Is Listing A Dozen or More Contact Methods Unprofessional ?

  • joebert
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Does it look unprofessional to have 4 or more instant messenger addresses (MSN, GMail, Yahoo, ICQ, etc), a few phone numbers, a website or four, and possibly more contact methods when you're leaving behind details on how someone can contact you somewhere ?

Does it look like the person already has a lot of things to look after, and perhaps they have a tenancy to overwhelm themselves, which would lead to your work getting put off ?
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  • Don2007
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I don't think anyone is going to analyze that deeply. The only reason I would only use 2 at a time, is to keep it short & sweet. Peoples' attention spans last about 30 seconds.
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I agree with Don. Points of contact should be as singular as possible whether for an individual or organization. One email, one snail mail and one phone number.
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Plus if you have bunches and bunches or contact methods, how will you keep track of them all? Having just a few would be easier to manage and would make puncuality in returning calls or emails or whatever faster.
  • camperjohn
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I disagree with all of you. NOT having multiple contact methods is unprofessional.

Having multiple ICQ numbers is unprofessional, but not having multiple methods (ICQ, AIM etc) limits the buyer, not the seller.

Think if you go to buy a car, and they only accept Mastercard, or if you want to buy some gas for that car, and they only accept paypal. Neither of them accept cash.

Have ONE email address, ONE ICQ number, ONE AIM etc, but have all the methods...
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How many instant messengers are there anymore that aren't making it possible to communicate with people on just about every instant messenger there is ?

Quote:
Think if you go to buy a car, and they only accept Mastercard, or if you want to buy some gas for that car, and they only accept paypal. Neither of them accept cash.

That seems like a rather broad interpretation of the idea, but I see your point. Just about every major dealership has a single toll-free number you can call to get ahold of them though. That's almost always what you see in commercials, that, and a website address.
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Sorry, but I consider any IM to be something a pornographer would do. Not a move for someone selling a professional service. I've never seen a respectable programmer or web developer sell themselves through an IM handle.

Everyone has email.
  • Don2007
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That doesn't make sense at all. IM != porn.
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Then it only makes sense to me.

If I was to see someone marketing themselves as a "professional" and listing an IM, I would conclude that it was BS.
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You're probably the only one. I don't have an IM but I don't knock those who do. It's the social networking sites that I think are BS. Don't tell me that you are on myspace & facebook.
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Don2007 wrote:
You're probably the only one. I don't have an IM but I don't knock those who do. It's the social networking sites that I think are BS. Don't tell me that you are on myspace & facebook.


I have a MySpace (I don't use anymore) and a Facebook (I only use for real friends), and I get spammed regurlary by people who send me IM handles - mostly named "Misty" or "Candy".

I am perfectly willing to admit that I am the only one to set a standard, as such. But, what do I know? I only make 4 times as much as other so-called professionals in my area and I haven't missed a paycheck since 1995.


//...and I also have an IM, a couple actually, for established business contacts who aren't wasting my time.
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digitalMedia wrote:
Sorry, but I consider any IM to be something a pornographer would do. Not a move for someone selling a professional service. I've never seen a respectable programmer or web developer sell themselves through an IM handle.

Everyone has email.


I think I can agree that if you are a web developer marketing to regular people, then this is valid. If you are a programmer marketing to web developers, then IM is a good contact method.

But yes, everyone has email.
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camperjohn wrote:
I think I can agree that if you are a web developer marketing to regular people, then this is valid. If you are a programmer marketing to web developers, then IM is a good contact method.

But yes, everyone has email.


I see what you're saying. But, over the years I've known too many people (programmers, developers and designers) who have tried to create a business by doing one-off jobs for people that they hardly know. It just doesn't ever really work. They never seem to get anywhere. There's a lot of arguing, chiseling and trying to get paid. A lot of painful severing of ties.

I hate to see good and talented people get screwed over.

I think we can all agree that the key to success in our industry, beyond providing a high quality service and regardless of our niches, is developing a solid network of business relationships, then nurturing and maintaining those relationships. I just don't see how that network would ever develop through blind IM conversations. That just seems like one would be leaving themselves open to too much frivolity.

Honestly, I wouldn't open up a new business relationship unless someone I worked with and trusted gave me a call and told me to expect another call from so-and-so. Even then, I would avoid one-off contract work unless it was advantageous to my network.

Also, my comment about pornographers wasn't derogatory, at all. I just don't see our industry as one that would work the same way, from the perspective of sales.
  • Don2007
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Digitalmedia, If I understand you correctly, a true professional shouldn't have IM but those idiotic social networking sites are ok? That doesn't make sense at all.

