• Phyllis Harbinger

Mitigating Bad Client Reviews and Creating a Great Client Relationship

Updated: Feb 2

Every creative, especially those of us that are also business owners, strive to go above and beyond for our clients. When I hear stories from friends and colleagues about horrible client experiences, it feels very foreign to me but alas, it is happening to people on a daily basis. In recent years, many of your prospects have been looking for reviews on your services on social media platforms such as Facebook, Yelp, and the like.

For instance, did you know that clients are twice as likely to share a bad experience than they are to sing your praises when things go well?

It is a known fact that for every complaint, there are approximately 25 other clients that are not happy but have not shared this with the business or others. To make matters worse, a business needs twelve positive client reports to make up for every negative experience! Two-thirds of clients here in the US ceased to work with a firm due to a sub-par client service experience.

For me, the human experience is paramount in a high-end luxury design business. Even in my coaching and strategy business, having the human connection, whether it is by phone, video or in-person, is truly important to the overall success of our client relationships. There is a connection that cannot be mirrored by an automated system.

I abhor the auto response systems that many firms have employed to deal with the ever-growing client service needs. I am constantly waiting for a live representative to answer my questions and deal with the issues at hand. Did you know that by next year, major brands will have clients manage all but 15% of their relationship with a company without ever interacting with a live representative.


Poor client relationships can certainly be a major source of lost revenue and can this can be avoided if you have the right systems and people in place. Good for us that most Americans feel that smaller firms do a better job with client relations than the big brands. Running your business with the client at the forefront of all decisions is the best way to keep them happy and engaged. They will also be happy to refer you!

Always remember that LISTENING is the most important skill when dealing with a client. They need to be heard. They need to be acknowledged. They need to know you understand (whether or not you agree with them). Sometimes you may be at fault and sometimes it is a vendor. Other times, you did nothing wrong, but the client sees it differently. Let the client know that you will address the issue and take care of things. This is what sets you apart and why clients will continue to trust you!

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