Sometimes clients might be unhappy about the product or service they recevied, but they can't tell you why.  It can be a difficult situation to deal with, but we have some solutions to help you move forward.


  1. Acknowledge that you can't solve the problem if you don't know what it is.
  2. The first thing you should do is try to get your client to communicate with you about their unhappiness or dissatisfaction so that you can better understand what the problem is. You can try asking them questions such as: "What made this experience not as good as it could have been?", "How could we improve?," "What would make this experience better for you?" These questions will help them open up to you more about what they want from their work with your company.
  3. Ask them to walk you through their experience with the product or service, step-by-step (this will help you identify where they got stuck, confused, or frustrated).
  4. Listen and empathize with their concerns and frustrations without jumping to conclusions or making assumptions about how to fix it right away (this could make the client feel as if you're not taking them seriously).
  5. Find out if they have any suggestions on how to resolve the problem, or if they are happy with the outcome of your work so far.

Here are some problem-specific advices.

  1. If the client is unhappy with your work, it's probably best to address the issue immediately. If there was an error in their original instructions or if they misunderstood what they needed from you, let them know so that you can get back on track together. If there was no misunderstanding, then explain why what they requested wasn't quite what they wanted. If you're able to come up with a solution together—perhaps by clarifying what exactly would need to be done differently—then everyone should be happy!  
  2. If the client is unhappy with your work because of how long it took for them to receive it (i.e., delivery time), then this is something that needs to be addressed by both parties in order for everyone involved (including yourself) to feel satisfied with the outcome of their transaction.

Dialogue Example

Client: I'm not sure how I feel about this project.

Freelancer: Can you tell me more?

Client: Well, it was okay. But you know what? It wasn't great.

Freelancer: I see. What made it not as good as it could have been?

Client: Honestly, I don't really know. It just wasn't what I wanted—it didn't match the vision I had in my head for the project. And then when it came out, it was just… okay. Like, nothing special at all.

Freelancer: Okay! So if we were to do another project together, what would be different from this one? How could we improve on your experience?

Email Example

Hi [client name],

I'm sorry to hear that you weren't happy with the work we did. I want to make sure I understand what happened so that I can learn from this and ensure it doesn't happen again. Would you be willing to walk me through your experience?

I'd like to know what caused the issues you experienced. If there's something specific that could have been done differently or improved on, please let me know.