Dealing with an Unhappy Client

Tallent Agency VA Services
Dealing with an Unhappy Client, guest article by Alyssa Gregory
of Virtual Assistant Hub

We don’t want to think that we will ever have a client who is less-than-thrilled with our work, but it can happen. Here’s how to deal with it.

Whether it’s from a rare episode of poor work quality or if you’re just having an off day all around, there may come a time when a client calls or emails you with a complaint. Part of being a professional is recognizing the situation and making it better. Here are some easy ways to do that.

Address It

The worst thing you can do is ignore an unhappy client. Ask him or her why he or she is unhappy and what you can do to fix the situation. The longer you wait to bring it up, the worse it can get.

Own Up to It

No one wants to admit you were wrong, but if you were, your willingness to face it head-on will tell the client you care about the project and his or her satisfaction. Accountability is vital.

Fix It

If the issue is unsatisfactory work, do it again and fix the problem. This is the easiest and quickest way to make an unhappy client happy again.

Talk About It

Many problems stem from miss-communications and can be corrected with effort. If you have been handling everything via email, schedule a phone call to see if you can get things cleared up voice-to-voice.

If All Else Fails…

If you’ve done everything you can, but the client is still not satisfied, it may be time to part ways. Be honest, direct and professional.

One way to end a client relationship is by recommending them to another VA who may be able to help them better than you can. This supports someone you respect, gives the client what he or she wants and gets you out of a frustrating situation. It’s a win-win.

by Alyssa Gregory of Virtual Assistant Hub on 29-Dec-2009

Thanks, Alyssa. Very good advice. There are going to be some clients, at least occasionally, that are just a “poor fit”, as well. I have mostly clients I would work with for free if I won the lottery tomorrow, BUT have had a couple of people I just could not seem to work with, no matter what I did. I did as you suggest and found another Virtual Assistant who better suited these personalities and was happy to let go of the stress for both myself AND the unhappy clients.

I take pride in my work and in doing the very best job I can and when I do not feel I am able to deliver this, it is time to move on. I have had mostly happy clients and prefer to keep it that way.

Remember, I am a Virtual Assistant who LOVES to do editing, proofreading and transcription assignments!

Jan Tallent
Tallent Agency Virtual Assistance


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  3. Deborah Says:

    Great tips. Although owning up to mistakes and errors is harder said than done. I would imagine it is hard to swallow one’s pride. I heard that complaints are actually great sources of tips and advice too.

  4. Jan Tallent Says:

    I agree, Deborah. I DO appreciate someone calling my attention to my mistakes, tho – I am putting myself out there as an *expert* and totally hate making mistakes and NOT finding them so I can fix them ASAP.

    thanks for reading and responding!
    Have wonderful holidays ahead and a GREAT new year!

    Jan :-)
    Jan Tallent´s latest blog post Getting back into the Swing

  5. John Warne Says:

    I think if we are not able to resolve the clients complaint then the best option is to suggest them an alternative which will be beneficial to them.

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From the feedback received she decided that since proofreading and editing help was so desperately needed, she should build a business around something she enjoys doing, while at the same time providing a valuable service to business owners and writers.

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Jan Tallent
Tallent Agency
Phone: (636)-259-6920
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