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Should the power for clients to ruin a portfolio be nerfed?

Ace Contributor
Nathan A Member Since: Dec 29, 2020
1 of 46

I recently had a bad experience that has left a bad taste in my mouth, and made me think the rating system might need some reform.


I worked on a project for a client (who actually hired me because I told her she was going to be extremely difficult and picky and I welcomed the challenge - she liked my assertiveness she said) and everything started off really well.

 

We went through 7 milestones, and she was super happy, saying how I'm her #1 guy and she wants to hire me full time.  Then on the 8th and final milestone, she was under immense pressure after one of her presentations didnt go the way she wanted, and she had taken on a high-pressure (and demanding) course which left her with very little time to focus on this project.

 

The milestone started off rocky, with her instructions missing lots of the basic information I usually need, but I powered on because she was in a hurry. Her feedback was no better, feeling rushed, contradictory and lacking detail. Time was being wasted on both sides and I was getting frustrated going in circles without clear direction. At one point I just sent her a small list of links asking her for quick feedback of which one she likes best so that it could help clarify the confusion - and she practically lost it on me telling me she didnt have time (3 minutes) to quickly review the links. I guess you could say I 'virtually spanked' her at that point, telling her she needs to get it together and be more specific with her feedback becacuse I can't read her mind, or we just can't continue working together. I said it a little nicer than that, but was firm. 

 

The next day we laughed it off as our 'first fight' and she came back with proper instructions and feedback, and I powered on. I presented a couple suggestions on color variations for the logo, as well as the original, which she did not take too well. But other color or background suggestions were greeted with open arms. It was kind of like walking on egg shells, not knowing what would trigger her.  Soon there after the project was complete! 


A couple days later I asked her for her feedback on how the project went. She made a huge deal about me giving her color options. Color options of a logo I had created just a couple days prior, after taking over the job because she fired the previous freelancer doing it. I was also blamed for some things that were not even my fault and not even my job, it had to do with the coding guy not doing his job, I was only doing the design work. So I shared some my frustrations too. I probably could have / should have accepted her feedback without correcting her or reminding her of my own frustrations.

 

A few days of silence, and I notice the website was finally up, but broken looking, like a first time coder had done it. The logo I wasn't able to touch was now stretched 150% in height. So I asked her what happened, and she immediately closed the contract and left me a 4.3 star review with no feedback, and single handedly dropped my job completion rate from 100% to 85%.

 

So question / conclusion is this:
How is it at all fair that a client can have a great experience with several milestones, essentially re-hiring you 8 times, but at the end they throw a tantrum and give you a bad rating because they were in a pissy mood that day.  You would think upwork would/should account for the fact that he/she re-hired you 8 times before considering  their (likely) 'would not recommend this freelancer' rating in full weight. I think it's really dangerous and unfortunate to give clients the power to single handedly taint your profile like this. 

A simple solution to this
might just be having clients give public/private feedback on every milestone, which is then accumulated into one 'final' public and private feedback score. Maybe the same could be done with weekly billings, too. 

Edit feel free to comment on the problem or solution and try not to get too caught up in your personal feelings about how the situation could have been handled. I know I have things I can improve on. 

Community Guru
Jamie F Member Since: Mar 7, 2010
2 of 46

So you knew she was going to be difficult but still agreed to work with her? And now you're complaining that you have a ding in your JSS?

Put it down to experience and don't worry about the JSS. 88% is really not a big deal and will make little difference. 

Ace Contributor
Nathan A Member Since: Dec 29, 2020
3 of 46

If you read it you'd see I'm complaining that upwork allows for unfair feedback, or does not weigh it properly. But thanks for your contribution.

Community Guru
Christine A Member Since: May 4, 2016
4 of 46

Nathan A wrote:

...I guess you could say I 'virtually spanked' her at that point, telling her she needs to get it together and be more specific with her feedback becacuse I can't read her mind, or we just can't continue working together... 

 

....and I shared some my frustrations too. 

 

I probably could have / should have accepted her feedback without correcting her or reminding her of my own frustrations...


It sounds like you were extremely rude and unprofessional with this client. I think that you were lucky to escape with a 4.3 rating. 

 

Ace Contributor
Nathan A Member Since: Dec 29, 2020
5 of 46

Not gonna say I didn't expect answers like this. You might not agree, but we are not clients punching bags.

 

Community Guru
Will L Member Since: Jul 9, 2015
6 of 46

Nathan,

 

I assume most serious freelancers try to avoid working with difficult clients, not least because they are unpleasant and are, all things being equal, probably more likely than nice clients to leave less-than-stellar feedback when a project is over.

 

You purposely chose to work with such a client and to antagonize her.

 

Now you see that it is a dangerous strategy for long-term success on Upwork.

 

Keeping a high JSS is hard enough when you choose your clients carefully. Play with fire here and you will get burned,

 

Your experience has nothing to do with any weakness in the JSS system. It is a flawed system, but even if it were perfect it couldn't have saved your JSS from being dinged by such poor decisions as you have made.

Ace Contributor
Nathan A Member Since: Dec 29, 2020
7 of 46

Will, you say that meanwhile you remove bad feedback from your profile. 

 

While I agree with most of what you said, if the JSS was not as flawed as it is, it wouldnt have affected my JSS so much.

Upwork logic:
Client hires someone 8 times, which shows that very client would recommend hiring that freelancer, and does so themselves, but client throws a tantrum and leaves poor feedback. Upwork doesn't account for previous success on milestones and considers it in its full weight. 

 

It's kind of like ordering 7 plates of food and loving them so much you order one more, but oh gosh it burned my tongue, so you rate all 8 plates on that one single plate. Seems a little broken.



Community Leader
Gina H Member Since: Aug 10, 2020
8 of 46

Nathan A wrote:

 

It's kind of like ordering 7 plates of food and loving them so much you order one more, but oh gosh it burned my tongue, so you rate all 8 plates on that one single plate. Seems a little broken.


I mean, it sounds to me like if she rated all 8 plates on that single plate the way you seem to claim she did, you'd have a hot 1.7 stars, but okay

Ace Contributor
Nathan A Member Since: Dec 29, 2020
9 of 46

If someone in a restaurant orders 7 plates and loves them enough to order an 8th, just how 'seriously' would you take the 'nO i DoNt ReCoMmEnD tHiS rEsTaUrAnT' review. That is my point. The "weight" given to the reviews should be evaluated if several previous successful milestones or projects were completed. 

 

 

Community Leader
Gina H Member Since: Aug 10, 2020
10 of 46

Nathan A wrote:

I guess you could say I 'virtually spanked' her at that point, telling her she needs to get it together and be more specific with her feedback becacuse I can't read her mind, or we just can't continue working together. 


How is it at all fair that a client can have a great experience with several milestones, essentially re-hiring you 8 times, but at the end they throw a tantrum and give you a bad rating because they were in a pissy mood that day.  You would think upwork would/should account for the fact that she re-hired you 8 times before considering  her (likely) 'would not recommend this freelancer' rating in full weight.


Part 1: You do not know how to speak to clients. And I've been in some difficult situations, believe you me.

Part 2: Upwork is not responsible for monitoring feedback because you own and manage your own business. And it IS very possible someone can rehire someone 7 times and then have such a poor experience that they feel that it is necessary to be honest about their final impression.

You're lucky you escaped with the number that you did, that's essentially a "B" rating. Learn from your mistakes and move on.

 

Also you definitely are getting way too personal with your client when they are telling you the nitty gritty details of their personal life, their mood, etc. - "first fight"? Really? that implies a really unprofessional and extremely childish dynamic and you allowed that to happen.

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