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fran_macjus
Community Member

Response to Feedback: to write or not to write?

Greetings, vets and experts,

 

I’m in need of a bit of counsel, if you can spare some. A few days ago a client abruptly ended a contract when they didn’t like how my writing was going (paying the milestone in full, which I can certainly respect in this Land of the Free Trials; no complaints there), blocked communications, and gave me a 3-star review which I don’t feel is fair is some regards.

 

(Since this may matter for the questions below: none of us wrote anything in our feedback, just gave each other a rating).

 

After letting a few days go by to cool my head off, I’m wondering if I should click the “Respond to this Feedback” button, I mean this one:

 

Reply to Feedback button.jpg

 

And explain my reasons for why I think the poor rating is undeserved, which brings me to my two sets of questions.

 

The first set is technical, as in:

  • What happens if I do post a Response, in a strict technical sense?
  • Where does my Response to Feedback go, where does it get posted, who gets to see it (assuming they care to read it)?
  • Does this particular client get a chance to respond to my response? (it would seem fair if they do, but does that allow me to respond to their response to my response?)

 

 

The second set would be more in the vein of “should I?”:

  • Do future clients even care?
  • Do they take silence as acceptance of guilt, or rather as a mark of fortitude and grit?

I know nobody knows these for certain, but I would welcome your thoughts on the matter.

 

Thanks for your time, and thanks for your thoughts! 😃

ACCEPTED SOLUTION
resultsassoc
Community Member

If there was no text - comments - attached to the rating, do nothing.

 

If there was text attached that reflects something inaccurate, or is purely the client's uninformed opinion, you may dispute the inaccuracies or the basis for the opinion. Otherwise, do nothing.

 

A three-star, one-star or five-star rating with no comments is irrelevant to me. I hire on UW.

 

A 4.2 with comments has greater value than a 5.0 without comments. It required thought from a client who was relatively pleased with your work. Unless you've got twenty comments saying that your language was offensive, or that you showed up drunk, or you burned down the client's building, ratings make no difference to me.

 

 

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30 REPLIES 30
oranus
Community Member

I read before here from experieced guru freelancers that better not respond to feedbacks but it's up to you...
1- your response goes to your Profile page, under the client's feedback (in this case just under the 3 stars)
2- everyone who gets access to your profile can see it (future/old clients)
3- this particular client does not get the chance to respond to your response ->  so there's not such things as "you respond to their response to your response"
4- some will take 3 stars seriously some won't...

  • Do future clients even care?
  • Do they take silence as acceptance of guilt, or rather as a mark of fortitude and grit?

Short answer:

Never write a response to feedback.

 

Longer answer:

SOMETIMES it may be appropriate to write a response to feedback, but you'll probably do it wrong. So it is usually best to not do it anyway.

 

Unrelated comment (this has nothing to do with you, it's just an observation):

Nobody likes a whiner.


@Preston H wrote:

Short answer:

Never write a response to feedback.

 


Yeah, seems to be the consensus.

Being a videogamer, I find it hard to resist not clicking a button (I mean, it's there! It wants to be clicked, it was literally born to be clicked!) but seems like the wisest choice.

 


@Preston H wrote:

 

 

Unrelated comment (this has nothing to do with you, it's just an observation):

Nobody likes a whiner.


 Yep, pretty much that. The risk of coming across as a whiner is too big to offset the gains from coming across as sensible and articulate in this case; not a smart bet.

 

Thanks for the tips! 😃

 

 


@Abderrazzak B wrote:

I read before here from experieced guru freelancers that better not respond to feedbacks but it's up to you...

 


 Yeah, that's what my guts are telling me; basically, why risk it? 😃

 


@Abderrazzak B wrote:

1- your response goes to your Profile page, under the client's feedback (in this case just under the 3 stars)
2- everyone who gets access to your profile can see it (future/old clients)
3- this particular client does not get the chance to respond to your response ->  so there's not such things as "you respond to their response to your response"


 Clear and to the point, exactly what I needed to know. Thanks! 😃

Honestly I feel it would just draw attention whereas, especially since he didn't write anything, it might be more kind of overlooked if left alone. This is especially true if you have a lot of other feedback and this is a one-off. I didn't check your profile so I don't know.


@Melanie H wrote:

Honestly I feel it would just draw attention whereas, especially since he didn't write anything, it might be more kind of overlooked if left alone. This is especially true if you have a lot of other feedback and this is a one-off. I didn't check your profile so I don't know.


