How Do You Apologize to Clients?

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This post hasn't been updated in over 2 years.

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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