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Hello, I don't have any particular person to post about but I'm seeking advice on what other artists feel about, or how they deal with customers that insist on being in constant communication via an instant message service like Yahoo Instant Messenger or Skype. Particularly if they seem to always be there, always wondering if you're done with the commission yet or not.

I try to keep in touch with the people I'm doing commissions and have been taking strides to be better at it by sending updates by email, and if there is a period of time that I may be busy with something else (such as, most recently, finals week for a collage class I had) I let them know by email and or leave a journal on Furaffinity where they commission me from.

Every once in a while someone would ask to get on my friend's list or request to communicate by Skype and this person will always be there, wondering what I'm doing at all times, and sometimes it gets in the way of actually finishing the commissions. It gets to be intimidating sometimes because it's so frequent that I don't always have something to show, and thus I'm in the uncomfortable position of explaining why I haven't had done any further work yet in wake of spending my day doing other things. Usually when this happens the customer often requests additions to the commission before I'm finished with what was originally agreed to.


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( 30 comments — Leave a comment )
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May. 6th, 2013 07:50 pm (UTC)
When they ask for your IM screennames say no and keep all commission related business to email or note only. Customers are not entitled to this information.
May. 6th, 2013 10:20 pm (UTC)
Sometimes they don't even ask, I think I might need to remove the YIM address from the FA page...
(no subject) - shukivengeance - May. 7th, 2013 12:27 am (UTC) - Expand
May. 6th, 2013 08:03 pm (UTC)
Its up to you if you want to let clients discuss their commission via messenger. If you do, simply put your foot down that no progress has been made and that you will contact them when you have made some.

Do not let them bully you into adding more work onto your plate. They will have to learn to keep their distance and pestering you every moment you get on will not get their image done faster.

If they refuse to abide by your wishes, then refund them and reuse any progress if you can.
May. 6th, 2013 10:24 pm (UTC)
Yeah, it's the main reason I have "one commission at a time" in my TOS... someone originally commissioned me to make something Second Life related, and then added a whole Second Life avatar that kept getting more complex. Meanwhile I'm just trying to concentrate on finishing the original agreement, and I'm not going to do anything else till I'm paid for it.
May. 6th, 2013 08:06 pm (UTC)
I stopped giving out my messengers for this very reason. You have every right to put your foot down and tell them no, you keep your business conversations strictly to email/etc. if they aren't willing to be okay with that, chances are they'll be the sort that is always bothering you on the messenger..
May. 6th, 2013 08:08 pm (UTC)
Don't give out your IM info. I've seen too many horror stories of commissioners using IM as an open invitation to RP, dump personal info on you, or just bug you day in day out.

Customers do not need that information and if you're using a service like Gmail it keeps all your correspondence to a neat little stack.
May. 6th, 2013 08:13 pm (UTC)
You have every right to refuse to give out that info. I don't give out my personal stuff, but recently made an exception, and near instantly regretted it. The person started bothering me daily, asking "what are you up to" which just about always translates to "are you working on my commission"

Save yourself the headache.
Jun. 22nd, 2013 11:51 am (UTC)
This. I've even tried to directly address this "are you working" impression, only to get a response that was along the lines up "but i just wanted to be your friend ;____;" where they seemed offended that I didn't want to talk about what I was doing all the time. In the end, there were no real issues that came of it, but I was just really uncomfortable with the whole thing.
(Deleted comment)
May. 6th, 2013 08:42 pm (UTC)
I actually have it in my TOS not to ask for updates on skype, steam, or other people's streams mostly because I don't keep logs there and also because those are social areas, not business ones (for me anyway). I have a lot of people I already knew that commission me, so I don't want annoyances causing a friendship strain. Have to be firm and tell them no or remove them from your list and tell them the okay areas to contact you.
May. 6th, 2013 10:15 pm (UTC)
Hmm, thanks for the idea, I'm surprised I haven't thought about it as something to add to TOS but that makes perfect sense now
May. 6th, 2013 11:08 pm (UTC)
I don't do IM, or Skype, or Streams or give out my phone number, because it seems to encourage this kind of extremely undesirable behavior. I don't think people necessarily do it because they want to be difficult, but they just get too excited and carried away about their commission. So it's a good idea to keep work and private communication methods separate.

Stick to e-mail for business, it's better for administrative purposes too.
May. 6th, 2013 11:12 pm (UTC)
Under no circumstance do I give out my Skype or Aim to customers. That's is a big no-no in my eyes, and has repeatedly ended up with uncomfortable situations. So now I ask they keep to my work email only.
May. 6th, 2013 11:16 pm (UTC)
I keep all my IM information private and correspond via email, personally. I couldn't handle being badgered constantly about work.
May. 7th, 2013 12:12 am (UTC)
I have a separate Skype account just for business; I do my best to make it known that if you see the account signed in that means I am am available to chat otherwise please note or email me if you have questions.
May. 7th, 2013 12:16 am (UTC)
Speaking as a commissioner, I prefer to work with e-mail anyhow~ Leaves a better record, and encourages patience.
May. 7th, 2013 12:22 am (UTC)
I've had a couple of customers that would IM me before and it always ended in me being really annoyed. I now keep that handle private and have a public one that people can write to me on... but I almost never login. Just when I am bored and NOT working on commissions. I will not chat with customers on IM anymore.
May. 7th, 2013 12:42 am (UTC)
I refuse to discuss commissions over Skype, Twitter, or FA notes. E-mail only, because it's the best way to keep records of the transaction should something go... awry. For this same reason I generally won't commission an artist that only does business through FA notes.

Another reason is that I don't like random furries contacting me for no reason, and turning off FA notes and keeping my Skype private cuts down on that a lot. I get extremely frustrated with people who send me notes or IM me with "hi how are you" like I'm supposed to entertain them. I don't have a lot of patience for social weirdness like that.
May. 7th, 2013 05:16 am (UTC)
I've had this happen a few times and honestly it drives me to my last nerve. I haven't taken down my IM information yet because I'm extremely anxious about having a customer need to contact me urgently or something and I want to always be available for quick questions or something, but having someone constantly checking in through IM is so aggravating and unnecessary, especially when I make a point of responding EXTREMELY quickly to emails, notes on FA, etc.

I'd definitely just remove the IM information and/or block someone when it gets to be too much. I've had to block a few past customers before not because they were rude or abusive or anything but just because, even AFTER their commission was finished, they just insisted on messaging me several times a day for no reason and it got very distracting and upsetting. My email and notes are always open to everyone, even those that have commissioned me in the past, and I don't think anyone is entitled to more than that. Providing alternate routes of contact is a courtesy and a privilege.
May. 9th, 2013 12:15 am (UTC)
"i've had to block a few past customers before not because they were rude or abusive or anything but just because, even AFTER their commission was finished, they just insisted on messaging me several times a day for no reason and it got very distracting and upsetting."

This is why I no longer make my IM public. I am glad that someone was happy with my work via trade or commission, but that doesn't mean we're suddenly friends. It takes time and many conversations (preferably non weird ones X_x) before I venture that with anyone. I don't do free art save for people I've known for a long while or who I am a fan of their work. That seems to be an issue lately on the 'net, people think a correspondence or two equals BFF and it is bad enough when this happens via notes, IM is even worse. Blocking doesn't always work either as I have had a guy go through three different SNs before I just hid myself and limited my IM to buddies only.

I think as long as you politely say "sorry, I don't give my IM/Skype/whatever info out", then they should accept that and bugger off. If they get upset or constantly mention how they wish you would, I would ignore any of those please and finish the commission, unless it gets to be a bit much.
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