 Yeah, my problem is that I have only two reviews as of now; one is a stellar 5-star review (with comments and all), the other is this no-comment 3-stars. So a bad review (which I guess is a problem shared by most newcomers) is both devastating to my rating since it has a lot of weight on the average, and sort of makes you wonder which one reflects me the most. My temptation to write a response was to sort of tell clients that I'm a 5-star freelancer that got unjustly rated on the second job, rather than being a 3-star freelancer that just happened to get very lucky in the first job. 😃

 

Still, the consensus (and what I was leaning towards myself originally, but was not sure at all if that was the correct course; I am now, thanks to the input shared in this thread) is to avoid replying if the client didn't write anything, learn from this chapter, and move on.

wendy_writes
Community Member

Fran, IF you comment - keep it short and polite.  If there was poor communications on the part of the buyer - indicate that in no more than 2-4 words - you get the idea.  The rare few times I've left a buyer less than good feedback I've always end with "I wish the client well".  New prospective clients reading your comments will know you aren't ranting and raving. That's all that counts

 

An aside to this:

I don't think buyers give a fig about stars; Upwork's mysterious algorithms apparently do. 

I do know - from umpteen clients - potential buyers do read the comments left by other clients.

 

IF you think the buyer will come back with nasty words - do not comment.  I'm not sure if a buyer who has only rated but not commented can come back and add comments without FLer's permission. Would this fall under "allow buyer to change comment" as no comment was left????


@Wendy C wrote:

Fran, IF you comment - keep it short and polite. 


 I was giving this route some thought (among other reasons because I do think the client was very good in several regards; I honestly think they are a 4-stars client, so I do have good things to say about them), but both my guts, and most importantly the comments here make me thinks it's better just to label the whole experience as "water under the bridge". Just wanted to check what vets have to say, since this is not an issue where there's a clear answer; it mostly depends on how "things are done around here", so to speak, and as a newcomer I guess it's a good idea to find out. 😃

 


IF you think the buyer will come back with nasty words - do not comment.  I'm not sure if a buyer who has only rated but not commented can come back and add comments without FLer's permission. Would this fall under "allow buyer to change comment" as no comment was left????


 I'm pretty certain (from Upwork's manual) that, should the client want to, they could request my permission to change their feedback (although I'm not sure I'd be willing to give them that permission, since they may make the rating actually worse if for some reason my response irked them).

 

On the other hand, I guess they could respond to my ORIGINAL feedback (in other words: I guess that, just like I can respond to the 3-stars rating they gave me, they could respond to the 4-star rating I gave them). So, yeah, not worth the risk. 😃

 

It's reassuring to know that clients don't put so much stock on starts (but do on reviews); certainly seems that my best strategy is for the 3-star review to be as low-profile as possible in my profile (no comments from neither of us), so potential clients can quickly scroll down to the next one (which is actually good!)

 

Thanks for your time & suggestions! 😃

colettelewis
Community Member

However you respond - keep it short, professional and to the point. Don't rant. If the client has been unfair on any point - such as delivery time - do not make excuses if this was so. Late delivery is late delivery. Most clients don't give a **bleep** what your personal circumstances are. 

Respond, but think carefully how you do. Future clients might judge you on what you say. 

 

 

 


@Nichola L wrote:

 If the client has been unfair on any point - such as delivery time - do not make excuses if this was so. Late delivery is late delivery.


 I'm not sure I'm following you correctly here: if the client is unfair it's because they are rating me poorly in a deparment I think I did not do that bad, correct? (and my Response would try to make that unfairness clear). For example, I believe my deadlines were 5-stars: I made clear what I would deliver, and when, during our first meeting; the two deliveries I did were sent the moment I said they would, so that was perfect in an objective way.

 

I mean, were I to write a Response (which I most likely won't), that's what I would have tried to make clear: something along "client was unhappy with quality, but delivery times were 5 stars", so as to other clients could at least hear my side of the story on something I think is crucial: I don't miss deadlines (and didn't, in this case).

 

Then again, as noted by other vet, potential clients may not even bother checking exactly how the Stars distribution went (as in, the see a 3-star average, they don't care if it was all 3-stars, or a 2 on Quality and a 4 on Communication, etc), so at this point I'm certainly splitting hairs, and worrying too much. 😃

silw
Community Member

Spoiler
 

you'll make your situation become worse if you reply.

currently someone who checks your rating will see a  3 stars rating.

if you reply to the bad feedback, they will see someone with bad rating AND a lack of ability to accept negative feedback.

