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Re: How to get a Dormant Contract closed - Unresponsive Client

Community Guru
Setu M Member Since: Jan 26, 2014
1 of 53

*** Since this post keeps getting referenced and read, I assume it is of some help; so I will do an ongoing update with clarification from the community and Garnor in particular.***

 

Hello All,

 

Many proficient freelancers with short term contracts inevitably end up with a few completed but open contracts, due to unresponsive clients who have left the platform or declined to close the contract for reasons unknown to the freelancer. Since the bulk of the burden is now squarely on the freelancer, to ensure that the client closes the contract and leaves a review; I have outlined some steps that can assist in keeping that elusive Job Success score from being in jeopardy if you have done A grade work, but ended up with a C grade client or one ignorant of the importance of following through.

 

1. Contact the client and respectfully request that the contract be closed if there is no immediate plan for any continued work. Also indicate that leaving a fair review helps clients, freelancers and the platform. (Source)

 

2. After waiting for some time (since the client is unresponsive), contact customer service and make them aware of the issue and you would like them to contact the client on your behalf. This sometimes works and your problem is solved. Else....

 

3. After waiting a few more days and no response, contact customer service and indicate that you require them to close the contract on your behalf and mark the job as being completed successfully - since you have evidence to prove this fact. Garnor has indicated that it is not possible for CS to mark a job as "successfully completed."

 

3. If you are forced to close inactive contracts, do NOT close them all at once. Try and leave sufficient time between closing contracts while gaining as much 5* feedback to cushion the blow - law of averages. (Many of our freelancers have shared their experience in this area, and it always shows that low job counts suffer more, so act wisely).

 

 

NOTES

 

- I have been in said situation more than once before and I consider myself a good freelancer.

- I have used said steps more than once successfully.

- I am providing this information because most freelancers do not know they can request customer service to close a contract for them.

 

Why is this important? All the following factors negatively affects your Job Success score in decreasing order.

 

- If a freelancer closes a contract. (leading to the absence of client feedback)

- If a client closes a contract and it is marked as not completed successfully.

- If a client closes a contract but leaves no review. (A client must leave a feedback once he/she closes a contract - which is why it is important to avoid doing it yourself.

- If a client does not close a completed and inactive contract after a prolonged period.

 

Therefore it is best to chose the lesser evil.

---- easy like Sunday morning ----
Community Leader
Garrett M Member Since: Feb 13, 2015
2 of 53

Yeah man, i have 3 or 4 clients that will leave the contract open forever. they will randomly contact me for some little task too. its like they want to keep me on call or something.

Community Guru
Setu M Member Since: Jan 26, 2014
3 of 53
Hi Garrett,

Having those 3 or 4 clients giving you periodic tasks is a good thing. It counts towards long term clients. and that is positive.

Keep in mind though that if such a contract ends without a review, it is weighted even heavier; because it would seem that after all this time the client is unsatisfied with your work. Try not to let that happen.
---- easy like Sunday morning ----
Community Guru
Stephen B Member Since: Dec 4, 2012
4 of 53

Easy like sunday morning maybe - but to me it seems a very convoluted way of going about things, when if you do what I do you may have it sewn up by Friday night. I have the same problem. So I oDesk-message the client and ask them respectfully to close and give mutual feedback; and that, as you realise they may have left the platform, you will close the contract yourself after (say two weeks-give a date).

 

On or after the said date, close the contract yourself, ticking "project completed successfuly" and giving whatever stars and feedback you feel appropriate.

 

I do this for one old job after every five or so good 5-star closed contracts so that they merge in with my job history.

 

All I can say is (a) I've done this several times since the dark scores were introduced, and my dark score has only gone up; and

 

(b) When I gave a detailed response exactly the same as I have outlined above on another thread, it was given kudos (I refuse to say k*doed) by one of the mods.

 

PS I call it the dark score because it's like dark matter - it's all pervasive and everywhere around us, but nobody actually understands what it is or how it works...

Community Guru
Setu M Member Since: Jan 26, 2014
5 of 53
Stephen,

The moving average has yet to kick in those contracts you have closed. In any case having a whopping sample of 267 jobs under your belt, something like this would barely affect your JS any time soon.

I doubt that would be the same for us mere mortals with out small sample size.
---- easy like Sunday morning ----
Community Guru
Suzanne N Member Since: Aug 15, 2012
6 of 53

@Stephen B wrote:

 

 

(b) When I gave a detailed response exactly the same as I have outlined above on another thread, it was given kudos (I refuse to say k*doed) by one of the mods.

 


 Stephen,

 

I know this is off topic, but I find it fascinating the forum on the left hand side even said kodoed posts

 

Interesting information:

 

Kudos comes from Greek and meansglory.’ Despite appearances, it is not a plural form. This means that there is no singular form kudo and that use as a plural, as in the following sentence, is incorrect: he received many kudos for his work (correct use is he received much kudos for his work).

