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How to Handle Negative Feedback From Clients

Jourdan Aldredge

If you work in video production long enough, negative feedback from clients is inevitable. Here are a few ways to handle the situation.

Top image via Shutterstock

It should go without saying, but sometimes a reminder is helpful: Clients are not bad people. They just don’t always know as much as you do about video production and editing. It can be exceptionally frustrating to get feedback that’s critical of your work for seemingly unfounded reasons. Before you get into a fight that could damage your relationship, try some of these tips to get through the pain.


1) Don’t Respond Right Away

How to Handle Negative Feedback From Clients: Don't Respond Right Away

Take a deep breath. Walk away from your computer and take a moment to yourself. If you have enough time, do an activity to take your mind away from the project. Go for a run. Play a game. Talk to a friend. Find some perspective that will help you disconnect your feelings toward the criticism from the job you need to do.

2) Consolidate and Clean Up the Criticisms

How to Handle Negative Feedback From Clients: Consolidate and Clean Up

Before you begin to respond, consolidate and clean up the criticisms as best you can. Once you have everything listed out, you can evaluate each criticism point by point. You may find that many of the criticisms are connected or based on the same point. You can also clean up the language to be more constructive than critical. It will help you moving forward.

3) Make a Plan

How to Handle Negative Feedback From Clients: Making a Plan

Don’t respond defensively. Respond proactively and propose a plan to make any necessary changes towards finishing the project. Cleary go over the consolidated criticisms, point by point, and what you can do to alleviate their concerns. Try not to be combative in your responses, and keep your points concise. If you find that hard to do, try this next step.

4) Write an Angry Email (and Delete It)

How to Handle Negative Feedback From Clients: Angry Email

This is a historically tried-and-true method for working through frustration. Open a blank Word doc and write out how you really feel. How did the criticism make you feel? What would you really like to say about it? Get it all out. Once you’re satiated; delete it.

5) Kill Them With Positivity

How to Handle Negative Feedback From Clients: Be Positive

When you finally do respond, put your energy into positivity. It may feel insincere, but it’s better than the alternative. Don’t let even the slightest hint of negativity creep in unless you’re looking for an argument. It will also have an effect on you. At the end of the day, all you can do is put your best foot forward. If someone is unwilling to work with you professionally on a project, you may need to reconsider working with them again.


Here’s a sample template to use:

Handwritten Criticism Response


Hope the above advice helps! Every client and every project will be different — as will be your relationships with them. If it’s work you care about, critical feedback will always be difficult to hear. But at the end of the day, it’s just part of the process of making things better.


Have any other advice or techniques for handling criticism? Let us know in the comments!