 

Super unprofessional in every case.

fran_macjus
Community Member


@Aron H wrote:
Spoiler
 

 

if you reply to the bad feedback, they will see someone with bad rating AND a lack of ability to accept negative feedback.

 


 I dunno... not sure I can agree 100% with that. I mean, surely it's a matter of degree, but if a rating is grossly unfair, I guess speaking up and standing your ground may be seen as better than just lowering your head and accepting such gross unfairness.

 

Keyword being "gross", of course, which was most certainly not the case here (luckily! 😃

 

But yeah, I can fully agree that responding to a 3-stars rating may be seen by many/most clients as unprofessional.

resultsassoc
Community Member

If there was no text - comments - attached to the rating, do nothing.

 

If there was text attached that reflects something inaccurate, or is purely the client's uninformed opinion, you may dispute the inaccuracies or the basis for the opinion. Otherwise, do nothing.

 

A three-star, one-star or five-star rating with no comments is irrelevant to me. I hire on UW.

 

A 4.2 with comments has greater value than a 5.0 without comments. It required thought from a client who was relatively pleased with your work. Unless you've got twenty comments saying that your language was offensive, or that you showed up drunk, or you burned down the client's building, ratings make no difference to me.

 

 


@Bill H wrote:

If there was no text...

 

If there was text attached that reflects something inaccurate...

 

A three-star, one-star or five-star rating with no comments...

 

A 4.2 with comments has greater value than a 5.0 without comments. It required thought from a client who was relatively pleased...  


 Whoa. That was, in my humble opinion, both a great answer and a great lesson on how to write precisely and concisely, all rolled into one.

 

Massive thanks for sharing your advise! 😃

kat303
Community Member

Fran - What are you responding to? I don't see any negative feedback that this client typed up. There's nothing to rebuttal. Feedback, consisting of stars and reviews are double blind. Neither one of you sees what the other has rated or wrote. The client didn't type any reviews and neither did you. So both of you, IMO are even. My advice to you is to leave it alone. responding to the amount of stars, as Preston said, amounts to whining. And that, more then the 3 stars will have negative effects on future clients.


@Kathy T wrote:

Fran - What are you responding to? I don't see any negative feedback that this client typed up. There's nothing to rebuttal. Feedback, consisting of stars and reviews are double blind. Neither one of you sees what the other has rated or wrote. The client didn't type any reviews and neither did you. 


 From what I'm finding out, that's not how things work. I actually thought things worked out exactly as you describe: as I learned the contract was closed, I gave my client a rating (no comments; just the stars), and found out they had done the same.

 

But, as I found out later, if you go to Contracts, select a Contract, then go to "Terms & Settings" for that contract, you see those ratings, and there's also a button on the contract description that says I can give a response to such feedback (it's in my OP, but posting here again for clarity's sake):

 

 

 

Reply to Feedback button.jpg

 

If pressed, this screen pops up:

 

Your side of the story.jpg

 

 

So, apparently, you can post a reply after the original feedback is give through the double-blind system (not that I'm gonna do the experiment of trying and seeing what happens, after the exchanges in this thread! 😃

 

From what I'm finding out, that's not how things work. I actually thought things worked out exactly as you describe: as I learned the contract was closed, I gave my client a rating (no comments; just the stars), and found out they had done the same.

 

Fran, that is correct, Only when BOTH client and freelancer give feedback will each other see what was written. If only one gives feedback it will be published after X amount of days (I can't remember the number) and the opportunity for the other person to give feedback will be closed.

 

But, as I found out later, if you go to Contracts, select a Contract, then go to "Terms & Settings" for that contract, you see those ratings, and there's also a button on the contract description that says I can give a response to such feedback (it's in my OP, but posting here again for clarity's sake):

 

Again, Yes, you can reply to feedback that a client gives a freelancer. What I'm saying is that you only received stars. Nothing was typed, no review was given. Because of that, there is no reason to give a rebuttal to just stars. You have NO idea how the client rated you in stars. IF.... the client typed in a review THEN I would see that you have reason to respond to that by stating facts. But did the client rate you low in communication, response or what? You'll just be basically as stated before, whining. And that isn't going to look good on your profile. IMO, writing a rebuttal as to the stars you received, will probably do more harm then if you just let it go and look for other jobs.

yitwail
Community Member

Fran, I'm joining this discussion a little late, but anyone who clicks the title of the job with 3 star feedback in your work history will see that the client gave you 3 stars in all 6 categories -- skills, availability, communication, quality, deadlines, cooperation. Having said that, I don't know how many clients take the trouble to look at all that. Since he didn't leave any verbal comment, the only thing you could respond to would be one of those 3 star ratings, which *may* seem unfair to you, but it's unclear if responding to it would improve your chances of being hired, so I think the safe thing to do is leave it alone and move on.

