When you are into freelancing, you really will not be able to do away with facing and dealing with clients. This is one of the challenging parts of freelancing especially if you are dealing with a problem client and an upset client. We won’t be talking about problem clients here, you can refer to How to Control Anger in Dealing with Problem Clients and Dealing with Client Complaints without Hurting your Design Job if you want to read more about it. But we will be tackling how you can handle an upset client. Every business will surely experience this since we are not perfect and we sometimes do mistakes to some projects.

Clients are upset due to different reasons. You could have done something wrong with the project, they were not satisfied with the result of the project, your delivery was late, your client did not perfectly understand the project and so on. But whatever the reasons are, the important thing is how you can handle an upset client. It is imperative that you will be able to make things better and not worsen is. Do not burn bridges with them, instead you should mend bridges to continue a smooth communication and relationship with your clients. After all, clients are your partners for your freelance career. So, how are you going to do that? Check out the tips we have below:

1. Put yourself on their shoes.

Put yourself on their shoes

. One good way to determine how you will be able to deal with an upset client is to put yourself on their shoes. If you look at the situation in their perspective, you will be able to understand their side well and you will know how to act and what to say. Always consider how your client thinks and feels about a situation so that you can take the right action. Do not just think about yourself. Also, once you have seen the need of your client to have a particular problem fixed, you will become helpful and courteous at the same time.

2. Be calm.

Be calm

Hearing a client mutter about a project might make you irate. But don’t be. Compose yourself and stay calm. Doing this will make the situation a lot easier. Soon, the tense will subside. Do not meet a high emotion with another high emotion for you will both explode and cause more problems. Since your client is already upset, you have to pacify the scenario by staying calm. This can also help you think for better solutions.

3. Be solution oriented.

Be solution oriented

Upon hearing your client’s side, you will be able to come up with a good solution in order to end up the problem. So, it is important that while your client is in hysteria, you remain solution oriented. Instead of thinking how to defend yourself or how to stop your client’s qualms, you think of how to solve the problem. Your client will surely appreciate this especially if the solution you found was light on them and would make things a lot easier for them.

4. Explain the situation.

Explain the situation

Some people get mad and just detonate even without checking what the real situation is. You cannot blame your client for they could be ignorant of your work process. Some clients really are not that attentive when you try to present the design process at the beginning of the project which results into problems in the end. But instead of blaming them for not being attentive, you explain things to them calmly and intelligently. See to it that when you communicate with them, you use terms that they can understand.

5. Listen attentively.

Listen attentively

An upset client needs someone to listen to them. So, give that to them. Listen attentively to what they will say. Do not be looking at other directions for they might feel insulted. Look them in the eye and nod to indicate that you are listening and that you understand. This is one way of showing respect to them, too. Read Reasons Why You Need Good Listening Skills.

6. Act quickly.

Act quickly

When a client is unhappy of your work results, do not get mad at them. Instead, act at once and solve the problem at once. When you have found a good solution, do it immediately. This will end the problem quickly and will also take away stress on your part. If you won’t solve the problem at once, you will end up thinking about it and you will be bothered about it which might compromise other projects you are working on.

7. Communicate in a friendly tone.

Communicate in a friendly tone

In talking and communicating with an upset client, make sure that you don’t sound mad. As you stay calm, you also need to have a friendly tone. Talk to your client this way for this can help him to tone down and stay calm, too. You will also be able to help him look into the situation in a better way.

8. Be courteous and confident.

Be courteous and confident

Aside from being friendly, you have to be courteous and confident. Confidence will help you to utter the right words and do the right actions. This can also help you to think well on what needs to be done and to dig into what solution is perfect for the problem. Your client will also feel good that you are certain of what you are going to do and that his problem will soon come to an end. Being courteous makes communication easier since your client can see that despite his being upset, you are still treating him in a nice way.

9. Offer to fix the problem.

Offer to fix the problem

When your client is done with his part, you can offer to fix the problem. Merely presenting a solution is different from offering to fix the problem because when you are telling your client what solutions can be done, he is still a bit confused if it will work or not. So, tell him that you will be the one to work on it and that you will fix the problem to help him. Well, you really have to do this especially if you were the one who committed a mistake for the project.

10. Think before your respond.

Think before your respond

This tip is important. You should always think of what you are about to say. Do not just utter words without checking if it can help the situation or not. So, while your client is still talking, think of what you can say. If you felt mad, then try self-talking to make you stay calm. Do not speak also if you are still upset like your client. Learn to compose yourself first because if you are also upset, you will tend to say words that might worsen the situation.

It’s Your Turn Now

Doing the things above could help you handle an upset client. Aside from successfully ending your client’s worries and your stress, you are also building a good name for your brand. Clients will feel happy that despite a situation that is quite hard to handle, you were able to get through it. Also, this can even lead to better relationships to your client, opening another chance of a new project from the same client. No doubt, being able to deal with situations like this can help you get returning clients. Have you experienced a situation similar to this? How were you able to handle your client and the situation well? Share to us your experience for it can also help other freelancers as well.

Kareen Liez

About the author: A Civil Engineer who has a construction business and a youth volunteer for a civic organization. She also contributes for a local newspaper due to her unwavering passion to write.


  1. Yes I’ve encountered this kind of situation, in my case I really avoid the anger even my client’s complaints is non-sense..I stay calm with a return smile to my client.

    1. That’s good Margo. It is very important to stay calm even if clients are really upset. 🙂

  2. I really love your article for this day Ms. Karren..thank you for the tips.

  3. I agree, it’s very important to have this qualities in dealing with upset clients.For you to stay long in a business.

  4. It’s hard for me to offer to fix the problem if I’m the cause of the problem,so ashamed.So can you help me how to handled it?

    1. If you are the cause of the problem or you committed a mistake, it would be better if you offer to fix it in order to cover up the mistake you have done. Apologize for your mistake and do something to mend it at once. Do not hesitate to admit your mistakes. Clients will appreciate that even more. They will also understand that you are not a perfect designer. Just be humble and then fix the problem. 🙂

  5. Thanks for the information,is there other tips that you can give aside from this?

    1. What tips are you looking for Dianara? We have lots of tips here that could help you. We regularly post tips on different topics 🙂 Thanks for reading!

      1. About on how to handle upset clients,is there other tips or this are the most useful tips?

  6. Thank you Ms. Karren you always give an informative topic,that’s why I’m always interested to read your article.

  7. Customers are always right,so as the upset clients,so we have to use this tips to avoid conflict with them.

  8. Thank you everyone for your comments. We really appreciate it that you have given time to read this article. We are also glad that you got valueble points from this post. XOXO

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