Coming out of a slump... Client relations

Hey Folks. Due to personal circumstances and some medical issues, I went into kind of funk for several months. As a result, I have admittedly dropped the ball a bit in relationship to some of my clients. I upheld my obligations but at a “bare minimum” kind of level. I haven’t been doing my best work or going that extra mile. I’ve just been off my game and I think it’s shown.

The good news is I’m feeling must more like myself and much more back on my game. My question is: Should I acknowledge this slump with some of my regular clients? I don’t mean all or even most of them. But there are a couple regular, returning clients I’ve had a pretty confidential relationship with in the past who I feel I’ve alienated a bit. Is it reasonable to approach them and briefly acknowledge I’ve been off my game and actively try to mend fences? Or should I simply make myself available with my renewed vigor and hope for the best? Thanks!

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My gut reaction is that this is not only perfectly acceptable, but it’s probably the best course of action.


I think this is a great question and I think taking an active stance is what I would opt to do. I would also advise not to over-do it. Don’t get super negative or self-defeating and destroy yourself in front of them or anything. Apologize in a genuine and concise way and let them know you’re back in the saddle and willing to work hard, etc etc!

Also, I put a big emphasis on community, so I suggest you come back on here after you make your choice and let us know how it plays out!

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I don’t think you need to go into detail, but I think it’s perfectly fine to tell an established client you know and respect that you’ve been dealing with personal issues, which have affected your ability to provide the kind of attention you would normally have expected from yourself. If you accompany this with assurances of being back and track and ready to go, I think it could work out fine.

Obviously, you’ll need to tailor your message to whomever you’re talking to, but people are generally understanding — especially when they’re spoken to honestly and candidly. Almost everyone has issues they deal with in their personal lives. When you invite carefully chosen people to see that hidden part of yourself, it shows that you’re entrusting them with something important. Most people, I think, respect that and will reciprocate in a positive way.

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I agree. No self-flagellation or cravenness. But just a simple, clean, conversation.

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Contacted via email. Setting up a time to talk. I think it will be fine. Thanks for the input folks!

After an initial agreement with my main contact at the company to talk via phone, she never seemed to find a time. Then through my second contact I learned they’ve hired a new marketing director who came with a lot of her own graphics team. I’m sure my flakiness didn’t help matters but apparently there were things going on at the company that had nothing to do with me… Which is kind of an important lesson. Don’t assume it’s always about you!

An important lesson indeed. I’m glad to see how the story played out. Thanks for sharing it with us.

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