4 Quick Tips On How To Handle An Upset Client.

By Yam Regev, CMO


 Aug 1, 2014


Every designer puts their heart and soul into their projects, so it can hurt quite a bit when a client responds with negative feedback. The crucial part is how you react to such events – and it needs to be with professionalism and responsiveness. Staying diplomatic when you feel you've been attacked can be difficult. These helpful tips help you keep your cool and remain professional.



1. Don't Get Defensive, Remain Professional.


First off, stop and take a deep breath. Don't take the negative feedback personally, and take a few moments to remain calm. Lashing back with an angry email will only cause further problems down the road, sour your relationship with your client, and could even damage your reputation. Gathering your composure is an important first step to responding calmly.



2. Find Out The Source Of The “Problem”.


Find Out The Source Of The “Problem.”


Don't just ignore the feedback – in most cases, their mind won't change magically, until you speak to them about the issue. Politely request clarification on the reason for the feedback. Most of the time, clients will generalize an issue, which magnifies the negativity of the criticism. Asking for specifics gives you the chance to offer tailored solutions, and to salvage the situation in a professional manner.



3. Explain Your Process, Reasoning, And Experience.


Explain Your Process, Reasoning, And Experience.


On some occasions, the change a client requests may not be a very good solution. Explaining your design process and reasoning may help your client see your vision. Follow this 3-step plan to get clients to see it your way:


  • Respond confidently but politely, demonstrating why your decision would be for the better.


  • Display samples of your previous successes and experiences, if any are readily available, to give them similar examples.


  • Reinforce verbally that you were hired by the client to do your best work, and you fully intend to do just that - deliver an amazing project.



4. Back Up Your Decision With Data.


Back Up Your Decision With Data.


Another great method for certain choices can be backed up with data and studies that defend your decision. The majority of clients haven't studied web, color, and user psychology, or best web usability practices. Using examples of other successful websites, or studies and articles, demonstrate to your client why your design includes these principles. When defending your decision in this manner, it is especially important that you do this as calmly as possible, and without talking down to the client. Nothing will sour a relationship with a client faster than making them feel dumb.


Don’t let sour client comments shake your confidence or ruin your day. Instead, rescue and even enhance the relationship, using your superior leadership skills.

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