Five simple steps which will help you deal with unsatisfied clients


Upset or unsatisfied clients are something any freelancer has to deal with sooner or later. No matter how professional or hard-working you are, there will be someone who gets upset. It may or may not be your fault, but that’s usually not the point. It is important to act quickly and accordingly to your client’s wishes. Following a couple of simple steps will likely help you change their mood and turn that dissatisfaction into satisfaction.

1. Stay calm

First and foremost, you should keep a cool head. Try to not get personally involved, regardless of your client’s anger. Be the neutral and calm listener, pay attention to what he or she has to say. That kind of attitude will assure your client that you are a) confident in your services and b) not afraid to admit a mistake. Once you have shown that level of professionalism and kept a neutral stance, your client is more likely to trust you with his problem and explain it to you. This is when the next tip comes in handy.

2. Identify the specific problem

Identifying the problem at hand is the most important thing you have to do if you want to salvage the relationship with your client. Don’t be content with vague explanations about what caused the dissatisfaction. Try to figure out exactly what worked out and what didn’t. Miscommunication is often the cause of your client’s anger. Communicate and find out where exactly your expectations did not meet. Only by understanding what went wrong can you fix it.

3. Offer solutions

Now that you are familiar with the exact causes of the problem, you have to come up with a solution. Offer to re-do the project, maybe you have to fix a couple of details or maybe you have to start from scratch. That really depends on the situation at hand. What matters is that you show your client that you know what you did wrong according to them and that you are confident you can fix it. If you are, however, unsure if you can resolve the problem, you can offer a refund and forward them to a colleague of yours who can. That may not always be the perfect solution, but it might save your reputation.

4. Get feedback

Should you get the chance to amend your mistake, you have to double-check with your client as soon as you think you have fixed the issue. In case you identified the problem correctly by communicating with your customer you will get positive answers in most cases. Even then, try to exceed expectations by following up with an apology and possibly, a discount or a gift certificate of sorts.

5. Learn from your mistakes

Once the crisis has been averted, you are almost ready to lean back and take a break. However, there is one last step of utmost importance. Think about your project and the things that went wrong and try to use that information to improve your work. Ideally, you are aware of the specific problem and its cause. Regardless if it was a lack of communication, a technical error or a time-management issue – make sure you learn from the error and try avoiding it in the future. No freelancer makes it to the top without dealing with unsatisfied customers.  Bettering yourself by utilizing the experience from your past is crucial for success.

Always keep in mind: No client is like the other. Different client types request different treatments. But if you understand how to satisfy your clients, your relationship will surely lead into freelance long-term projects!

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