It happens to all of us. No matter how hard we try sometimes we are going to have upset clients. Could be it’s an issue beyond our control. Could be we simply screwed up.  But whatever the reason  Mrs. Jones is MAD! The catastrophe for your business is not that something bad happened, it’s if you don’t fix it correctly.  Mistakes are nothing to lose sleep over. Fix the problem and move on.

First, acknowledge their feelings, then take action. “Mrs. Jones I can see you are really upset. What would you like me to do to fix this for you?”  About half the time they just want you to admit you were wrong or the situation is wrong. The other half of the time they will tell you what they want. If it’s reasonable, just do it. Do whatever they ask plus a little bit extra.  Don’t give away the studio, just some nice little gesture.

Recently we had a set of grad announcements come in with a typo. We had them reprinted as quick as we could and then delivered them to Mom’s place of work rather than making her pick them up.  Maybe you include a  set of wallets or a box of cookies from a local bakery. The idea that you made the gesture has more impact than whatever you actually do.

So what if they ask for your firstborn child? Well if your kid is a pain maybe you would like to get rid of them….. But seriously, if they ask for more than is reasonable, you can say “ I’m sorry I can’t do that but I can XYZ“. Make your counter offer not as ideal as if you can give them whatever they want, but still, you are trying to make the situation right.  

So what if you bend over backward, give them your firstborn, bake them a cake, and mow their lawn and they are still upset?  Some people just are complainers. No matter what you do it will never be good enough.

Years ago when my husband worked for another photographer, he gave us some invaluable advice. He said there are people in the world who are impossible to please. They complain about everything. If you have a client like that just ignore it. Do what you can to make them happy and then just forget about it. Don’t worry about them spreading bad PR. One of two things will happen. Either everyone they tell knows what they are like and will ignore them. OR every one of their friends are just like them and you don’t want those people as clients anyway.  

When you do business with a company and there is never a problem, you feel good about that company but you don’t really know what would happen if there is an issue. When you have a problem with a company and they make it right, you feel safe. You know, without a doubt, that if an issue arises in the future, they will make it right.