Client emails - points of contact

Hey there designers. Up til now I’ve only had 1 point of contact for all of my freelance gigs. I’ve got a client asking if they can include someone else on the emails. I’m concerned that they will want me to be reading all of their communications (like a reply all one might get working in an office), or that I might get conflicting opinions and have to sort them out.
Obviously all that email reading and responding adds up even if it’s a few minutes at a time.
I would like to hear about how others handle this type of situation, or if there is any advice you might give. Thank you!

are they referring to CC?

No they specifically said they wanted to “loop” someone into the emails so they can give input.

Is your “1 point of contact for all of my freelance gigs” a broker? At any rate, how the client addresses the e-mail is out of your control, though you must stress that you only conduct communication with this client and nobody else. Let him/her understand that the chain of command will be disrupted otherwise, and this client should be the gatherer of opinions/suggestions from this end before passing on to you.

If you have to deal with everybody individually, your client must bear all potential extra billings because you are not in a position to make logical decision amidst conflicting requests by yourself. The time is better spent by communicating through a single source.

1 Like

I meant that each gig I’ve had there has been only 1 person I’ve been in contact with, like a business owner or someone that is handling the project for their company. There’s probably a better way to say that.

Thanks for your response, I was trying to figure out a way to clearly explain this to the client.

As an in house designer we always stress a single point of conflict, that way they can work out their crap and get in agreement before coming to us. Now, in theory that works, but the reality is that single point of contact may decide to make a decision or approve something without getting full buy in, which means they will come back. However, I still feel it is better than getting in the middle of it, and me having to try and meet the expectations and try to determine who’s voice has more weight, etc.

If you’re looking for reasoning or a way to convince them to remain a single point of contact, search google for “why a single point of contact on a job is important”. Some of the links relate to IT or App development, but the premise is still the same. The main benefit, efficiency and therefore more cost-effective, IMO. I know as in house if we get a single point of contact that seems to come back frequently because someone else changed their mind, or direction wasn’t finalized, etc. then we sometimes push back and tell them that perhaps someone else needs to be the single point of contact if they can’t be that true “single voice” on projects.

Just my 2 cents.

3 Likes

… and maintain a paper trail. e-mail is your best friend (aside of Google).

I agree that a single point of contact is usually best since it can simplify the relationship by establishing a one-on-one relationship instead of negotiating with various people who’s viewpoints, understandings and opinions muddy the water.

On the other hand, it’s often beneficial to establish multiple relationships with various people in a company. That way, if the main point of contact quits, there’s a good chance the client-designer relationship will survive since the designer is a well-known vendor within the company.

I’m currently working with a company where I’m communicating with five different people and getting sucked into back-and-forth email exchanges between them. Each has an area of expertise on a fairly technical project that directly pertains to the job. Each needs to be involved since each plays a different role that the others aren’t especially familiar with. If I needed to go through only a middle person for everything, the job would become very inefficient very fast. In this situation, even though it’s a contract freelance job, I’m considered part of the team and need to be involved with the team.

Like most things, there’s not a one-size-fits-all rule, but I’ve found that in most situations a single point of contact works best and keeps things moving along.

2 Likes

My workplace has a similar policy to @CraigB. One of our sales reps will be sure to set up the job ticket with clear indication of who to reach out to to discuss the project and sometimes even say who not to discuss the project with.
There are many times where I will email the main contact provided to me but the response I receive will have one or more additional ccs. This is fine and I will ‘reply all’ but usually I will only direct emails to my main contact. Also if I receive an email from one of the other contacts I very quickly discern if it is directed to me or not. If not for me then I ignore it but save it for record.
Honestly the worst is when I’m in an email thread of main client, client’s colleague, sales rep, printing vendor, and me. :confounded:

What I wouldn’t give to go back to a situation with a single point of contact. Under contract as part of a product development team, each of my projects has a primary owner, but all my output is subject to multiple formal reviews by Corporate Quality Assurance, Corporate Legal, the given project’s mechanical, electrical, and embedded software engineers, the technical support team, Global Standards Compliance, the Product Manager, and two proofreaders. When I first started, straight approvals without change requests were very rare, but over time, I’ve gotten that up to maybe 60-65%. It can get grueling.

©2020 Graphic Design Forum | Contact | Legal | Twitter | Facebook