A 5 Step Framework for Dealing with Unexpected Client Feedback

Brad Bartlett
3 min readMar 7, 2024

Don’t let client feedback derail you.

If you’ve been in the game for a while, you know that client feedback is a normal part of our work.

Most of the time, it’s helpful and pushes us to do better. Heck, I welcome feedback — as it often clears up so many issues before they snowball into headaches.

But every now and then, we might get some feedback that catches us off guard.

Trust me, I’ve been there, more times than I’d like to admit. Those “helpful notes” that turn up the temperature and bring out the “HEY, IM THE EXPERT HERE!” Monster.

Over the years, I’ve handled critical feedback in both good and bad ways. Its all helped me learn a few strategies for handling unexpected client feedback.

The goal? To help you navigate the mine field, and show your client that you’re a partner in the process.

1. Keep Your Cool

First things first, don’t panic. Even when it’s an insane, out of left field critique. Just. Don’t.

When that surprising feedback hits your inbox, take a deep breath and remember that it’s not a personal jab at you.

Resist the urge to fire off a heated response. Instead, thank your client for their input and let them know you appreciate their perspective.

Keeping a level head will make the whole process a lot smoother.

2. Get to the Bottom of It

If the feedback is a bit vague or confusing, don’t be afraid to ask for more details.

Drop your client a friendly email or set up a quick call to get a better understanding of their concerns. Usually, 5 minutes face to face heals many ills.

Asking questions shows that you’re invested in delivering the best work possible and helps avoid any misunderstandings.

3. Own It and Offer Solutions

Once you’ve got a clear picture of the feedback, it’s time to acknowledge any areas where you might have missed the mark.

Take responsibility (even if you disagree!) and come up with a game plan to tackle the…

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Brad Bartlett

Professional Freelance Copywriter. (www.bradleebartlett.co) Musings on #freelancing, #productivity, #self-development, and more!