How to keep clients updated on availability/out of office?
Thread poster: Dan Mackey

Dan Mackey
United States
Local time: 13:47
Member (Feb 2017)
Arabic to English
Apr 27

Can anyone give me some advice on how I can keep my clients and agencies up to date on when I plan to be out of the office? Should I send them an email every week or two? Monthly? Should I share my google calendar? Post a calendar somewhere on my website or a screenshot in my email signature?

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Natalia Pedrosa  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 19:47
Member (2012)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Hi Dan Apr 27

What I normally do when I have to be out of the office for hours or days in a row is publish a signature on gmail stating my working/availability hours or days.

HTH.

N.


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Roman Lutz  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 19:47
English to German
+ ...
Online profiles, email signature and auto reply Apr 27

I only work for agencies, but the regular ones I inform in my usual correspondence by adding a note to the email signature about 2-3 weeks ahead of my vacation/period of absence.

More often than not, agencies will have an online platform for their projects which will ususally allow you to create a profile and update your availability.

Also, I usually enable email auto reply to inform my clients that I am not available (and for how long).


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Mario Chavez  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:47
English to Spanish
+ ...
Pros and cons of using Google Calendar Apr 27

I have a client of sorts who has been asking us translators in the team to update our availability (or not) on her Google calendar. At first, it was a cool thing to have, but since this client still uses several PMs (project managers) who communicate with us translators via email, the whole shared calendar is a stupid idea. Or a redundant idea anyways.

I used to share my Google calendar with some key clients but then decided that my privacy was far more important. After all, my head doctor doesn't do that; she just asks me to call the appointment office and then I pick a date.

Most of us use an email app on our cellphones, on which we can get job requests from our regular and not regular clients. That, I think, should be sufficient for all purposes.

Or do we really want to tether our life availability to our clients' whims? Who in his or her sane mind want to regularly announce that he or she is available for jobs?


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Gerard de Noord  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 19:47
Member (2003)
German to Dutch
+ ...
My advice after 20 years Apr 27

Keep those two or three clients who really rely on you informed all the time. Rely on your own regular checks of your e-mail to personally handle all other requests. Your special clients will feel extra special and most of your other clients will never notice you weren't available for them. At this point in my career, sharing my calendar would be counterproductive.

Cheers,
Gerard


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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 18:47
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Right there Apr 27

Dan Mackey wrote:

Can anyone give me some advice on how I can keep my clients and agencies up to date on when I plan to be out of the office? Should I send them an email every week or two? Monthly? Should I share my google calendar? Post a calendar somewhere on my website or a screenshot in my email signature?



There is a calendar right there on your profile page (or there would be if you used it).

[Edited at 2017-04-27 20:40 GMT]


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jyuan_us  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:47
Member (2005)
English to Chinese
+ ...
Agreed. Apr 27

Gerard de Noord wrote:
At this point in my career, sharing my calendar would be counterproductive.
Gerard


The whole idea of sharing availability with clients would prove itself to be counterproductive for most people, or at least meaningless/useless.


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Jan Truper
Germany
Local time: 19:47
Member (2016)
English to German
+ ...
It's more about non-availability Apr 27

My first-tier clients all have their own respective availability calendar systems.
I voluntarily enter my non-availability info there for two reasons: out of courtesy to them (they won't have to waste time on e-mails which will only yield a negative response) and to keep my sanity (I noticed it helps me not to take on too much work, which I otherwise tend to do because I hate saying no to these fine people).

My second-tier clients are not informed of my non-availability, but I usually reply swiftly to their e-mails.

My third-tier clients (the kind that often sends out anonymous mass e-mails) are not informed of my non-availability, and I usually don't reply to their e-mails either, unless I'm really interested in a job.

When I go on vacation, I set up an automated e-mail response noting the date of my return.


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Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 20:47
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
I agree with Gerard Apr 28

Previously I has used the automatic OOO-function of my email server, but years ago this function was removed. And now I think this is only a good thing. Automatic response will encourage spam robots to send more of their stuff. And I don't like the idea of informing everybody that I'm not in the office which means I'm not at home - feel free to break in!

Clients can look at my profile here and will see the red or green light, that should be enough.

[Bearbeitet am 2017-04-28 04:05 GMT]


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Gabriele Demuth  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 18:47
Member (2014)
English to German
Good point! Apr 28

Heinrich Pesch wrote:

Previously I has used the automatic OOO-function of my email server, but years ago this function was removed. And now I think this is only a good thing. Automatic response will encourage spam robots to send more of their stuff. And I don't like the idea of informing everybody that I'm not in the office which means I'm not at home - feel free to break in!


This is a good point! If I am sending out messages that I am out of the office for 2 weeks then the likelihood is high that we are all away. My very regular clients I do inform in addition to the ooo-message, but there are many others this would just be an annoyance to and they probably wouldn't note it down anyway, but not receiving any reply wouldn't be appropriate either.

One client always calls me when they receive an ooo-message, and it doesn't always mean that I am not home, but just not available - who wants to be talking to clients during a family reunion, party...


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Lincoln Hui  Identity Verified
Hong Kong
Local time: 01:47
Member
Chinese to English
+ ...
Not my problem Apr 28

If they want to know my availability, they need to ask. Every job request is an availability inquiry anyway.

[Edited at 2017-04-28 07:03 GMT]


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Gabriele Demuth  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 18:47
Member (2014)
English to German
But... Apr 28

Lincoln Hui wrote:

If they want to know my availability, they need to ask. Every job request is an availability inquiry anyway.

[Edited at 2017-04-28 07:03 GMT]


When agencies send an offer or enquiry I find that they want an answer asap and appreciate a ooo-message that lets them know that I am not there, rather then waiting for hours - I feel this is appreciated.


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