I like to schedule all the time I spend on the phone with clients. That allows me to refresh the points to talk about and be properly prepared for the call. Being prepared like that is not possible when a new client call you out of the blue though, unless of course you build a crib sheet for client calls.

A few months back I tried out [NoteBook][note] by Circus Ponies and while I saw some potential I just wasn’t sold on it enough to buy it then. I actually fell back in to the routines during the demo period and didn’t really give it a fair shot.

This [article][art] about building a list of things to ask new clients got me seriously thinking about NoteBook again though. I could easily adapt the idea of the call crib sheet to a NoteBook template with the questions all ready in it.

Anyone else have a call crib sheet or a repeatable system for client projects? Care to share? If you blog about it and let me know I’ll link to it.

[note]: http://www.circusponies.com/notebook/stay-organized “NoteBook for Mac”
[art]: http://www.graphicdesignblender.com/when-a-new-client-calls-you-dont-freak-out-do-this “When a New Client Calls You Don’t Freek Out”

4 responses to “Building a Crib Sheet for Client Calls”

  1. James Strocel Avatar

    I’ve never seen an example of a client call crib sheet online before. Thanks for posting about it!

    1. curtismchale Avatar

      I hadn’t really thought about it either. I thought about a project template but just haven’t got around to building it.

  2. Kim Woodbridge Avatar

    This is slightly off topic but how do you limit the amount of time you are kept on the phone? I had a scheduled call the other day and the potential client was rambling about unrelated topics. The call went way too long and I wasn’t sure how I could have managed it better. Or do you set a start and end time before you even have the call?

    1. curtismchale Avatar

      I always set a start and end time for every call. If we are going over time I work out the time to book again to continue. For new clients, I’ll jump in and say that once we are over an hour (sometimes 30 minutes if it’s not a big project) I charge for my consulting time.

      If a client calls out of the blue (almost always a new client) I’ll just state up front that I have at max 30 minutes. That’s pretty much regardless of how much time I actually have. Truthfully, I rarely answer my phone if I don’t have the number on caller ID. I’ll listen to the message right away (or shortly) and call back when it works for me. I’ve never thought it was fair for the client whose code I’m working on, to have me interrupted in the middle of the train of thought.