Tips for Freelance Writers: How to Handle a Dissatisfied Client

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I don’t care how wonderful a freelance writer you are, there will be times when your clients are dissatisfied. In fact, some clients make careers out of giving contractors a hard time, so prepare for them to come your way. Unfortunately, you can’t always spot them before you spend thirty hours writing something that they’ve requested.
gt;Start by Asking Questions

Asking your dissatisfied client questions will demonstrate that you care about his or her project. Find out exactly which part of the project your client doesn’t like and inquire about ways to fix it. Further, questions such as What can I do to solve this problem? puts the ball in your dissatisfied client’s court. If he or she can’t tell you what’s wrong, how can you be expected to fix it?

Go Through the Project with Your Client

Pull up the project on your computer while you’ve got your dissatisfied client on the phone. Go through each paragraph (or page, if it’s a long document) and ask for input on each individual section. Make notes on a clipboard or in the document yourself and make sure you understand exactly what he or she wants you to change.

Offer One Free Rewrite of the Work

Unless you already have a clause in your contract regarding rewrites, offer your dissatisfied client one free rewrite to appease his or her concerns. Make sure that you’ve asked enough questions to ascertain where the problem lies and then fix it to the best of your ability. Never offer more than one rewrite, however, because you’ll wind up working on this project until next year.

Refuse to Accept Demands

Some dissatisfied clients will attempt to demand certain things-such as keeping the work for free. Stress the fact that your contract is still in effect whether or not he or she is dissatisfied. If you feel that you truly delivered substandard work, you should rewrite the material for your client, but never give away work for free.

Insist That You Speak by Phone

Dissatisfied clients will be far more bold in an e-mail than they will be on the phone or in person. Don’t give your client the opportunity to complain anonymously. If he or she is dissatisfied with your work, insist that you speak by phone to discuss it. This keeps you both from saying things you’ll regret later.

Don’t Allow the Client to Shake Your Confidence

Every freelance writer has a dissatisfied client every once in a while. It happens. Just because one client proclaims that your work isn’t good doesn’t mean that you should quit writing or that you aren’t fit to be a writer. Remember that everyone is entitled to their opinion, and that you’ve had other satisfied clients in the past.

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