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Letting a client down gently Options
Trisha-27835
Posted: Wednesday, June 1, 2016 4:28:57 PM

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Joined: 3/28/2013
Posts: 6
Location: Niota, TN
I recently took on a new client, who has turned out to be quite labor intensive. Just as not all writers are a good fit for some clients, I do not feel she is a good fit for me. Does anyone have any suggestions on letting her go politely, while still preserving my reputation - and Zerys? I write quite a lot for this client's colleagues. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!
Carrie-14778
Posted: Wednesday, June 1, 2016 7:53:11 PM

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Joined: 3/5/2013
Posts: 87
I have, actually. And, I think the way you expressed it to us in this forum is exactly the tone and language that works well to communicate your reality to the client.

I have used wording very similar to that in the past, expressing that the amount of time it's requiring on my end to produce an article that is satisfactory on their end is a sign that we are not the best "Client/Writer" fit. I thank them graciously for the work I've been able to do for them thus far and let them know there are a plethora of eager Zerys writers who will make for a better match when they throw new auditions on the board.

Ironically, two times when I did that - I ended up getting offers from them to work at a way higher rate, and they totally backed off on the "labor intensive" front. However, even if that doesn't happen - it's still SUCH a relieve to not have the "sinking gut feeling" while working on a piece or communicating with a client.

Good luck and let us know how it goes!!!
Helen-69538
Posted: Wednesday, June 1, 2016 9:08:25 PM

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Joined: 5/10/2016
Posts: 10
Location: Puget Sound near Seattle, WA
Hi Trisha,
I'm too new to have answers to your questions, but I do know that having a direct discussion about challenges can sometimes resolve an issue so you can go on with better communication. Having said that, it does scare the bejeeber out of me, sometimes, with some people, to do that. We all can have such sensitive triggers about who is hard to talk to. I'm guessing this person might not know that she is asking too much, particularly if she is not paying much. But setting aside money, if you can provide some solutions such as a) more detailed description of project...... you might be able to train her in your style. Okay, newbie done here--lots of people will probably have experience doing this. Best of luck.
Helen
Nancy M-49020
Posted: Thursday, June 2, 2016 4:16:56 AM

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Joined: 1/7/2015
Posts: 70
Location: Los Angeles
I agree with Carrie - I have also found that when I explain to a client when we don't "fit," they will try to make it work. I try to remember that non-writers don't always understand the writer's side of the equation. If you don't like working for them at all, I think what you said in your post, added in with Carrie's thoughts on assuring them they'll find another great writer here, is fine.
Trisha-27835
Posted: Thursday, June 2, 2016 4:39:35 PM

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Joined: 3/28/2013
Posts: 6
Location: Niota, TN
Thanks for the feedback. I have already tried instructing the client as to what I need to save us both time on the repeated revisions. Unfortunately it is just not working. I am wrapping up a (last) blog with them now. It's in for approval (again). If it's kicked back again for revisions, I will do as you suggested, Nancy and Carrie. I think you're right, they often don't see our end of the equation, as they're wrapped up in "stuff" on their own end. Thanks again! - Trish
Steve-Admin
Posted: Friday, June 3, 2016 4:27:04 PM

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Groups: Administration , Member, Moderator

Joined: 2/20/2013
Posts: -120
Great discussion! Carrie, I think your advice is perfect. In these situations, you could nicely explain why you think it's not a fit anymore. If you're very nice and professional and gracious about it, you make it very difficult for them to be upset with you. This is sort of a mixture of "kill 'em with kindness" and the "takeaway". It forces them to think about how they're treating you and managing the project, and often times will make them realize they need to improve - and will make them want to work with you even more!

One thing we tried hard to do with the new changes was to make the process of searching for writers feel more like a job interviewing process, whereby its not just the candidate trying to impress you, but vice versa - the buyer has to impress and attract the candidates as well. This is why we added language that forces the buyer to indicate what benefits they can offer the writers - to attract better quality candidates. We hope this gives writers a bit more leverage and pushes the buyers to treat writers with more respect and understand that if they dont, those writers could leave them.
Nancy M-49020
Posted: Saturday, June 4, 2016 3:29:06 AM

Rank: Advanced Member
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Joined: 1/7/2015
Posts: 70
Location: Los Angeles
Another thought. It can depend on if you're dealing directly with the client. I have one client who I write for through Zerys (I believe, it's a ZerysAG?). I've written many blog posts and a couple of white papers for him. The other day - because of one word I used - he put a comment in the piece that said it was obvious the writer's first language was not English. If it wasn't for the agency in the middle I would have dropped him on his pointy head ;). She was great about acknowledging he was off-base and probably having an awful day.

Not to say that Carrie should stick with a client that obviously isn't working for her - I have dropped clients who weren't worth the effort. Wanted to share that sometimes the intermediary can take the hits for you.

Steve - thanks - I'm all about respect for writers!
David-38502
Posted: Thursday, June 9, 2016 9:44:50 PM

Rank: Newbie
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Joined: 3/18/2015
Posts: 1
Hi, this is something I've been puzzling over also. I had the same challenge with software writing so I think it's universal. The biggest challenge is probably what people have already mentioned, lack of understanding each other's challenges. This kind of platform, of course, provides limited visibility but the concepts are usually similar. Article buyers can be extremely busy, whether bulk buyers or professionals trying to DIY an online presence. Then there's the method of evaluation, and even with highly technical software I found it often comes down to "feelings." Or, an editor is handling language, but doesn't really know the field enough to judge. So, rewrites can be based on really puzzling issues, and communication devolves from there. I, too, have gotten "foreigner!" or similar when I wrote in too-stilted language, but that's from my "foreign" life at an Ivy League school. Sometimes the client sounds offended by these issues, which I guess is just frustration. Calm, caring, and confident is what I try to be in responding, but it takes energy from me that robs from my writing. My sympathies and thanks for this thread!
Amanda -75710
Posted: Wednesday, February 22, 2017 6:13:57 PM

Rank: Newbie
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Joined: 12/12/2016
Posts: 0
This thread has made me feel much better. I have a client who accepted an article, after having an editor revise it and telling me to go over their changes so I can do a better job next time (they didn't put it quite like that but close enough). My second article for them has come back for revisions which amount to almost a complete rewrite. I don't feel like I'm a good fit for the work. My tone and style don't appear to be what is required. I find the client's instructions confusing, and some of them to be unreasonable. I was hoping this was going to be a long-term working relationship, but I don't think it's going to work out.

I don't feel I'm doing the client and favours by persevering, and I'm not doing myself any favours with the stress it is causing me.
Monica-49679
Posted: Saturday, March 25, 2017 9:32:18 PM

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Joined: 1/31/2015
Posts: 1
Although this thread is a bit old, I thought I would chime in my two cents in case someone down the line might find it helpful.

First, I appreciate and agree with everything that has been said.

I just wanted to add that it is okay to say "no" to offers and stand firm. On another site, I had an issue with a client who did not want to accept my sincere apology that we were not a good fit. Carrots were dangled that included more pay and a byline. I have zero interest in their main subject matter, and only took the one article because I had a fun tangent that the client liked too.

Let's say their site is about sports and my article was "5 Businesses You Didn't Know Were Started by Former NFL Superstars." If I knew more about sports or cared to learn more, it might have been a good opportunity. (niche changed to protect the client rep)

The carrots being dangled started to feel more like daggers and I stopped responding after a few exchanges where I respectfully explained (again!) that we were not a good fit. Finally, they ceased.

The administrative interest and interaction is among the reasons that I think Zerys is one of the best sites for writers and clients! Thank you!
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