Freelancing offers a lot of rewards, but it's challenging to do everything on your own. Knowing when to reply to any given email is another, but developer lePunk found that your instincts rarely give you the right answer.
Picture: Alexander Sherstobitov/Shuterstock
To start, he suggests waiting a couple of hours before sending a reply when a customer asks you a question and you immediately know the answer:
When I know the exact solution [to a customer problem] I usually wait at least 2 hours to reply? Why? Because otherwise the customer will think this is a real time conversation and you will end up with an endless thread of questions. A two hours delay won't make him loose faith in your company but it is enough time to let him realise that you have other customers to take care of.
If you're worried you might forget, that's all the more reason to keep a clean inbox (but apps like Mailbox and Boomerang can help reschedule those messages). If you don't know the answer, however, lePunk suggests responding immediately.
Inevitably it's going to take you some time to figure out the answer, so letting the client know you're working on the issue makes a big difference. Obviously these two rules don't apply to every kind of client email you'll receive, but demonstrate why you would want to avoid your instincts in many situations. In general, it's not a bad idea to think about the optimal response time when getting back to a client, regardless of why they're sending you a message.
For more freelance tips, check out the full post on lePunk's blog.
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