3 Tips for Juggling Your Vacation and Your Clients
We're heading into Labor Day week, the last hurrah for summer vacations. It has been a crazy year for interior designers and we need every bit of time off that we can get. But how do you juggle your clients AND your vacation?! How do you keep those clients happy and keep those projects moving, so you don't come home to a disaster? I have 3 tips that I use to make sure that my clients are fine while I take a much-needed vacation.
1. Be Prepared
The MOST important thing you can ever do to keep your clients happy is to communicate with them as often as possible. And that's especially key when you have a vacation looming on your calendar. I like to plan my vacation weeks at the beginning of the year. That way I can tell my clients months in advance which dates I'll be out of town. And I will remind them as we get closer to the date, bringing it up when appropriate in our emails and meetings. As we get closer to the actual time I'll be out of the office, I will give them more info about the dates I'm gone and what they can expect when I return. Lots and lots of communication will keep you out of trouble every time.
2. Set Boundaries
No one likes to get business texts and emails while they're out of the office. So you have to set boundaries - with your client AND with yourself! You need to tell your client that you will not respond to them while you're out of the office, that you're taking a digital break. And then you HAVE to stick to that! Do not open your email and do not respond to anything that isn't life-or-death. And let's be honest, in our business nothing really is. Fight the urge to check in. You are never really "off" when you do that. So you have got to be sure that you respect those boundaries as much as you want your client to.
3. Provide Backup
Obviously you should have some sort of backup for your clients. Maybe it's the contractor, maybe it's your assistant or team, or it could even be a colleague. Or maybe you set up an automated email to go out during the week that you're gone, detailing any updates. The key is not to leave your clients hanging. If they do have an issue or something that they want to talk about with someone on the team, you do want to have something in place so they aren't calling your cell unless the house is actually on fire. And put a process in place so that your backup person knows when you want them to call, and when you do not.
My very best advice is to do your best to completely unplug without letting your clients feel abandoned. It will be better for you - and for their project - if you can get the rest and relaxation that you need.
In order to keep that communication going, check out my NEW Client Communication Tools! They'll keep your clients feeling important, in the loop, and super excited about working with you!