__________________________________________________
"No good deed goes unpunished." -- Clare Boothe Luce


@John K wrote:

Fran, I'm joining this discussion a little late,


In my I'm-an-Upwork-rookie opinion, rookies in every field can use as much good advice as they can get, regardless of timing (it’s useful for the OP asking the question, it’s useful for others reading later) so thanks for chipping in! 😃

 


@John K wrote:

Having said that, I don't know how many clients take the trouble to look at all that {clicking the rating and checking the detailed breakdown} . Since he didn't leave any verbal comment, the only thing you could respond to would be one of those 3 star ratings, which *may* seem unfair to you, but it's unclear if responding to it would improve your chances of being hired, so I think the safe thing to do is leave it alone and move on.


 Reading your comment, and other reply, I realize: yep, I should have been more clear in my OP, that was exactly what I was originally thinking about. Deadlines, for example: I know I met them all while they contract lasted, and that is an objective measure. I mean, there is nothing subjective about saying "I will deliver A on Monday and B on Friday" and then doing exactly that, even if the quality of A or B may be questionable, so my original line of thinking was to say something along "I cannot be a fair judge of Quality, so the 3 stars in that deparment are probably well deserved, but I didn't miss a deadline so that has to be a 5, I answered all mails in no more than a few hours and each time to the client's satisfaction so that cannot be a 3," etc. Basically, my original line of thought was to challenge the categories that I felt I was being unjustly punished.

 

But, as it seems to be the consensus, better leave it alone... and, as you point out, some/many clients may not even bother to check the detailed breakdown (and new clients may not even know such breakdown exists!), so yeah: I'll quietly move along, and try to do things better next time. 😃

firescue17
Community Member

The only relevance at this point is you only have three jobs.

 

Let it ride. Go back to work. Bury it with better feedback.

 

In a year with 25 or 50 or 100 jobs it will be pushed out of the viewport. You'll forget about it and no one will be able to find it without a lot of effort.

 

The rare client who puts that much effort into digging up dirt isn't someone you want to partner with anyway.

 

Lacking text comments, its not that bad. The only outcome is to make it worse.


@Steven E. L wrote:

The only relevance at this point is you only have three jobs.

 

Let it ride. Go back to work. Bury it with better feedback.

 

In a year with 25 or 50 or 100 jobs it will be pushed out of the viewport. You'll forget about it and no one will be able to find it without a lot of effort.

 


 Well, if I had a crystal ball telling me a year from now I'll have 100 jobs then I wouldn't worry, of course. 😃

 

What I'm currently worrying about is the proverbial chicken-egg problem: need good reviews to get jobs to get good reviews. My ranking is wrecked and there's nothing I can do about it (this 3-stars made me lose the Top Ranked (EDIT: my mistake, I meant Rising Star, not Top Ranked) ((EDIT II: Aaactually, it's not Rising Star, but "Rising Talent", hope I got that name right this time)) status that I had earned with the previous 5-stars job, for example), so I was wondering if responding to this particular feedback would make things a bit better.

 

But, as pretty much everybody else has said: naaaah... it prolly won't. So time to move on and get those other 97 jobs. Each one of them will have the added pleasure of burying the bad review, or so I hope! 😃

 

Fran, 

 

I'm not sure how you were able to get top-rated status after only three jobs, as you don't appear to have a JSS yet. When you do become top rated you can use the TR perk and have that feedback removed if it still rankles at that stage.

 

In the meantime concentrate on getting your next job - and I am sure you will not have any trouble doing so (lots of them!). But whatever you do in any future proposal, do not draw attention to that feedback or make excuses for it. If a client mentions it, you can truthfully say, that you have no idea why your rating on that job was low, and leave it at that. If the client insists, or tries to get a lower rate from you because of it, then you don't want to work with that client. 

 

Good luck! 


