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What's wrong with clients lately?

lonewulf
Ace Contributor

I've had few contracts lately that although went great they gave me a 4.0 score on availability.

Every single request they asked for, I answered it within few minutes in the new messaging system yet they were not happy with the availability.

 

When I asked one of them why the low score on that particular category they said that I appeared as "Away" on the new messaging system. That was a contract where I literally answered every question they asked within few minutes (as logged by the messaging system) and also delivered work within few hours (no deadlines).

 

Go figure...

21 REPLIES 21
testsandeep
Community Leader

bad luck Tasos. Thank God that atleast you get a reply.

m_njari
Community Guru

"... I've had few contracts lately that although went great they gave me a 4.0 score on availability.

Every single request they asked for, I answered it within few minutes in the new messaging system yet they were not happy with the availability..."

 

Tasos, you aren't alone in this experience. When we switched to Upwork, I got clients who made history on my record with dismal feedback though showing no sign of disatisfaction throughout the life of the contract - some even showing outright joy at my performance.

 

It disturbed me at first but it no longer does. I realized it's a matter of mindset and there is nothing you can do about the mindset of someone else. Instead of worrying about unreasonable feedback, I proceed to secure more jobs. After my disappointing experience I've been lucky to work with wonderful clients who understand the working set-up of a client versus a contractor. So worry not - there are still great clients out there; and also brilliant ones who know better than be influenced by one or two bad star ratings.

The thing is, many people do not realise that you are not in the same city as them, that you do not do a traditional 9 to 5 job, and that you, as a human being, have a life outside of upwork with responsibilities...oh, and that you also need to sleep sometimes.

 

This is why, if someone messaged me while asleep, I answer with "Good morning, how are you today?"

 

With due respect I'm abhorrently against this advice. When you begin to constantly bend to the whim of a client your a servant not a business. My clients know my hours and I give the deadlines for their projects. I meet those deadlines. If a client wants me to step outside my comfort hours for hours of operation or anything they  either pay for it or don't have that option. Most times is the latter.

 

I can go work for a company and get 9-5hours and work on their time and do things the way they wanted if I wanted to work for others. Instead I run a business, I run it the way I want and deliver a quality product.

 

Managing client expectations, deliverables and expected outcomes is a better topic to concentrate on than advising people to satisfy a client, who pays less than a 3% of my income.

lysis10
Community Guru

I used to work for a guy who believed that there was always room for improvement, so when you got your reviews, you never got your full bonus due to "there is always room for improvement" style reviews.

 

Basically, it made me just be mediocre cuz why try at that point?


Same with clients. There are those people who feel like giving glowing reviews is some kind of bad thing. Sure, no one is perfect, but when this place is the life blood for someone and the person did well, why not throw them a bone? Sheesh.

 

Don't sweat it. Some people are just lame.

lol @ Jennifer

 

Yup, or are pleased as punch with what you have done, give you a glowing review...and do not give you 100% on the private feedback...and poooooofffff.....goes JS. 

 

Basically, screwed if you do, and screwed if you don't.

 

"Shrugs"...focus on the green!

Irene, that is something that, quite frankly, I'll never understand. To be honest, I didn't know about the "private feedback" option for clients until recently, by reading these boards. I'll never understand why a client would leave glowing reviews on a contractors profile, but not leave the same glowing reviews on the private feedback. Ok, I understand that some clients might get confused with the private feedback thing and think that they are giving a good review when really, they're not. But still, if there were any issues or concerns that the client had regarding any contractor, why not make it blatantly obvious to the contractor? After all, we can't improve in an area if we don't know what areas need improvement.

 

Personally, I think the private feedback thing should simply be removed. That would cut down on the confusion for the clients (or misclicks), and allow clients to be more forthcoming about their true feelings on our work performance in their "live" feedback - which, in turn, will provide us with the essential information that we need in order to continue improving and growing as independent contractors. Not to mention the fact that by the sounds of things, the feedback we get from the private client feedback seems to outweigh the scores they give us on the public feedback. 

 

Upwork says to improve our JSS, we need to keep making our clients happy - but with the private feedback implemented, how can we do that when the clients aren't being totally honest with us on our public feedback score?


@Dawn L wrote:
I'll never understand why a client would leave glowing reviews on a contractors profile, but not leave the same glowing reviews on the private feedback. Ok, I understand that some clients might get confused with the private feedback thing and think that they are giving a good review when really, they're not. But still, if there were any issues or concerns that the client had regarding any contractor, why not make it blatantly obvious to the contractor?

