your consulence.

    Quite fair.
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  • Profile picture of the author mikebeatty
    It's the 80/20 Rule Lewis!

    Chances are the few that are demanding phone calls aren't adding anything to your business, just sucking your time.

    You set the rules and you will be left working with people you want to

    Good luck
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  • Profile picture of the author chase4net
    Always try better to get business call
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  • Profile picture of the author Shkirr12
    It would be easier for you to close a sale on call. what you can do is like a free 10 min consultation call. and after 10 mins you charge them. this will increase your leads and sales.
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  • Profile picture of the author Ian5
    I think that solving the problems or questions through using the mobile phone it's easier and faster, than e-mail.
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  • Profile picture of the author Obermair
    Focus on the clients that will allow you to do your work and generate income. Someone already said "choose your clients" - great advice. Years ago I used to believe the customer came first. Now I believe the right customer comes first. If someone is too needy and wastes too much of my time asking irrelevant questions, or the same questions over and over again, I tell them that this isn't working and perhaps they need to find someone else.
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  • Profile picture of the author Jonathan S
    Use a spare number, switch it off and put voicemail on it telling them to email you instead... or give them a premium number and you can even make money for that all day long lol!
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  • When you are doing a business why do you need to keep your number secret? you can have a personal and a business numbers separate and keep the fixed business hours adding a voicemail to it.
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  • Profile picture of the author podbpo
    Displaying a phone number can help increase trust and credibility, as well as make you stand out from the crowd. However at the same time, it can be intrusive and distract you from focusing on the core of your business.

    Have you considered using an answering service?

    We do this for many clients who are in a similar position to yourself. We give them a dedicated phone number and our agents answer it in their business name and handle as instructed.

    Sometimes people just want to pick up the phone and hear a real voice. You might be surprised by the amount of extra leads you capture as a result.
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  • Profile picture of the author SeanDezoysa
    The more a client spends, the more they valuable phone time. I think it's fair when they're spending in the thousands personally. Email just doesn't have the same throughput.
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  • Profile picture of the author erikrefuerzo
    You can configure your phone for a call divert. Like putting a number that is not working where calls be diverted to it.
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  • Profile picture of the author SYKOTIK
    Simply let them know the way that your business runs is the way that you run your business. Only via DM and email at the moment
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  • Profile picture of the author ChrisBa
    Originally Posted by lewisjamespro View Post

    Hey Warriors,

    I need some advice. I have been running my animation business for just under a year now. 90% of my clients come from instagram.

    I deal with all most every client through dm or email. But sometimes clients will ask for my number. Im not to comfortable with the idea n also because it will take up a lot of time away from editing.

    How do I keep my business email or DM only. Like most companies are. Now a days phone call Is usually the last resort.

    My business is pretty straight forward to where I only need some info through email or messenger.

    Or am I looking at this wrong n should I take phone calls..?
    When it comes to business, some people strongly prefer to communicate by phone. If this is a problem then just state it and be honest with people and give them the options.
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  • Profile picture of the author chuckholmes
    This has turned out to be a very interesting thread.

    I'm just a little bit "old school" and believe that you should have multiple ways for your clients to get in touch with you.

    A lot of it also has to deal with the demographics of your customer base. For example, if most of your customers are Baby Boomers, you might want to consider have a business phone number.

    I personally prefer businesses with a phone number, but everyone is different. I like to be able to talk to a real person when I have a question or an issue to deal with. I also believe it's a lot quicker to solve an issue by phone than email.

    I can tell you that I get a LOT of business because I do have a phone number listed on my website, and I do answer it. I also get a lot of people who just want to talk with someone. I guess it's a double edged sword.

    Keep the comments flowing.
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  • Profile picture of the author kohjihondrade
    Hire a virtual assistant for phone inquiries. Or be strict with it by warning them you dont entertain phone inquiries.
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  • Profile picture of the author FelicityK
    Hi lewisjamespro ,

    Do I feel your pain - I know exactly where your question is coming from. You just want to do your thing, grow your business and keep things chugging along...but your clients want to call you, Facebook message you, WhatsApp message you, Skype, Google Hangout, Slack etc etc. The list goes on.

    I had the exact situation as you - and (worse) - people giving out my cellphone number to potential clients (who weren't in my target market, and took a lot of my time and energy). I had internal systems put in place so that leads went to person X, and existing clients went to person Y on my team, but you know what? Those cellphone calls just kept coming.

    But, you know what? Those clients just want to actually hear someone's voice, so you're stuck between doing what's best for you and your business (specific channels) and doing what they need to be able to be your client (speak on the phone).

    The solution I found is a VoIP phone line. They're cheap to set up, are uber-professional (Google Voice is good, but the other features you can get on VoIP are amazing) and have made my whole life so much easier. Clients/leads/whoever call and hear a pre-recorded message, directing them to the correct department...OR they leave a voicemail, which is sent to my inbox, and I decide what to do with it accordingly.

    It means I get to do what I need to do, they feel like they're being heard, and everyone is (mostly) happy.

    Good luck!
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