Poll: Do you engage in small talk with some of your clients?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

ProZ.com Staff
SITE STAFF
May 19, 2018

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Do you engage in small talk with some of your clients?".

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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 01:54
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Other May 19, 2018

My contacts with customers are usually limited to an exchange of emails and in general we don’t engage in small talk, but if I happen to know that they were on vacation, got married, had a baby or whatever, it wouldn’t be polite not to say something. Since I moved to Portugal some of my Belgian customers have been asking about the weather here, but this is a Belgian “thing”…

 

Lingua 5B  Identity Verified
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Local time: 02:54
English to Croatian
+ ...
Rarely. May 19, 2018

One time I did, because the PM kind of seemed to always bring up small talk right from the start. So we did engage in small talk almost always, me following their "style". Until one day out of the sudden they asked me to reduce my rate (that was already on the low end). Eventually we parted our ways. So I say, beware. To me it seems like they did it on purpose, or rather did it with every translator, just to soften them up when the time comes for rate reduction.

With direct clients
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One time I did, because the PM kind of seemed to always bring up small talk right from the start. So we did engage in small talk almost always, me following their "style". Until one day out of the sudden they asked me to reduce my rate (that was already on the low end). Eventually we parted our ways. So I say, beware. To me it seems like they did it on purpose, or rather did it with every translator, just to soften them up when the time comes for rate reduction.

With direct clients it happens often, and I never had issues or surprises like those described above.
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Lian Pang  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 02:54
Member (2018)
English to Chinese
+ ...
Very rare May 19, 2018

I don't really engage in any kind of small talk, actually, never once via phone, emails, social medias, etc.

Reason is simple : I don't have time and I assume the client doesn't have time to talk about irrelevant things either. Plus, what would we talk about ? weather ? news ? how my dog made a poo-poo on the carpet ?

But I suppose if I meet them in real life and sit down for a coffee or something, small talks are inevitable.


 

Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:54
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Never May 19, 2018

Even though I know some of my clients personally from when I worked full time, even then we don't engage in small talk while working. They are juggling their workflow with several balls in the air at once, and for me, time is money. Just tell me what you want and how much you're willing to pay me. That's all the conversation I need.

 

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 02:54
Spanish to English
+ ...
Yes May 19, 2018

One of my contacts in the offices of one of my main clients recently mentioned that he was thinking of going to Scotland on holiday. So, I gave him some information about where to go and pricing and things like that, and he responded by recommending a good pizzeria in his home town.

"Hablando se entiende la gente"...

[Edited at 2018-05-19 12:37 GMT]


 

Osama Elalwany  Identity Verified
Egypt
Local time: 03:54
English to Arabic
+ ...
Never! May 19, 2018

Sometimes small talks drive you discussions about low rates and then late payment so on!
Be more professional!


 

Gibril Koroma  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 20:54
Member (2017)
French to English
+ ...
No..but May 19, 2018

Generally not from me but I will respond if they want to engage in small talk. It will be impolite and bad for business if I don't respond. I see it as customer or client service.

 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 01:54
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Humans do smalltalk; machines don't May 19, 2018

I have a personal business relationship with my clients - business to business, human to human. I'm not lulled into thinking it's some sort of intimacy, nor do I expect them to see it that way - we aren't friends. But I'm happy to exchange tidbits of personal information and to discuss local weather, current affairs, etc.

I had a few exchanges with a Polish client when their president was killed in an air crash, many with a Ukrainian one when their separatist problems arose. etc. I
... See more
I have a personal business relationship with my clients - business to business, human to human. I'm not lulled into thinking it's some sort of intimacy, nor do I expect them to see it that way - we aren't friends. But I'm happy to exchange tidbits of personal information and to discuss local weather, current affairs, etc.

I had a few exchanges with a Polish client when their president was killed in an air crash, many with a Ukrainian one when their separatist problems arose. etc. I often help clients who are thinking of holidaying on my island, and I know where to go for help with my own plans. I've heard some freelancers say that clients don't believe them when they say they're ill. Mine certainly do. They "know" me even though we've never met.
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Claudia Aguero  Identity Verified
Costa Rica
Local time: 19:54
Spanish to English
+ ...
Often May 20, 2018

They usually send me a message just to tell me they had been successful in those projects I had to translate some documents.
Some of them come with their original documents and engage in long talks.
My clients are very special and they expect me to treat them in a very friendly manner.


 

Vanda Nissen  Identity Verified
Australia
Local time: 11:54
Member (2008)
English to Russian
+ ...
Sometimes May 20, 2018

It really depends. While dealing with larger agencies I prefer business communication, working with smaller agencies, colleagues and individual clients is a totally different experience. Small talk gives a personal touch and often helps to understand your client's needs better.

 

Mario Freitas  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 23:54
Member (2014)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Other May 21, 2018

I usually don't, but I can't say "no", because if the client (or an employee or PM) starts with small talk, I'll be polite enough to reply. And sometimes I make a little joke or make a comment out of topic. Making our relationships a little lighter is always a positive thing, as long as it doesn't get personal and doesn't involve criticizing other people. Also, it can never involve politics, religion, musical preferences, and other topics you know for sure may lead to undesireable outcomes.

 


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