@Nichola L wrote:

Fran, 

 

I'm not sure how you were able to get top-rated status after only three jobs, as you don't appear to have a JSS yet.


 One of us is seeing things...

 

I'm not seeing top rated...

 

Fran.jpg

 

Edited to add: Sorry Nichola, I need to start reading for context (or you need to make friends with the quote function 😉 ) I get it now. Maybe he meant Rising Talent?

 

 


Edited to add: Sorry Nichola, I need to start reading for context (or you need to make friends with the quote function 😉 ) I get it now. Maybe he meant Rising Talent?


 Indeed; I meant Rising Star (EDIT: or, better said, "Rising Talent"), sorry for the confusion. I'll edit my previous post to clarify. 


@Fran M wrote:

Edited to add: Sorry Nichola, I need to start reading for context (or you need to make friends with the quote function 😉 ) I get it now. Maybe he meant Rising Talent?


 Indeed; I meant Rising Star, sorry for the confusion. I'll edit my previous post to clarify. 


 😄 No, then everyone will be TOTALLY confused what on earth Nichola and I are talking about 😄

 

There is enough "confusion" on these forums as it is...

 


@Petra R wrote:

@Fran M wrote:

Maybe he meant Rising Talent?


 Indeed; I meant Rising Star, sorry for the confusion. I'll edit my previous post to clarify. 


 😄 No, then everyone will be TOTALLY confused what on earth Nichola and I are talking about 😄

 

There is enough "confusion" on these forums as it is...

 


On behalf of fellow rookies (and risking being a bore)... yeah, I just gotta correct it. 😃

 

I remember how confusing it was for me at first to grasp what da heck the different badges were (and let's not even get into the dark magicks involved in calculating the JSS), so if any other newcomer stumbles upon this thread, I'd rather do my best to clarify things as much as possible, so they know what to expect.


@Fran M wrote:

...............so they know what to expect.

 They can expect confusion Smiley Very Happy


@Nichola L wrote:

Fran, 

 

I'm not sure how you were able to get top-rated status after only three jobs, as you don't appear to have a JSS yet.


 Sorry, my bad: I meant Rising Star (EDIT: which is actually called "Rising Talent") status, not Top Rated (and you are correct, I don't even have an official rate yet; from what I've read, I still need a couple more rated jobs before getting there).

 

I apologize for the confusion, I'll edit my previous post.

 


 

 But whatever you do in any future proposal, do not draw attention to that feedback or make excuses for it. If a client mentions it, you can truthfully say, that you have no idea why your rating on that job was low, and leave it at that. If the client insists, or tries to get a lower rate from you because of it, then you don't want to work with that client. 

 Hum. That's actually very good advice, I mean about not caving in to a client that may want to use a bad review as leverage. I'll certainly keep that in mind and yep, I'm not planning on bringing up the issue myself unless a client specifically asks (which would be in their entire right to do so, of course).

 

Thanks for the tip, and sorry for mixing up Top and Raising! 😃

 


@Fran M wrote:

@Nichola L wrote:

Fran, 

 

I'm not sure how you were able to get top-rated status after only three jobs, as you don't appear to have a JSS yet.


 Sorry, my bad: I meant Rising Star status, not Top Rated (and you are correct, I don't even have an official rate yet; from what I've read, I still need a couple more rated jobs before getting there).

 

I apologize for the confusion, I'll edit my previous post.

 


 

 But whatever you do in any future proposal, do not draw attention to that feedback or make excuses for it. If a client mentions it, you can truthfully say, that you have no idea why your rating on that job was low, and leave it at that. If the client insists, or tries to get a lower rate from you because of it, then you don't want to work with that client. 

 Hum. That's actually very good advice, I mean about not caving in to a client that may want to use a bad review as leverage. I'll certainly keep that in mind and yep, I'm not planning on bringing up the issue myself unless a client specifically asks (which would be in their entire right to do so, of course).

 

Thanks for the tip, and sorry for mixing up Top and Raising! 😃

 


 __________________________________

 

No problem! But just so that we really are on the same page it is not "rising star", but "rising talent".  This is something you would lose anyway once you have a few jobs under your belt and have a JSS. 

 


@Nichola L wrote:

No problem! But just so that we really are on the same page it is not "rising star", but "rising talent".  

 


Ugh... I can't believe I got it wrong twice. I think I'll go study a bit more and improve that 4.0 I got in the Upwork Readiness Test, rather thank keep digging my grave deeper here... Smiley Frustrated

 

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