 Because many have found to their cost that leaving anything other than 5 stars will see them subjected to a barrage of pleas, begging, threatening, emails, skype messages, or even sabotage of work. So rather than go through all that again they leave 5 stars to have peace and quiet, then say what they really think in private, where they are "safe(ish)" from any negative reaction


@Petra R wrote:

@Dawn L wrote:
I'll never understand why a client would leave glowing reviews on a contractors profile, but not leave the same glowing reviews on the private feedback. Ok, I understand that some clients might get confused with the private feedback thing and think that they are giving a good review when really, they're not. But still, if there were any issues or concerns that the client had regarding any contractor, why not make it blatantly obvious to the contractor?

 Because many have found to their cost that leaving anything other than 5 stars will see them subjected to a barrage of pleas, begging, threatening, emails, skype messages, or even sabotage of work. So rather than go through all that again they leave 5 stars to have peace and quiet, then say what they really think in private, where they are "safe(ish)" from any negative reaction


Ok, I can understand that. Still, how does this private feedback help the freelancer improve in the areas that are so greatly affecting their JSS, if said freelancer doesn't have an accurate/truthful review from their clients? I personally have no problem with constructive criticizm, it's what helps me improve and grow as a freelancer. But, I can't do that if I don't know what areas I'm lacking in. 

 

If our goal as freelancers are to continually improve the way we work with our clients, then this feedback is vital - especially if our JSS scores rely more heavily on the private feedback than it does the public feedback.

d_lidwell
Community Guru

As far as the OP's post, judging by some of the posts that I've read here, it sounds like even some of the clients don't understand the difference between being "away" and being "offline. I can be logged in to Upwork but using a different browser or writing up a press release in Word at the same time. Unless I've got the browser tab set as the one I'm currently using, of course I'll show up as "away" lol. Those moments when our clients see that we are "away" from Upwork, they should realize that it simply means we are currently working. I don't know about you all, but it is pretty impossible for me to show as "active" on Upwork, while looking at a company website and gathering information for a PR or other article that I'm supposed to be writing about for said client. 9 times out of 10, when I'm "away" in my Upwork message box, I'm usually working on the project at hand,

 

P.S. Are we even able to manually change this setting? 

I don't think we can change it. It's alarming though because it's the first time I receive a 4 rating because I appear as "not available" on the new messaging system.

 

And yes even if we have it open in a tab you appear as away. 

Thing is it would be wrong for clients to believe the new chat system represents how available a freelancer is.

 

The other client that also gave me a 4 rating on availability also mentioned how fast I worked on the project and although he requested changes which I provide through the weekend he didn't respond at all over the weekend and contacted me today. Maybe he confused his availability with mine, or maybe he received the messages late thanks to the new messaging system Smiley Frustrated

 

uwrolandokojr
Ace Contributor

Hi,

 

 

As I observed, with UpWork, we really have to be a bit proactive.

 

Updating (daily if it's possible) the client on your progress or a simple greeting a "good day!" each morning would do if you're in the process of completing one.

 

We don't let them feel left out especially should the system inform them we're "away" when in fact we're not.

Don't let them wait to see the status "away" disappeared.  Let them feel we really are "around" 'cause we are being paid per hour.

 

The system could track our responsiveness or tell them we're away for reasons, BUT by a mere communication of updates tells more about your attendance I guess.

 

Well, to sum it up.... freelancers do adjust to clients and systems here, NOT the other way around.... reality hurts but we have to cope with it at the moment.

 

What we could do is just report the issues to upwork, then it's up to them to fix things up.  That way we can help ourselves avoid the same error in the future, as well as helping the admin fix the issue.

 

You can do more. I believe you are great.

 

 

Sincerely yours,

 

Rolando Ko Jr

Great tips Rolando, although personally, my clients, like myself, are aften too busy for me to "check in" with. Then again, I don't take hourly projects usually - my projects are fixed rate contracts. Since this new feature with the messenger system (the one that shows when we're online, offline, or away) was introduced, in fact, I've noticed that the clients that I have worked with so far typically log on for a few minutes every few days (one client - who was new to this platform - only logged in long enough to respond to my messages when I was sending her drafts of the project).

 

Truthfully, I think the need to "check in" with clients on a daily basis is kind of redundant, more specifically with hourly contracts. This is because with hourly contracts, the client can already tell when you're working on their project, what's being done during that time, etc., since it is being screenshotted and tracked with the time tracker. Although I could see how checking in with a client on a fixed rate contract could be beneficial, if needed.

