Managing unhappy web design clients in 2021

Aug 1, 2021

We all know from experience that it is unrealistic to think you can meet everyone’s expectations at all times.  We do our best and look forward to any positive feedback when the project is completed.  Sometimes, however, we experience an unhappy client.  Today’s post will be a discussion regarding managing unhappy web design clients.

Provide the client with a terms agreement:

How we deal with others is a huge part of our business.  It becomes worse when the client chooses to place their grievance online for all to see.   A professionally written terms and conditions agreement can protect your brand from unwanted and unsubstantiated claims online.  Having the prospective client read and sign the agreement prior to work beginning is a step that will pay off moving forward.  Any client will appreciate understanding the design process and what they can expect.  This agreement spells out for the client and the designer, the terms which will be followed for the completion of the design work   A contractual agreement could easily clear up misunderstandings based upon the working schedule and other design issues of contention.

What could go wrong and who is to blame?

When disagreements arise, it is human nature to find someone to blame.  Without the right terms of use agreement and disclaimer information signed by the client, you are leaving yourself open to legal claims.  In the terms agreement, you can spell out in detail what your responsibility is and what input is allowed from the client during the design phase.  Additionally, following the great advice available online from others experiencing unhappy web design clients will help you through these difficult times.
Once the site is completed, you may decide to turn over all admin rights to the client.  If this is the case, your liability ends.  The client (as the administrator) has the responsibility to take over completely and make comments, make changes, updates, etc.  Your design shop has been used only to create a design and turn this over to the client.  WordPress sites can be easily managed by the site owners when completed.  Your part of the work is done.
For those clients who wish you to remain involved, it is best to limit the client’s access to the website control panel.  As the administrator (webmaster) you can limit the access to that of an editor which allows them to make small changes but they will have no ability to compromise the design features.  It keeps them away from sensitive areas which could be compromised.  Remember if your brand is mentioned on the website footer area, you may be held responsible for anything that shows up on the site.

What not to do:

Don’t panic and never take the issue as personal or get defensive.  Managing unhappy web design clients should be taken seriously.  This could easily turn into a shouting match by email.  This is hurtful to both you and the client.  We have seen how these negative issues can quickly become larger.  It is human nature to blame others when things go wrong.  The best scenario is to do your utmost to come to an amicable agreement that will make the client happy.

Handling bad Google reviews online:

We know that anyone can write a bad Google review about your company even if it is a bogus review and completely fabricated.  There are those bad actors that are being paid to do this so it is important that you check your Google reviews often.   If you see a bad review you must investigate immediately and find out if it is really one of your clients.  If so you should do everything you can to answer the review and explain the circumstance.
Unfortunately, it is almost impossible to remove or delete bad reviews written about your company.  Google is most concerned with preserving their integrity and has no way to verify who is your client or someone fabricating a bad review. The good news is that most issues can be easily rectified. If the bad review is actually a “real” client,  It could be something as simple as a client who has experienced a bad customer relationship in the past and is reluctant to trust again. When this happens, the best scenario is to answer any questions or concerns immediately during the design phase.

The rewards from happy web design clients:

As your brand grows stronger and as you add more positive web design clients to your design family you will reap the rewards.  We all want to do business with those we trust, and happy clients are the first to sing our praises.  They also feel confident in referring us to others needing web design.  Managing unhappy web design clients may be necessary from time to time but it is definitely not the norm.
The majority of our clients are wonderful and easy to work with.  They are excited and happy with the creative and modern designs we create.  We are blessed to have these many happy clients and appreciate all of their great feedback.
Thanks for stopping by today.  Stay tuned as our Design Wizards at Inside Design Orlando provide more news and views throughout the year.  Enjoy the last breezes of summer as August comes around.  It has been a great year and we are feeling that design work is returning “slowly” to normal again.  We hope you are experiencing the same.
Keep in touch and stay tuned as we launch the new websites for DAO Consulting and JRDIT IT services during the month of August.
Jean Holland-Rose
Chief Creative Officer & SEO Professional
Inside Design Orlando
An Orlando Website Design Company


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