Hi All. I am Rob Cairns the CEO and Chief Creator of Amazing Ideas at StunningDigitalMarketing.com . Today I wanted to talk about something that is on my mind lately. That is not bashing your clients on social media and how doing this can impact your business. In this episode, I am even going to talk about what to say if the client has made a bad review.
Let’s start talking about the frustration of tough clients. Evert freelancer and agency has them. We have all had horror stories in our businesses. The key is how you deal with this frustration and how you learn from them.
One thing I have noticed lately in certain cycles in business that many business owners in the web development space love to complain about bad clients online. This is a mistake. Do not do this.
The argument often is well these Facebook groups are private or I have my private settings turned on so I can just complain – no one will know.
No one will know is the wrong attitude. This attitude just will not work. Let me explain why.
You post your frustration with the client in a private Facebook group. Person B takes a screenshot of the complaint and then shares it outside of the group. This impacts your reputation and how the client feels about you.
A far better way of doing this would be to contact the client directly. Have a conversation with the client about the issues. If you can not resolve the issue, then its time to move on professionally. Finish the job and when the job is complated do not renew/take on more work from this client. It is not worth the hassle.
Secondly, one thing I always say is to fall back on your contract. Many agencies and freelancers have loose contracts. This is not good and if your contract is not tight you might as well not have one at all. I even have clauses in mine that say if a project goes over certain deadlines because of the customer that the project will cost the customer more money.
One other thing I also suggest you put in a contract is what I call a morality clause. If a client yells or swears at me, I will terminate the contract WITHOUT refund. This is no professional behaviour and one that I will not allow in my business.
Now let us take a step back. When I take on a new client I have a client strategy call with the client. This is to see if we are a good fit for each other. Many times you can see if this potential client is going to be an issue at this time. Now is the time to trust your gut instinct when it comes to choosing clients. The key is to not be in the position where you have to take every job that comes around. Sometimes the work is just not worth it.
The key, in this case, is to just to cut it off right away. Say to the potential client we are not a good fit at this time, be professional and move on. It is really that simple. It saves the bashing that will go on in the future.
Now let’s talk about the client that hires you and bashes you in a negative Google review. The big thing with Google Reviews is you can not delete them. Remember the life of working with the Internet includes good and negative reviews. Remember many people will write unprofessional reviews bashing you, with inaccurate information and some of these reviews might even be fake reviews.
This is not the time to bash a former client or someone that you have done business with. What I would suggest is to reply in an accurate or professional manner. If the review is really over the top you can apply to Google to have the review removed. Good luck with that one as I am still waiting for Google to remove a fake review that had a personal attack on it.
In this case, I did not bash the past client. I pointed out that the client violated his contract and that I would have liked to make him happy if I could have. In this case, the client went past the time for a project and refused to pay the amount in the contract. In my response to the review, I pointed this out in a professional manner and did not bash the client.
A couple of reasons for this. Public bashing can lead to legal lawsuits for slander. The second reason is to use this as an opportunity. By not bashing, I was able to explain in a public forum on my Google My Business page what took place and why. Being professional is always the best course of action.
Remember you have nothing to gain by bashing a client or a prospective client. Just take the high road, hold your head high and move on. More often than not the friction is caused by conflicting personalities or expectations/responsibilities that were not spelled out in detail.
Also, remember to have a signed contract for all work that you are doing for a client. This can save a lot of issues in the long run. Do it right and save the hassles upfront.
As always this is Rob Cairns. If I can help you in any way, please let me know. Have an amazing day and I love you all.
Thank you for listening to the SDM Business, Marketing and WordPress Podcast. This show is hosted by Robert Cairns, the CEO and Chief Creator of Amazing Ideas at StunningDigitalMarketing.com
This podcast comes out every week. It is available on all podcast platforms.
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This podcast is dedicated to Robert’s late father, Bruce Cairns.
Have an amazing week. Keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars. Make your business succeed.