Updated: Feb 6
Receiving criticism or negative feedback can be hard and it’s very easy to get our emotional hackles up when we hear something that we don't like. Because all our businesses are different, the way we run them is different and our contracts are different we might all have a different way of dealing with them.
We aren't always 100% perfect, whether we hear about it or not. Sometimes we let the ball drop. It might have been a really really busy week, we might have something going on at home, or our child might be sick. These things happen and we can't always handle them! So, when that happens, I ask myself the following questions.
Could I, as the professional and expert, have done a better job at managing my clients' expectations or the situation? Could I have done a better job at things such as lighting, editing, timing, posing, or communication? Is there something I led my client to believe I would deliver on which I failed to do?
What could this cost me? What is the worst-case scenario here?
How could I fix this? For example, I might need to re-edit the images to be lighter or darker, fix a pose slightly with liquify, or reshoot a section of couple portraits from a wedding day. Another potential scenario is giving the client a gift voucher for products or prints.
What am I willing to do to fix the situation for my client, to ensure that I have delivered what I promised to? Even if it isn’t necessarily my fault.
For example, all the things that are out of my control such as when all the moving parts don’t come together on a wedding day or the weather wasn’t quite what we wanted for sunset.
Does anything actually need to be fixed, or is it simply a mistake or situation I would avoid or handle differently in the future and can learn from?
It's important to consider all of these things when you receive feedback. What do you consider when someone comes back to you to give you feedback that maybe isn’t as positive as you’d like? What tips or systems do you have to handle those things if they do come up?
After talking to Ruth over a year ago, one of the things I did was add a Questionnaire to my automated workflows that asks my clients for their feedback, both positive and negative. It has two questions based around this: what did you think, and is there anything I could have done better? I've opened up the floor to my clients to allow them to tell me if they had any concerns, or even just things they would love to see me do like show the unedited proofs. I want to grow so this new addition was great for me because it gives my clients a chance to be heard and also gives them an outlet for anything they are feeling, rather than the client staying quiet and not telling me about their concerns, but telling EVERYONE they know instead. Because we know when it comes to negatives, it's very easy to talk about them a lot to those around us.