 

http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/us/definition/american_english/kudos

 

And if you search online kudoed is slang it is not the proper usage

 

 

 

Community Manager
Garnor M Community Manager Member Since: Oct 29, 2014
7 of 53

Hi Setu,

Thanks for posting. 

 

First, we acknowledge the core issue you've highlighted here. That is, unresponsive clients who don't leave final ratings are problematic. However, I'll reiterate that for the vast majority of freelancers these don't factor into your Job Success score because the "no feedback" jobs are such a small portion of your overall track record. In fact we specifically ensure these jobs have no negative impact on your Job Success score. It appears many freelancers may be overstating the significance of this scenario.

 

For others, where the job is ongoing, a long history of work with a client indicates to us there's a good relationship and you're gaining the benefit of this long-term engagement and not getting negatively impacted by a lack of final ratings.

 

However, when a freelancer has a disproportionately high share of "no feedback" jobs it constitutes a pattern which reflects itself in the Job Success Score.

 

-------------------------------

Now, to dig into a couple of the points you outlined in your post:

 

Your first suggestion here is great! We encourage all freelancers to heed this advice: 

 

That is: Contact the client and respectfully request that the contract be closed if there is no immediate plan for any continued work. Also indicate that leaving a fair review helps clients, freelancers and the platform.

 

The steps that follow however, (contact Customer Support to help get your contract closed) won't necessarily help. Even if  our Customer Support team actually closes the contract (which they sometimes do), this not going to affect the final ratings on the job. Because CS cannot mark it as "completed successfully" or give final ratings, you're not going to gain any benefit in your Job Success score.

 

Finally, you've listed four factors as negatively affecting your Job Success score. There's some misinformation there, so I'd like to clarify:

 

  1. If a freelancer closes a contract, it does not directly impact your Job Success score. The absence of client feedback might, just like in the case when Customer Support closes the contract. 
  2. If a client ends a contract, they can't avoid leaving final ratings. We force them to leave a review. That is why freelancers are better off asking the client to end the contract. 
  3. Yes, prolonged periods of inactivity on a job are bad, but not prolonged, active contracts. If you're earning money and working on a job for a long period of time, (regardless of whether or not you get those end of contract ratings) that's actually a good thing and will reflect positively in your Job Success score.  

 

I hope this helps address and clarify some of the points you've listed. 

 

 

 

Highlighted
Community Guru
Setu M Member Since: Jan 26, 2014
8 of 53

Thank you clearing up some of the misconceptions Garnor.

 

I was given the understand on two separate occasions from CS reps explicitly that they had closed my contract and marked it as 'successfully completed'. Nevertheless it is good to now know that closing a contract (though last resort) is not as detrimental as originally thought.

 

Also important to note is that this overwhelming fear in the community of negatively affecting ones JS score is primarily due to the ignorance that freelancers are kept in, regarding the extent to which various aspects of a project affect the overall profile.

 

I hope this fear can be dissipated sooner than later.

---- easy like Sunday morning ----
Community Guru
Stephen B Member Since: Dec 4, 2012
9 of 53

"Also important to note is that this overwhelming fear in the community of negatively affecting ones JS score is primarily due to the ignorance that freelancers are kept in, regarding the extent to which various aspects of a project affect the overall profile."

 

I think here we're in total agreement, Setu. freelancers are coming on here and givng their own verons of events to help the community try and piece together the magic formula. I agree theresult has been a lot of fear introduced, leading to reluctance on the part of many freelancers to do things they wouldn't have thought twice about before. it has to be dragging the community down, and it's certainly bringing overall morale down.

 

An analogy. In Ireland we have  a motoring penalty points system. One or two points for minor things like speeding, bad parking, more for more serious infringements. Twelve points and you're off the road. Occasionlly new offences are introduced and these are announed to the motoring public before they are implemented. I'm sure there's a similar system in many other countries/areas.

 

So now imagine - they introduce a bill whereby from now on points are given according to  a secret code that not even the [police] giving out the points know the scores of. And secret cameras can record offences without your knowledge, and add points to your licence. You only get told what the point score is, but not what the infringements were. Of course everyone says "it's a mistake, I never drive over the limit/use my mobile/rush a red light. and everyone has their own theories about how to avoid points/what offences incur the worst penalties, etc. But noone really knows, and there's no redress. If you're on eight points you nearly don't dare to move the car out of the driveway for ear that some camera will film you committing an offence, and slap extra points on accordingly.

 

The upshot: everyone drives at 30 mph, the roads are clogged, tempers are frayed, road rage is epidemic, and the economy grinds to a halt due to decreased productivity.

 

It's wrong, wrong, wrong. Secret scores are spreading nothing but fear, confusion and plummeting morale. have a score system, by all means, but it's got to be transparent.

 

 

 

 

Community Guru
Setu M Member Since: Jan 26, 2014
10 of 53
Spot on analogy Stephen, summed it up quite well. Even has the same humour to it.

I think you should consider being a Wr*ter.
---- easy like Sunday morning ----
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