I can't count the times I had to clean my youngest brother's machine (he's 45) from him contracting some type of malware from those sites. It got so bad after awhile, that I had to delete his profile & create a new one.
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Don2007 wrote:
Digitalmedia, If I understand you correctly, a true professional shouldn't have IM but those idiotic social networking sites are ok? That doesn't make sense at all.


I'm afraid you're not understanding me here, sir. I use Facebook to keep in touch with friends and family. That's it. I don't use it for business, at all. I wouldn't do business with someone who initiated contact with me through social networking sites or IM, period.

Don2007 wrote:
I can't count the times I had to clean my youngest brother's machine (he's 45) from him contracting some type of malware from those sites. It got so bad after awhile, that I had to delete his profile & create a new one.


I hear ya. The way to avoid that is by not using every silly app, not signing up for every fan group and not interacting with people whom you don't know. I've hit "Deny" many more times than "Confirm".
  • Don2007
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I guess he didn't do that. I think his machine is on it's way out again. He more or less inherited my mother's laptop, for now. I wonder how long it will take to wreck that.
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Post 3+ Months Ago

digitalMedia wrote:
//...and I also have an IM, a couple actually, for established business contacts who aren't wasting my time.


Same for me. I do not publish any of my IM contacts, I barely login to those anymore as they just waste my time usually. However, there are a few clients/advertisers in the past that I have dealt with soley through IM as that was their preference for communication. If a client requests to use it then I would.
  • cipher
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Unprofessional? Not even close. For one you can aggregate all of your IM accounts into one like Meebo that way you are open to people on any of those networks. To me it is better for a company because it allows customers to have a real time conversation with you. It is the same reason why online banking websites have a "live chat" feature. Are banks unprofessional?

Anything that allows you to communicate [appropriately] and be more transparent to your customers cannot be seen as unprofessional IMO.
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I agree with Dm and BigWeb. I get most of my clients through word of mouth and I like to talk to them on the phone at least once before we start a project and then correspond over email most of the time. I mainly use im for friends, co-workers, and fellow designers and coders.

digitalMedia wrote:
I have a MySpace (I don't use anymore) and a Facebook (I only use for real friends), and I get spammed regurlary by people who send me IM handles - mostly named "Misty" or "Candy".


Oh and Dm you should totally befriend Misty & Candy... both good people. lol
  • devilwood
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Some really good points here.

DM made alot of sense and he never said he used facebook or myspace. I hate businesses that are on myspace. I think it looks unprofessional if a business can't raise enough capital for a domain name and serverspace to actually have their own site.

IMs are loaded down with solicitations which groups them as scammy and unprofessional. If you're a web programmer and want to use an im then write your own or use a secure chat that's housed on your server. When IMs first came out like ICQ I called them net detect agents which always made my skin crawl.

cipher, do you know some banks that use ICQ, MSN, YAHOO, etc? Surely the bank has their online chat download to talk to a rep. I would never talk bank stuff through ICQ.

JUST STICK WITH BUSINESS DOMAIN EMAIL name@mybusiness.com and PHONE. I even hate web contact forms. I wouldn't even think it would be that bad for a gmail extension or let google.com/a handle your business then you can VoIP or video. That's what I do with my clients, bosses, and my high school officers for planning a 10yr reunion this year. If they don't have a webcam then just VoIP or im through google talk. Then, I can invoice using google checkout and get payments all through the same contact. Nothing changes for my clients. I have to start them a google account anyway for analytics, webmaster tools, maps, etc so they just use it once I set them up either via their personal email that they already have yahoo, hotmail,etc or by an initial phone contact.

I also agree that Misty and Candy are very good girls. LOL. I was rolling but DM does make a good point about the porn metaphor.
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Post 3+ Months Ago

As a potential client..
If I have to download an IM to communicate with someone, that is failure right there.

If I have to add someone as a friend to talk to them so they always see when I'm online.. that is failure right there.


The only benefit IM has is the instant replies that email does not have, nor using a form.

But, livehelp type of script = win!
Anonimity and contact!

I personally use a form that either texts me, or emails me based on their choice. Or they can call.

Call > all as text does not convey tone.
  • Don2007
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Post 3+ Months Ago

A call is better than IM if someone actually answers the phone but that's rare these days. Every AV Software company has discontinued phone support. Trend Micro will take your call & have someone call you a few hours later. What good is that? It's the same as someone answering my email a few hours later.

No matter what service is being provided, customers want to hear a voice on the other end of the line. They want an immediate answer one way or the other. I don't think having IM as a secondary choice would scare people away.

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