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Client Tip 4: Phone Call Etiquette

Careful! This post is looking a little old and could be inaccurate in many, many ways

I don’t tend to get many phone calls from clients but when I do it always appears that the phone calls go on for much longer than they need to thus keeping me from actually doing the work I should be doing. Of course phone conversations are necessary at times to allow a more fluid conversation but both timing and content makes for some frustrations:

Don’t call on Friday at 5.25pm

Actually ringing any day after 5pm can hold the same annoyance. I’m not averse to working late if a phone call overruns but rarely do I receive a phone call at this time of the day that is critical and that cannot be either emailed or left till the following working day.

It’s not as if clients forget the time as frequently they state that they’ll be quick as they have noted the time but rarely the phone call is anything but quick. After 5pm the day is winding down and I rarely look to start anything I can’t finish till the next day, this includes phone calls too.

Don’t call at 9am either

Like the last 30 minutes of the day the first 30 is also an awkward time to receive a phone call. Within the first 30 minutes of the day you’re still getting into the swing of things to start the day proper. Having a phone call before being able to turn on your computer or read your emails puts you on the back foot and usually means you’re distracted from the conversation whilst still trying to complete these tasks.

Unless something is critical surely a phone call can wait 30 minutes.


It amazes me at the things that can distract the clients on the other end of the phone. It’s actually a little disrespectful as a client that does leave you on hold whilst doing something else has decided your time is not so precious and that you have nothing better to do that wait for them. Some of the distractions I’ve come across include:

  • Other phone calls
  • Instant Messaging
  • Emails
  • Pets

Sure some distractions can be out of a person’s hands but how they deal with them isn’t. Taking another phone call or answering IM messages are things that can be done after the current phone call.


Sure emails can be a distraction but they can also be a whole lot more. At times clients can be emailing you whilst on the phone or at times email you before and then ring you to review the email. When doing the latter it’s usually before you have had a time to even see the email and the phone call tells you nothing that could have not been put within the original email.

Your priority isn’t mine

As a client it’s good to remember that your priority isn’t the same as that of your web developer and that although a phone conversation is a good way of communicating information it can often simply be a distraction from getting on with the work at hand.