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Poll: Do you provide your phone number to clients if requested?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 03:48
SITE STAFF
Aug 28, 2016

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Do you provide your phone number to clients if requested?".

This poll was originally submitted by Thomas Johansson. View the poll results »



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Gudrun Maydorn  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 12:48
Member (2008)
English to German
+ ...
Yes Aug 28, 2016

My address and phone number are always shown at the end of my emails.

I have spoken to most of my customers on the phone over the years. Sometimes this is a quick way of clarifying questions and it certainly is a good way of strengthening a business relationship with my direct customers.


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Julian Holmes  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 19:48
Member (2011)
Japanese to English
Yes. of course Aug 28, 2016

And, I provide my cellphone No., too, but only to special customers.

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ventnai  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 12:48
Member
German to English
+ ...
CV or forms Aug 28, 2016

My telephone numbers are on my CV and sometimes agencies ask you to complete a form with all your details. I used to have my telephone numbers included in my email signature block on my old computer but I haven't got round to designing a new one ...

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Maxi Schwarz
Local time: 05:48
German to English
+ ...
If requested? Aug 28, 2016

That is one way that clients contact me. How would clients not have access to a business's phone number?

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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 11:48
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Only sometimes Aug 28, 2016

I don't give it to people who are not yet clients, and even then I only give it to those that request it. In the email that accompanies it I stress that it should only be used for urgent matters when an email has gone unanswered. I prefer them to tell me in advance if they need to discuss something.

In short, I'm quite happy to speak to my clients on the phone if necessary. But I'm not happy about (a) being rung at strange times of day/night due to time differences that they forget about, or (b) being interrupted when I'm absorbed in trying to figure out the best words and structure for a sentence in a marketing text.

I can't imagine any scenario where a client would need my mobile phone number, but I have Skyped with a few in the past.


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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 11:48
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Yes! Aug 28, 2016

But I'm almost always contacted by email. I haven't spoken over the phone with a client for ages. Anyway, all my contacts are on my CV.

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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 12:48
Spanish to English
+ ...
Sometimes Aug 28, 2016

But not if I think they are going to pester me. When working, I often turn my phone off, so the quickest way to contact me is by email. All my clients know this.

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Michael Harris  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 12:48
Member (2006)
German to English
Same here Aug 28, 2016

Gudrun Maydorn wrote:

My address and phone number are always shown at the end of my emails.

I have spoken to most of my customers on the phone over the years. Sometimes this is a quick way of clarifying questions and it certainly is a good way of strengthening a business relationship with my direct customers.


Part of being a "Professional"


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Michael Harris  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 12:48
Member (2006)
German to English
Julian Aug 28, 2016

Julian Holmes wrote:

And, I provide my cellphone No., too, but only to special customers.


Special customers


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 07:48
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Yes, sometimes, i.e. only when requested Aug 28, 2016

I don't publish my phone number on my web site, but I'll provide it to any customer or prospect who asks for it. Some minor detective work on the web will get it too.

One particular recent prospect's e-mail was quite harsh about it: "Since you provide a professional service, you MUST publish a phone number everywhere you appear. By refraining from doing so, you are offering despicable quality customer service."

For the record, his potential business was something like a US$ 50 once-in-a-lifetime translation.

Nevertheless I wrote him giving my landline and mobile numbers, as well as my Skype ID.

I took the chance to explain to him that one factors that helps me in offering quick turnaround and always timely delivery is that I don't spend all day chatting on the phone with prospects.

I also explained that written communication on jobs left me with a clear record of all instructions and details, so I won't have to fumble through jotted-down notes, nor call them back to ask them what they'll have already told me "en passant".

Most regular clients - regardless of their location - prefer to call me on Skype, because there they know when I'm online.

[Edited at 2016-08-28 13:26 GMT]


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Mario Freitas  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 07:48
Member (2014)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Yes Aug 28, 2016

My phone number is in my standard e-mail signature. I never call anyone, as I hate telephones. But I do receive many calls, as there are many agencies/clients who prefer to talk to you before the jobs or in case of any issues. Professionally speaking, it's achoice you must allow, above all when it's requested. You either inspire professionalism and reliability by providing it, or do the exact opposite, by denying it.

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Maxi Schwarz
Local time: 05:48
German to English
+ ...
How? Aug 28, 2016

How do customers contact you guys, if you don't give out your phone number? Why would you not give out your phone number, and how does a question like this come about? There is something in this picture that I am missing, which some of the members here seem to have in common.

In any typical week, the phone will ring, and an absolute stranger will be at the other end, saying "Are you the person who does translations? Are you certified?" 90% of the time that phone call leads to work. That is why the question as well as some of the answers mystify me.


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 07:48
English to Portuguese
+ ...
The contemporary way of doing business Aug 28, 2016

Maxi Schwarz wrote:

How do customers contact you guys, if you don't give out your phone number? Why would you not give out your phone number, and how does a question like this come about? There is something in this picture that I am missing, which some of the members here seem to have in common.

In any typical week, the phone will ring, and an absolute stranger will be at the other end, saying "Are you the person who does translations? Are you certified?" 90% of the time that phone call leads to work. That is why the question as well as some of the answers mystify me.


My main source of new clients is my web site. I began building it with answers to FAQs all translation clients had. It has its own internal search engine, so they can find the pages that address their needs with just a few keywords, often just one, in addition to the organized main menu.

Some pages are specific for them to get cost estimates for specific services I offer. These help them in gathering the necessary information and organizing their thoughts. The old-fashioned way would require extensive Q&A sessions over the phone. Best of all, it's all documented, so if any piece of info was just casually given, it will be there for both of us to check later.

It's a real time-saver.

We - translators - don't sell translation services, we actually sell the time it takes us to provide them. Of course, we convert that to word counts, minutes of video, time available d]for interpreting, etc.
The most typical time-selling occupation is "the oldest profession in the world", it is sustainable forever as such.
Compare that to a profession that sells results instead, "the second oldest profession": sales. Millions of salespeople around the world lost forever their commission-based jobs to e-business. Commission-based sales is most often NOT a sustainable profession, as a web site can replace it.


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Mario Chavez  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:48
English to Spanish
+ ...
The ubiquitous telephone number Aug 28, 2016

In 2000, a friend told me he only used his cellphone and had no landline phone. I thought that was brave.

Fast forward 16 years: I only use a cellphone for all my communications (with family, friends, customers) but I retain a Vonage landline for convenience purposes.

Side note: did you know that Berlioz overtures can be too grandiose for some?

One way to improve my phone communications for customers is to have a welcoming message recorded on my device (an iPhone 6S). It's a short message announcing that they have reached Mario Chávez, Wordsmeet LLC, translation services, and invite them to leave a message after the beep.

I also receive unsolicited calls, which my iPhone (and my telephone carrier) allow me to block. That is a time saver. Among these calls, there is the occasional wrong-number call. Some are hilarious. Once, around Mother's Day, I got this voicemail message:

Eric, this is your mom. If you don't come see me for Mother's Day, I'm gonna whup your arse!

I laughed for days.


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