Everyone has projects which simply do not work. You are trying to do everything perfectly, but miss communication, short deadlines or underestimating the task is not allowing you to deliver quality on time.
Sometimes it’s just the customers character. Some people are never happy, always want to receive more and to pay less or just can’t explain what they need.
It’s usually not only your neither only client’s fault. But some projects just fail. Boring.
If you’ve never had a failed project, you are a lucky freelancer.
What Happens When A Project Fail?
Depending on your relationships with the client a failed project can bring more or less damage t both of you.
Just think about this:
- Loss of time. Either you are paid partially or not paid at all. In both cases you’ve worked more and received less than planned. This is bloody irritating.
- Loss of relationship. If this client planned to work long term with you, just one failed project can keep them away.
- Frustration and lack of self-confidence. When I fail a project I usually feel I have been incompetent to do it. Even when I know it was a customer’s fault, it’s still raises questions about my ability to handle though projects
- Bad reputation. Some unhappy customers will not only walk away, but can leave bad feedback about you. They can do it in a freelance site if you have worked thru such, or just in various forums and online communities.
It’s definitely something you would want to prevent.
How And Why To Keep These Customers Happy?
It’s really hard to keep someone happy when his project is failed. Put yourself in their shoes. How can you be satisfied when you have counted on something and it did not happen?
If you can help the customer to accept the situation and move on, you can avoid the negatives and even gain future credibility. A well threated client will even get back to you regardless of the failed project.
Here are some steps you need to take:
- Confess your mistakes. If you have not done something correctly or just not taken the project seriously enough, be honest and say that to your client.
- Don’t blaim the client. Freelancers often thinks the clients are incompetent or even stupid. This is quite hars and one-sided point of view. The client does not need to know the technical aspects of your job. Don’t blaim them for that.
- Explain why the project failed. Besides just confessing your mistakes, try to objectively review the work process and explain the customer why and where the project got broken.
- Give ideas what to do. If you have any idea what could be done to save the project, go ahead and propose it. It’s not wrong to suggest another professional or just to point out the customer to Elance.com
Keeping the failed project customer happy demonstrates high level of professionality. If you can undertake your current frustration and ego and stay objective and friendly, you’ll gain long term profits.
Filed under: Communicating with clients