This week Ashton Kutcher shared his personal phone number on SM. Yes, his actual phone number. His intention was to have real contact with his community, and I applaud and appreciate that. Then he got literally thousands and thousands of texts and calls. No surprise there, he had to know that would happen. But for those of us that aren’t publicly broadcasting our contact information, it’s still an oversized example of a problem we commonly face: communication overload. Dealing with that is one of the primary reasons we created Maple Pro, to remain connected to clients but to do it in a productive and efficient way.
Like Ashton, most coaches want to be close to their clients. Being accessible helps to build trust and reinforces to the client they are worthy of someone’s positive attention. That keeps clients focused and moving forward.
As coaches we want clients to know they can reach us, so we share. Our emails. Our messenger IDs. Our office numbers. Our cell numbers. Which is terrific. Until clients start to use them and then really use them. Suddenly info is coming from all sorts of devices and it becomes a task to wrangle it all.
We get exactly what we want, engaged clients who believe in our ability to help and guide them. But we find ourselves available to them all the time and needing to tend to information coming at us from lots of directions. The fear is we might miss something. The reality is we start dedicating more and more time and energy to keeping tabs on all those communication devices. The price for this is that we lose control of our communication stream.
Eventually this keeps us from growing our business – because the more clients we have the bigger the challenge becomes. Or we begin to split our focus, because we have more items to respond to, and the interactions become less meaningful. Or we find that in caring for and supporting our clients we give up time to care and support ourselves. Self-care applies to professionals too!
Our intention was good (support our clients) but along the way we limited our business (because we could only support a few clients) and ourselves (we are always in catch up mode).
Full disclosure: I have found myself in this trap. Loving what I did but finding that how I was doing it didn’t allow me to do it at my best. It’s frustrating and over time, I personally started to resent the emails that I thought were not adding real value to the client’s journey. In truth I was probably equally frustrated that I hadn’t found a way to keep up. Ugh.
When Scott and I discussed interaction with clients in Maple Pro, this is a portion of the lens I brought to the conversation. My goal was to help coaches help their clients but also help themselves.
Having one simple app as the primary place for communication instantly cuts back the clutter in email, SM channels and phone – so no gathering up information from many places. Because the communication is private, it automatically is kept with a specific client – so no additional organizing and filing. The Maple Pro Dashboard updates real time with client messages and shares – so no hunting for what’s new. The Maple app offers the flexibility to receive notifications (or not) based on the settings – so notifications can be controlled. Coaches still have the option to offer an alternative method of communication for “emergencies”, making a client text instantly noteworthy, but not unnecessarily intrusive.
As it turns out Kutcher texted his phone number, but it was his Community.com phone number. (That’s actually an app built specifically for SM influencers to keep in touch with their audiences.) Still a noble aspiration for a celebrity to be in contact with the people who support and admire them, but not the same type of sacrifice as it originally appeared. When we give out our contact info, it is for real and so is the impact on our lives and businesses.
We built Maple Pro to enable real connection, because it is vital for what coaches and practitioners do. At the same time, we wanted to offer a collaboration tool that enabled growth (for both clients and coaches) and self-care, because whether you are the client or the coach, we are all on a journey.