Whether you’re a new freelancer or a well-established one, you’ll most likely encounter feedback from clients. It might be through a freelancing platform, your personal website, an email, or in-person. Either way, you need to know how best to deal with feedback to avoid getting frustrated or down-heartened. So today, we’ll look at how to deal with various kinds of freelance feedback.
First, let’s consider how to deal with positive feedback. This might seem like a no-brainer. But how you deal with good feedback is more important than you might realise. It shouldn’t just be a case of thinking: that’s nice, on to the next one. Instead, you should take the time to appreciate it—give yourself a pat on the back, pay close attention to the wording to see what you did well, and use it discover your strengths. It’s also a chance to thank the client for their kind words and say you’d love to work with them again, because return clients are a great source of regular freelance income.
Bonus tip: Keep a log of your positive feedback for times when you’re feeling blue, and use it to regain your confidence.
This is the most difficult kind of feedback to deal with, because—let’s be honest—most of us don’t like taking criticism. Bad feedback forces you to take a long, hard look at yourself, and that’s not something most of us enjoy doing. So, first, try to avoid seeing it as a personal attack or a reflection of what you’re like. Instead, reframe it as a comment on your behaviour, not your personality. See it as a learning tool, a chance to improve, and a weakness that you can turn into a future strength. Then turn that feedback into positive action.
Bonus tip: Thank the client for their useful comments and tell them you plan to use them to improve in future, when you’d love to welcome them back to see the improved version.
This kind of feedback is also challenging, because deep down you know you did a good job and the client was unreasonable. In these situations, you can contact the client and ask whether they would like to discuss the issue openly and honestly, then ask them to revise their feedback once you’ve agreed on what went wrong. Or if it’s evidently unfounded and incorrect, you can ask the website to remove it.
Bonus tip: As annoying as it is, some clients won’t recognise their role in events that go wrong, so if you can’t have the feedback removed or changed, respond to it with your polite and well-worded version of events.
Some negative feedback (albeit, not all of it!) is less about you than the person dishing it out. In these cases, the feedback is often personal and might involve swearing, abuse, or name-calling. And if you look at feedback the person has left for others, it’s often very similar. This kind of feedback isn’t helpful, because it doesn’t give you a chance to improve. In these cases, contact the person and ask them whether they could revise the feedback to be more practical so you can offer a better service in future.
Bonus tip: If the feedback is offensive, you can contact the freelancing site or testimonial company to have the feedback removed.
Acting on feedback
The important thing with feedback is to act on it, whether that’s consolidating and improving what you do well or fixing something that could be done better. Whether it’s a positive or negative comment, there’s always something you can learn from the experience to improve your future service offerings or way of dealing with clients.
A feedback question for you…
On the subject of feedback, I recently had a helpful comment from a subscriber that I post articles too often for busy freelancers to read. I’d assumed that posting regularly was helping people, but the comment made me realise that it can be difficult to find time for so much content. Acting on the feedback, I’ve decided to reduce the articles from three per week to one a week.
My question to you is: How many articles would you like per week?
Are you happy with one per week, plus an additional freelance news round-up and insider interview once a month? Or would something else be more useful? And what day of the week do you like to read new articles on?
Please let me know below or by getting in touch. Your feedback is really appreciated!