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Poll: In general, what is your response time when clients contact you?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 07:53
SITE STAFF
Jan 20

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "In general, what is your response time when clients contact you?".

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Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 07:53
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Less than an hour Jan 20

I keep my incoming e-mail alerts on when I'm working at my desk, and in that case I respond instantly. But if I'm taking a break I won't see them right away. My usual response time is within the hour. My clients don't send me small jobs; my minimum assignment is at least 5,000, so they are not expecting an immediate response.

In other words, I don't carry around a cell phone with mobile e-mail alerts because I don't accept work over the phone. I want to have a good look at the text before I make a commitment. And I want a written record of the terms we agree to and any instructions the client has. Last week a client called me on her cell. The connection was so bad I couldn't even hear her (I'm hard of hearing). Trying to handle it on the phone was so complicated that I ended up letting the job go (I'm too booked right now to take on anything I'm not 100% sure I can do in a short time).

BTW, also last week I was horrified when a new job from my best client went into the Junk Folder. The client sent me an e-mail later in the day to tell me she had reassigned the job--and I go: "What job?"


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Agneta Pallinder  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 15:53
Member (2014)
Swedish to English
+ ...
Immediately - but with strong caveats Jan 20

I tend to respond immediately I see the email - which could be the moment it arrives, if I am at my desk and not engrossed in work - or it could be several hours later, if I am off site.

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Kay Denney  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 16:53
Member (Apr 2018)
French to English
notifications Jan 20

I have notifications on my mobile now that I have a professional standard smartphone. But only for my business address. Those clients who are incapable of remembering to use that address (some still use the personal address despite me reminding them that I changed it a while back) don't get answers as quickly as I don't look at the personal address unless I have no work to do.

So I usually react within the hour, or two when I go swimming at lunch time. I may have a reputation for taking long lunch breaks, true to French tradition!


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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 15:53
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Always within the hour, usually much faster during the day (8am-8pm) Jan 20

I am nominally available 9-6 at the computer, but I started noticing recently a new trend: being contacted during the night (11:30 pm) by a client (in the same timezone as me) to be told early next morning (8 am) that the job has been assigned to another translator…

[Edited at 2018-01-20 12:03 GMT]


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Elizabeth Tamblin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 15:53
Member (2012)
French to English
Less than an hour Jan 20

If I'm at my desk, I reply immediately. If away, I check my iPhone for emails every half hour or so and reply that way.

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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 16:53
Spanish to English
+ ...
Other Jan 20

ASAP?

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Marjolein Snippe  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 16:53
Member (2012)
English to Dutch
+ ...
Usually within an hour... Jan 20

... during my working hours (9-6 or so).
Outside these, I will not usually read my emails until the next working day.


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Onur Inal  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 16:53
Member (2015)
English to Turkish
+ ...
depends Jan 20

I respond immediately if I am online and don't have any other urgent thing at that moment. Otherwise, I respond whenever I have time - and this is usually within the next 1-2 hours

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Jan Truper
Germany
Local time: 16:53
Member (2016)
English to German
+ ...
Depends... Jan 20

...on the client and the content of the e-mail.

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Diana Obermeyer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 15:53
Member (2013)
German to English
+ ...
When I see their email Jan 20

When I'm working on something a little more complex, I totally switch off to the outside world and focus on the text in front of me.
I wouldn't notice the house falling down on top of me, or someone cutting off my leg. Thus, I don't notice email alerts, either. I do make an effort to respond to all emails after each section in my project - but that could be a few hours.

When I'm working on more standard stuff, I do keep an eye on my inbox and respond faster.


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Alexandra Speirs  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:53
Italian to English
+ ...
Depends on the client Jan 20

Some clients I answer straight away, especially the best payers.
And anyone I currently have a job with, in case there are updates, last-minute changes, and so on.
However, there are others that I allow to wait a bit!
New contacts, I look and see if they are serious and worth replying to.
Anyone who opens with "Dear Translator" will probably not get a reply at all.

[Edited at 2018-01-20 14:47 GMT]


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Wellington Lima
Brazil
Local time: 11:53
English to Portuguese
Depends Jan 20

If I'm online I respond instantly, if I'm not online, I take more time to respond, but most of the time I respond less than an hour. From time to time I check my email.

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Mario Chavez  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:53
English to Spanish
+ ...
Response time? Jan 20

That phrase, “response time” makes me chuckle in this context because I'm driven to think: What? Am I a first responder, a police officer, a fireman? Or worse: Am I supposed to have a response time like military personnel?

But I guess I'm just splitting hairs…

Like the rest of the responders (chuckling again, sorry), I try to answer within 2 hours of having received a phone call (rare) or an email message. If I can't respond as quickly as I wish, I contact my client to explain I was at a doctor's office or that I was driving. There have been times when I haven't been able to respond to a query (a quote, an actual job, etc.) not even within 2 hours because I'm aboard a plane.

This situation can happen with a project manager as well. A well-liked PM asked me for my availability for an immediate (i.e. rush) job on Tuesday or Wednesday this week. I answered within the hour but didn't hear from her until the next day. She authorized the quote I'd given her and apologized for not answering any earlier because she was on a plane to Atlanta, Georgia (that's in the United States).

So, the race doesn't always go to the fastest.



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Mario Freitas  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 11:53
Member (2014)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
It depends on the time of the day Jan 20

I usually reply as soon as I see the e-mail. But "when I see the e-mail" varies a lot. I have clients in all continents, so I receive e-mails 24/7. When I wake up, the first thing I do is to check my e-mails. But every morining I read e-mails that were sent while I was asleep (or away from home). Those may take 1 to 8 hours to be replied.

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