Bad things happen in the dark

InsomniaWhen you think about it — being in the dark is always scary. When you were a kid, laying in bed and you heard a strange noise in your closet or under your bed you never thought to yourself, “hey, I bet there’s an ice cream sundae making machine in there!”

No — it was always a monster, a giant spider or a deranged killer.

There’s something about being in the dark that makes us feel vulnerable and afraid.  And that doesn’t seem to change as we get older.

Guess what — the same thing happens to us when we’re kept in the dark on a project.  And yet…one of the biggest and most common mistakes that businesses make every single day is that we under communicate.

When the project is just cooking along, we’re busy doing the work.  But what we forget is that our client is on the other side of the equation, wondering how things are going.  They need reassurance that something is happening and everything is on schedule and going according to plan.

But few businesses have “check in” points, where they just report back to the client. And it’s even worse if there’s trouble.  Then the silence is deafening.

If you want to increase your client satisfaction and retention — increase your communication.  The longer your processes are — the more communication check points you need.  Don’t  make a client ask you for an update.  Set a regular schedule (might be once a day, once a week, etc.) so they know when they’re going to hear from you.

Even if the update is as simple as “everything is on schedule and going fine” it will go a long way to keeping that client feeling like you have everything in hand and they don’t need to worry.


Photo courtesy of

8 comments on “Bad things happen in the dark

  1. joe says:

    Great post, nothing blows out of control as to size, severity and consequences as does a project message is not sent for updates.

    Right on the button, when in doubt, worry!!

  2. I totally agree. no news is not good.

  3. Maven says:

    Don’t hide under the table and ignore their call when there’s trouble. It’ll make things worse than they actually are. Always communicate with clients and don’t keep them guessing.

    1. And sometimes — even when you have nothing to say — you need to tell them that there’s no news.


  4. I totally agree, Drew. Sometimes clients just want to know that you haven’t forgotten about them. Even if there’s no major progress on a project, the reassurance of knowing that you’re working on it is enough.

    1. Jordan,

      Sometimes you need to simply say — everything is on track, nothing new to report. It’s reassuring, as you say. And when they know you’re checking in, even when you have no news, they won’t worry about whether or not you’ll check in if there’s trouble.


  5. Drew, great post. Nothing annoys me more than when I hire someone to have a project done and they never communicate with me! So if that is how we feel when something is being done for us, how much more should that teach us to communicate with our own clients.

    1. Scott,

      Bottom line — we can’t over-communicate. Even if we try!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *