This Is Why You Have Unhappy Clients (And How to Fix It)

Jenna Kutcher 

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May 15, 2024


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I will never, EVER forget the first time I had a client say they weren’t happy… I swear I lost sleep for an entire week.

There is nothing worse than having an unhappy client… even though it’s a universal part of the entrepreneurial journey, it isn’t a fun part! 

Whether you’re navigating it for the first or the hundredth time, it can feel like a suckpunch to your gut. Even the greatest entrepreneurs and creators deal with unsatisfied clients!

In this episode, we’re chatting about what we can do to avoid disappointment, how to remedy the situation when your client isn’t happy, and strategies to help you have more happiness and less stress in your entrepreneurial experience. Let’s dive in!

Why You Have Unhappy Clients

If you are dealing with unhappy clients, it’s likely because of one of these things I’m about to list out.

Whether you’ve had an unhappy customer or you, yourself have been dissatisfied in the past, it was probably due to one of these things, so think of an example and then mentally tick off the box when I read the reason!

If you’ve ever been unhappy or your client has it’s probably due to: 

  • Unmet Expectations
  • Poor Customer Service
  • Miscommunication
  • Product or Service Issues
  • Long Wait Times
  • Lack of Personalization
  • Unsatisfactory Resolution of Problems
  • Hidden Fees or Charges
  • Inconsistent Experience
  • Perceived Lack of Appreciation

The truth is, having an unhappy client is a way for you to learn how you can show up and serve better… because they’re usually not unhappy for no reason. 

Rather than viewing unhappy clients as a setback, reframe it as an opportunity for development and improvement!

The Importance of Setting Expectations

If you walk away thinking through THIS piece of your client experience, you will likely mitigate a ton of unhappy clients. What am I talking about? Setting expectations.

You don’t just want you NEED people to understand exactly what the offer is, what their outcome will be, or what the end result of their investment will get them. 

You know when you’re excited to get something, but then it’s not what you thought it would be? That’s a bummer! As business people, we have to make sure we’re clear about what we’re offering so people know what to expect.

First, we need to be super clear about what our stuff does and doesn’t do. That means telling people exactly what they’re getting, like when you’re explaining a game to your friend.

Pictures can help, too! They show what something looks like so there’s no confusion. Like when you draw a picture to help your friend understand your story better.

We also need to be honest about how long things will take. It’s better to say it might take longer and finish early than to promise something we can’t deliver on time. 

BONUS POINTS: Create a workflow that communicates each aspect of the process and this part can be entirely automated. We use Honeybook for this! Another reason people often feel unsatisfied is that they feel unappreciated and so when you create a workflow, you can loop in appreciation and follow up with your customers to not only ensure they are satisfied but to help them feel appreciated as a customer. 

How to Anticipate Questions

When you’re creating and/or sharing your offer, one of THE best ways to ensure you have happy clients is through anticipation. Answer questions before people even ask them! That way, everyone knows what’s going on and there are no surprises. 

My biggest tip to anticipate questions before they’re asked is when you are writing your copy, you should tackle objections and be clear about the end result someone can expect when they purchase it.

You can also do this on an FAQ page on your website. Remember: a confused person never buys, so think through how you can answer questions before they can ask them and make sure you’re always keeping a pulse on how you can continue to answer their Q’s as you start to get more. 

Always avoid the temptation to over-promise on anything but especially on delivery times or project completion dates. Remember, you are a human, not a machine.

Provide conservative estimates that account for potential delays or unforeseen challenges, that way if you finish early, you get to surprise and delight your client!

My Best Tips For Serving Unhappy Clients

  • Observe the feedback without absorbing it: What can you take away? Just because you have one unhappy customer doesn’t mean that they are ALL unhappy. What can you observe through this experience – and do not absorb their feelings as pure fact. 
  • Listen and empathize: Drew and I are learning this everyday with our kids…. Saying things like, “What I am hearing you say is” and repeating back their main concerns helps confirm that you truly understand their problem.
  • Remedy the situation: If you can think ahead of what your process will be when a refund comes in or with an unsatisfied customer, you can figure out your plan to remedy before you get into a heated or emotional state. 
  • Your peace is expensive – treat it accordingly. If money can fix the problem, it’s not truly a problem. In Dan Martell’s book, Buy Back Your Time, he suggests empowering your team to remedy situations without needing permission from you to protect your peace and give them what they need. I personally love this approach!

When customers know exactly what to expect and feel confident in your ability to deliver on your promises, they’re more likely to have a positive experience and become repeat buyers.

A Word of Encouragement

Moral of the story, Goal Digger? It’s that you’re not perfect – no person or business is. We all make mistakes!

Unfortunately, the more your business grows, the more likely you are to experience having an unhappy customer. Don’t beat yourself up about it, but instead make them feel heard, resolve problems quickly, and ask them what you can do to make it right.

Unhappy customers are just an unfortunate part of entrepreneurship, but remember: a client’s dissatisfaction is not a reflection of your worth! Practice viewing unhappy customers as an opportunity to serve them even better – and create loyal, raving fans in the process.

No one can do what you do how you do it, so keep that in mind the next time you make a mistake. Then take a deep breath, get some fresh air, and make it right! 

Thank you to our Goal Digger Sponsors

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Before you get any further... Hi! I'm Jenna Kutcher!

A small town Minnesota photographer, podcaster, educator and puppy rescuer, my happiest days are spent behind my computer screen sharing my secrets with the world. I'm glad you're here.

I’m an expert at online marketing, a nerd when it comes to the numbers, and my obsession is teaching others how to make a living doing what they love (without it taking over their life). 

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