5 Tips for Handling Client Complaints Gracefully

One of the most terrifying parts of being a freelance writer is the notion that at any point, a client could call, IM or email you and say something alone the lines of, “This is completely not what I want. Change it immediately.” This is especially scary if you’ve just paid all your bills and you don’t even have ramen noodles to eat. When you need the job, you need to deal with the client’s complaints. But you also have to stay cool. Clients are like dogs — they can smell your fear. The following tips will help you a lot.

Don’t Take Complaints Personally

It’s easy to think that every complaint a client has is specifically about you. It almost never is. Your client isn’t saying anything bad about you as a person, just about a particular thing you’ve written for them.

Clarify Precisely What the Client Wants

A lot of complaints come down to miscommunications. This is the best time to get specifics in writing, along with detailed explanations. This way your client can’t double back and get twice the work for a low price. While most clients won’t do such a thing, there are some who will. Only give a client one piece of free work before you cut them off for good.

Clarify the Nature of the Complaint Request

Sometimes a client has already mentally moved on to the next project when they see the finished draft of what you’ve been working on for awhile. Simply asking this question occasionally gets a surprised moment followed by the fact that it’s actually the latter. There is no shame in this mistake — if all else fails, it’s more paying work

Consider Your Rates

The fact of occasional corrections and rewrites needs to be factored into your pricing. Corrections happen, as do miscommunications. For that matter, difficult and nitpicky clients (who tend to operate more at the lower price ranges) also need to be kept in mind when you’re pricing your work. If you charge too little, you’ll get people who don’t consider your time valuable.

Remember – It’s Not About You

Often you’ll start out writing a piece as if it were you who was going to use or sell it. This goes back to clarifying what the client wants. They’re picking up the tab, so they need to be satisfied. You can think it’s utter crap, but if the client likes it everybody’s happy.

There are lots of ways to react when a client complains about your work. Just seek to understand their problem without getting emotional over it, and you’ll be fine.

Guest post by Latosha Eckler who loves writing about finances, technology and anything that has to do with money. Most of the time her clients are happy, but on the occasion they’re not she knows not to take it personally. Just rewrite and move on.



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