 

Plus, by checking in every day, I feel more like I'm pestering my client moreso than working with them. Some clients may appreciate the daily "good morning!" but others may be content with simply dropping a line to them only as needed. 

 

It's important to find a balance to what is an appropriate level of communication and what would be considered excessive, I think. I also think it depends on the field the freelancer is in. I could be wrong here, but I would assume that a contractor that is designing a website or business logo for a client would be expected to be have more constant communication with the client than, say, a copywriter that is creating content for a business website or blog.

 

Also, every client is different, therefore each client has a different opinion on how much communication should be appropriate for the task at hand. Maybe instead of trying to read the client's minds on what their comfort level is, instead we could ask them during the interview process how often they would like to be contacted for updates.

Thanks and you are right Dawn.

 

We just need to have the feel about the mood of our client or their preferences when it comes

to being responsive with their stuff.

 

And to quote... "freelancers do adjust to clients and systems here, NOT the other way around.... reality hurts but we have to cope with it at the moment."

 

 

Rolando


@Rolando K wrote:

 

 

Updating (daily if it's possible) the client on your progress or a simple greeting a "good day!" each morning would do if you're in the process of completing one.

 

We don't let them feel left out especially should the system inform them we're "away" when in fact we're not.

Don't let them wait to see the status "away" disappeared.  Let them feel we really are "around" 'cause we are being paid per hour.

 

 

 

Rolando, with all due respect, I disagree with your proposition wholeheartedly. I work for more than 1 client at a time. Some have assigned 8 h/week, some even less. Most of my contracts are fixed price jobs.

 

I will not check in with anyone on a daily basis to make them feel "involved" - I am a business, not an employee working and getting paid for being available 9-5 (24/7).

 

The OP is talking about the status the new messaging system introduced. I personally think it is an awful feature. This is not a social media site and it's none of my clients' business when I work/am online. The essence of being a freelancer is that nobody can tell you when, how or where you work.

 

I find it shocking that clients look at this feature and rate down providers because they didn't show up as online all (of their) day (which, as has been pointed out, is completely irrelevant on a global platform covering all time zones).

 

 

Being online all the time has nothing to do with a provider's availability for a client's project - and that is the only thing they should consider when rating their freelancer. Nothing else.

Your provider answered your emails quickly? Delivered the work on time? That is all it should take.

 

I really hope Upwork takes note. This just seems like another new feature making a freelancer's life more difficult and resulting in unfair ratings.

 

lol @ daily updates. No thanks. I doubt clients want to hear from me every day too. Just get it done within a deadline. I write stuff that takes me 3-4 weeks. I don't say anything until I'm done or have a question.

 

If I gave daily updates, I'd probably spend an hour a day sending messages. lol No thanks. Nobody wants to hear from me every day anyway. That is just annoying. I have a couple of clients who would probably tell me to shut up. lol

uwrolandokojr
Ace Contributor

Hi,

 

 

 

That "updates" I was referring is just for a specific client that demands such update.

I mean just that one client amongst the other clients.

 

Of course, we don't do that to all clients currently being handled... as I've said "we adjust to each client's mood".

 

and it's not necessary to update them "all" daily.  

 

Can anyone get me?  

 

 

 

Rolando K

oh i c now.

 

Really though, the client worth having doesn't want daily updates. He just wants to know how much, when, and wants you to make the deadline. 

 

Most of my repeat customers say "Jen, can you do this?" And I say "yep, send info." And they send, fund escrow and wait for me to do it. Clients love that. No hassle for them. I admit it's long-term customers that can do that, but reducing their hassle is a plus for most people.

digitalant
Active

Tasos,

 

Are you using the messaging feature in the tracker?

 

I've noticed that even if I have the messaging window of the tracker open on my computer and I'm working on something else it shows that I am away. It only shows that I am online if I click on the messaging window. This is weird since noone can be expected to be on the messaging window the whole day. I mean we have to get some work done. Ideally the mesaging window should track activity on the computer like Skype or other messaging applications and show you are online even if the window is open in the background or minimized. It should show as away only if you are actually away from your computer or there's no activity on your computer for a certain period of time. I hope they fix this.

No, on these specific contracts I mentioned I was using the messaging system on the browser.

Despite I answered every client question within couple of minutes, they gave me a 4 star for being shown as away on the messaging system which is unfair.

 

What is even worse is that if you don't have the messaging tab open you appear as unavailable and even if you are working on the project the client thinks you are doing something else (both these contracts were fixed-price).

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