As I make my way past 30 years of experience as a working voice actor, I get to hear plenty of client and agent stories. For example, talents are not taking deadlines seriously or following proper protocols when working with agents. Or talents were whining when they had to do a few revisions.
Remember, every client has the potential to be a client for life. Sometimes ego can get in the way of good customer service. Please don't allow it to get in your way or you could lose a client forever. Following all protocols when working with a client directly or through your talent agent is essential.
My Honeywell client, who has been a loyal customer for ten years, shared some stories of talents they had used in the past who were always late in turning in their projects. I understand that life gets in the way but meeting a client's deadline is vital. If something comes up, communicate with the client about what is going on.
Watch your facial expressions when you're in a directed session with a client via zoom or in person. One of my talent agents told me a story about a talent who continued to roll their eyes when asked to repeat certain script sections. Did they think the client couldn't see them? Why would anyone jeopardize the potential for a long-term client? I don't have the answer but it's bewildering.
I learned the hard way once when a medical narration client sent me the script several days before the session. It was loaded with all kinds of fun medical terms! Most of them I could not pronounce but I allowed my ego to get in the way and shrugged off reading through the script before the session after the client told me to do so! I figured I would be fine, which was stupid. I struggled and stumbled through the session, leaving the client reasonably agitated. My agent had to call the client and smooth things over. If your agent has to constantly smooth things over with your client, you may get booted from the roster.
Here are some simple rules to follow when working with a client. It's common sense stuff all the way, but you would be surprised how often I hear stories about talents who can't get their shit together. Here we go;
If the client wants to direct you via zoom, don't say that Skype works better for you
Always meet the deadlines for all auditions and projects.
Don't whine when asked to do revisions.
Don't be late for directed sessions. The client's time is money.
If you feel uncomfortable with the content of a script, don't accept the job. Listen to your gut.
Do NOT self-direct in a session. You're the voice actor and your client is the director.
Whether it's one, two or even five clients in on the session, make sure and thank them for working with you.
If a client gives you a piece of direction, don't say, "Yeah, I was going to do it that way next." No, you weren't. If that were true, you would have read it that way the first time. Just listen, listen, listen!
Leave money out of any conversations during or at the end of the session. Your agent has already worked out the terms if this is an agency gig.
Unless there is a big typo in the script, don't make suggestions. You are there as a voice actor, not a copywriter.
I hope those were helpful. Remember to treat every client as if they are your only client. Please don't assume they will be asking you back for future work. Do everything to ensure that they do! Following protocols and taking direction well during a session will increase the chances of having this client for life.