The Project Can’t Proceed
Even with email the preferred method in today’s savvy techno world, phone calls are still a necessary must, especially if you need to have a joint discussion and need input.
Let’s say you need to get approval from the client to add another phase or element to the project and you need budget approval. After five phone calls to the client (and two to the client’s assistant to ensure the client is getting messages) you don’t know what to do. Is the client disinterested, avoiding you or do they fear the reason for your call? Whatever the reason may be, you need to get the client to understand it is they who are holding up the project and you can’t spend your valuable time or waste your team’s time by being patient here. It’s time for persistence methods!
A triple play is our best advice. Send an email, a fax and a snail mail letter to the client. It doesn’t have to be long but it must get the message across in a firm tone that displays the project is at a standstill unless you hear from the client.
When writing your correspondence there are a few things you can do to ensure a response. For the snail mail letter, send it certified mail, return receipt requested. This way the client can’t claim he never received it as certified mail requires a signature upon delivery. You can also do this with your email program; when sending the email, make it a high priority email—the client will see you’ve red flagged the email. For the fax, make sure the word “Urgent" appears on the cover sheet such as: “Urgent – Urgent – Urgent" across the top of the cover sheet.
The content of your communication must be direct and to the point. Tell the client the project awaits his input in order to proceed. Remind them of the deadline coming up and be blunt. Tell them you need a response by such and such a time or you’ll be forced to move non-working team members to another project. Remind them of the communication plan everyone agreed to at project initiation and send them a link to the plan or attach it again for their review.