Reading Emotional Triggers – 4 Times You Should Call Instead of Email Your Client

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As an Account Manager who enjoys thinking long and hard about the best way to craft an effective and amazing email, the reality is that there are moments when sending an email just does not work. In these moments the solution is simple: pick up the phone! The following are 4 examples of when to call clients instead of sending email.


The moment you sense tension in an email, or during a meeting, you need to call your client. This is not the time to hide behind your words, and it’s definitely not the time to give your client a reason to hide behind their words. The best approach is to recognize the tension, and lead the project by picking up the phone and speaking with your client in a transparent and caring way that leads to an agreed upon solution.

I’ll admit, there have been times when I’ve made the mistake of using a lengthy email to bury a client in a sea of words. My intention has usually been to offer a bold declaration, and then allow the rest of the email to not only proof text my statement, but soften the blow (if possible).

It doesn’t work. Emails like that typically foster confusion, greater tension, and project discontent.

Don’t make that mistake. Pick up the phone.


If you don’t understand what is being said, you need to call your client.

I can’t tell you how many times a client has sent me an email where my initial response is, “huh?” Especially as a non-developer working on development projects, I often read emails and have no idea what is being said.

But this isn’t just for times when you are confused. If you feel your client doesn’t understand what you are saying, you need to call your client. Need to let you client know they’ve been warned by Google about faulty mobile redirects? Guess what, they might not know what the heck you are talking about.

The moment the temperature on the confusion-o-meter starts to go up, pick up the phone.


Seriously, if there is something to celebrate, give your client a call.

This may seem like a no brainer…or even a little goofy…but when you manage projects for multiple clients it’s easy to keep the blinders on and only think in terms of project timelines and deliverables. To avoid this, take the time to pay attention and make an effort to celebrate with your clients by giving them a call.

For example, right now I have a client whose new website is about to go live. Although it would be easy to hide behind the fact that it’s Monday, and I’m “super busy,” I have spent my afternoon feeling jittery about the new site. I can’t wait to call my client contact and say congratulations.

Why? First, because I know she’s worked her butt off on the project. She’s put in tons of hours, working with multiple vendors (Oneupweb included), and she is stoked to see her company’s new site fully displayed on the interwebs.

Second, because I care! I’m invested in the partnership we have with this client. Our team provided important last minute help on the project. We’re poised to do great new things with this client. And frankly, we want to see this client succeed!

It’s not silly…call your clients when there is something to celebrate.


Key client decision making is often accompanied by feelings of hesitancy and fear, and it is your responsibility to lead your client through these feelings and decisions. Therefore, ditch the email; make a phone call.

When you call your client at the point of making a key decision you will give that person an opportunity to not only share his or her concerns, it will give you the opportunity to step in and lead your client towards making wise decisions. Pushed further, it gives you the opportunity to provide recommendations that will help with the decision being made.

For Oneupweb, we recognize that while our clients are experts in their industries, they are not experts in the area of digital marketing. That is why they’ve hired us. And with this in mind it is often challenging for a client to make difficult decisions regarding a website redesign, or how to shop for a CRM.

This means that it is mission critical for you to recognize when your clients need to make key decisions, and at these points of engagement you must be willing to pick up the phone.

In Conclusion

Here’s the deal, at the end of the day you can still write emails to cover all of these situations. And I guess there’s nothing completely wrong with doing so…in fact, at times you might have to write emails instead of making phone calls. But thinking in terms of what’s right and wrong is shortsighted. Instead, you need to push further and ask yourself, “What is the wise decision here?”

When you face the scenarios above, the wise thing to do is to pick up the phone and call your client.

{Image Credit:raindog808 Flickr}


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