Digital Account Management: Take Your Time

This is part five of a six-part series recapping my presentation, “Happy Clients: An Intro to Digital Account Management,” from Podcamp Nashville 2011.

5. Take your time

Do you have children?

If you do, you know how refreshing it is to be around children because they live in the present moment. Everything, their entire universe and all that they understand, exists right now.

There is no later. There is no yesterday. Delayed gratification is not a concept that they understand. It can be a beautiful thing.

Most of the time.

Unfortunately, clients can behave similarly, especially when it comes to projects they don’t fully understand, such as search engine optimization or web application development. (And why should they? They’re experts in their fields, not in ours. That’s why they hired us.)

The proposal needs to be ready now. The website needs to launch now. The campaign needs to go live now.

And, similarly to how we work with impatient children, we need to take our time. We don’t give our kids candy bars to avoid meltdowns (or at least we shouldn’t), and our clients are a thousand times more reasonable than our children.

If you take your time, you will do better work

Jason Fried, the co-founder of 37signals and creator of Basecamp, gave a great lecture at TEDxMidwest about work, the nature of work and why work doesn’t happen very often at work. One of his quotes from that lecture really stood out to me:

People really need long stretches of uninterrupted time to get something done. You cannot ask somebody to be creative in 15 minutes and really think about a problem.

Whether we’re defining the scope of work for a project or just creating a status report, we need to carve out the time to do it right. At the end of the day, you’ll be more likely to look back on your work and be proud of it, and your client will appreciate it as well.

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