How to deal with an unhappy client


Your client is upset. Angry, frustrated, accusing you of (something). What should you do? 

Well, was it your fault? Did you mess up? Fail to tell them something? Charge more than they expected? 

If it was your fault, let them vent, tell you how they feel and what it will cost them, and what they want you to do. 

Hear them out. Don’t rush them. Let them say what they want to say.

When they’re done, take the blame, explain what happened, apologize, and do whatever it takes to fix the problem.

The only thing worse than having an unhappy client is having an unhappy client who leaves and tells everyone they know about their dissatisfaction with you. 

So, fall on your sword and make them happy. 

The good news is that unhappy clients often become happy, lifelong clients when the attorney apologizes, takes responsibility, and remedies the situation. Maybe they feel guilty for being unreasonable or they’ve simply had time to calm down.

But what if it wasn’t your fault? What if the client was upset about something in their business or personal life and took it out on you? They had a fight with their spouse, lost a bunch of money in the market or a business deal, or they had a flat tire and got grease on their new suit. 

What do you do when it’s not your fault? You let them vent and you listen. Show them you care about them. Offer to help. 

Treat them the way you would want to be treated if your roles were reversed. 

If you do, if you let them blow off steam and tell you what’s on their mind, the odds are they’ll realize that the problem wasn’t your fault, they’ll appreciate you for listening, and realize that they’re the one who needs to apologize. 

An unhappy client is an opportunity—to fix the problem if you were at fault or to be a friend if you weren’t.