How Do You Apologize to Clients?

You may not have had to deal with that call yet, but rest assured it’s probably going to happen.  You pick up the phone, and you have a very unhappy client expressing their displeasure in your recent submission.

And the worst part about it – it’s your fault.  You missed the deadline, your design didn’t incorporate their mandatories, or you got their phone number wrong on a DM – after they had given final approval.

Now the files have been shipped, the mails been sent, and the damage is done.

Assuming this isn’t a client-from-hell, how do you go about fixing this so you don’t become known as a freelancer-from-hell?

I’ve heard of some of the following options:

  • Provide Starbucks gift card to smooth things over
  • Provide a hefty discount for the current project
  • Offer a heartfelt, in person, apology
  • Handwritten note of apology
  • Eat the cost of the project – no satisfaction, no payment expected
  • Offer up your first born (my parents kept trying this, but unluckily for me, no one took them up on it!)
  • Ignore it.  It’s the client’s fault for not being clear enough

When it’s time to say you’re sorry, what’s worked for you in the past?

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