Why Email is Superior for Client Communications

Why Email is Superior for Client Communications

June 9, 2010  |  Blog

Why is email preferred when discussing your design job?

We do 99% of our business via email. Why? Simply because there are many details to consider for each job. Email provides a great reference point when putting together your estimate, proposal, and contract terms. To better assist clients, it’s important that all items are laid out at the beginning of all jobs so each party is on the same page from square one.

It’s understandable that some clients are used to working via phone communications, but we find email to be the superior communication resource when serving our clients. We aren’t saying we don’t appreciate phone calls, but the initial quote, proposal and contract are best laid out in writing. Email is best suited for those communications.

Here’s a scenario:
Someone contacts us for a possible job. We’re very interested in the initial description and reply with a few basic questions to see if it’s something that will fit in with our queue. Those questions usually ask the client to clearly define the deadline, the printer they’ve chosen, if they’d like to utilize any of our service providers, a bit more info about their company (if they haven’t already sent info), project expectations, and their plans for usage.

Once those questions are answered and the project seems like something we can help the client with, we can then move to step two which involves the estimate. If the quote suits both parties, a proposal/contract and design brief are drawn up and sent to the client to fill out and return. As soon as those items have been agreed to, signed and returned, turnaround time begins.

Believe it or not, this system saves both parties involved a lot of time. It may seem a bit tedious, at first, to a client who is only used to phone communications, but email is one of a designer’s best friends. It’s important to layout the structure and details of a job upfront to better expedite and serve our clients in a timely and concise manner. That hour or two discussing your project, your budget, and your timeline on the phone, in most cases, can be a waste of time. That same info will still need to be submitted via email or writing, regardless, to get your job rolling. Once your job is in queue, however, phone calls are always welcome! We never mind a quick break and the chance to interact with our clients.

The reference that email offers designers is a fantastic asset in the workplace. Instead of checking in at random times with the client (who may or may not be available when their job is in queue) to confirm specific details for their job, having a back log of email to search is invaluable. We work on multiple client projects at any given time. Juggling info via phone does not suit the graphic design business model. When all is said and done, the phone, unfortunately, can get in the way of quality and timely service regarding design. Any info communicated via phone, is info that will eventually need to be resubmitted via email by the client anyhow. So, you can see why email communications can be the preferred tool of correspondence.

We are online every business day from 9-5PM (sometimes later) and our email response time is, at most times, less than 2 hours. In most cases, it’s immediate. We’ve found that each and every one of our clients, even those who prefer the phone, are very impressed with and enjoy our email communications. It provides a record of what’s been discussed as well as the fact we respond extremely fast. We also understand that some will stand by their trusty phone communications. This is why we felt the need to post about our process regarding email and how it benefits both parties when working with us.

Designers, what is your preferred method of communication? Do you find that email serves as a superior tool for client communications? Are you more inclined to work with clients who email rather than telephone? Why or why not? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

For those of you who aren’t designers, what are your thoughts? Does it make sense that the initial communication (at least) is done via email seeing what is involved? Since all information will be required to be emailed regardless, does that make you less apt or more inclined to want to use the phone to discuss your project? Why or why not?

Thanks!


5 Comments


  1. I wholeheartedly agree with everything you stated here. By not being willing to converse via email I have found that clients are doing themselves a disservice. A better experience is had by all parties when a job is spelled out in written terms and concrete answers. There is less juggling and guessing on the part of the designer, leaving us the time to do what is important – create an end product that the client will love – with all the correct info!
    Besides, I feel that if a client isn’t willing to submit the details in writing they aren’t fully committed to making the process work. It makes me think they don’t want to commit to anything that could be brought up later.

  2. Tracy, this is a fantastic point! 1 hour on the phone may only require 5 minutes in email. Email is a great tool to transfer all important points of a job concisely. It’s very true that design is a process that requires commitment from both the designer and the client. Clear descriptions, answers to questions, direction, and proofing, in my experience, is best completed via email.

  3. For most client-designer interactions, email is simply more efficient and less time consuming… which can keep costs down for the client.

  4. Another great point, Opaque Design! Time spent consulting adds up in more ways than one. Thank you for your input!

  5. I believe in the effectiveness of email so much, it has always been the only means to communicate with me since I started working solo 3 years ago. 🙂

    My decision was radical back then, but served me well, especially when clients happen to have select amnesia. ;p More importantly, I found it more effective for taking briefs, rather than having the whole conversation over the phone and taking notes.

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