What do you do when a client sends you an email saying they are not happy?

OK, so we all hope it doesn’t happen but sometimes it does! The dreaded email with a client saying ‘I’m not sure this is right for me’ or ‘this isn’t what I was expecting’ (in bad way!).

The first thing is DON’T REACT. The chances are you will react with emotion, not logic if you respond straight away. The best thing you can do is to take a moment and the time to reflect on how you are feeling and try to put yourself in your client shoes. How might they be feeling?

What happens next depends on the type of program you are offering, if the client has asked for a refund and if you have any guarantees.

If your client has asked for a refund and you have offered a guarantee, then I would stick to it! last thing you need is a reputation for not keeping your promise!

If you have regular coaching calls with your client’s then you may respond to your client and say that you can discuss this on the next call. If you don’t then you could reply via email, SMS or Messenger and even asked for a call to discuss the issue (depending on the value of the client to you), or you could have the conversation via email, SMS or Messenger.

Next up is how do you respond in your messages or structure the call?

I’ve split up the process into sections below:

Thank the client for the feedback make sure they know you’re happy they expressed their frustration – You want your client to feel comfortable about making the complaint.

Be You:
Express a few your own feelings and let the client know you are only human.

For example: “I was surprised to hear that you’re dissatisfied with X”

This confirms that you understood the key issue(s) the client brought up and that you are taking their concerns seriously.

Recap on any ‘reasons’ they give as to why it is not working for them and link that to who they are in their daily life. This show that you can empathise with why they feel the way they do and that you understand their situation.

For example, It’s not easy being a mum and a business owner, especially with your busy schedule I can see having to track all your meals, can be so overwhelming.


I understand how rushed life can be when you’re on the road all day between sales meeting, and how you may feel a fixed diet plan would help you prepare without the need to think too much.

Ask if the client’s goals and reasons why these are their goals are the same as they were when they started with you.

This starts to get the client to think back to why they signed up with you in the first place and helps lead them onto the next part of this process.

Look at what they feel they need in order to reach these goals? Or, look at why the client feels the approach your taking isn’t working (depends on the nature of the issue):

This should be broken down as much as possible. Ask what they believe is the biggest barrier for them, ask about what was happening around that time, how they felt when they had to complete the task, ask what they would do to improve it.

Then follow Task > Goal > Steps > Barriers process with the client:

Task > What does your client feel then need?
Goal > How will this take the client towards their goal?
Steps > What steps does the client need to take to complete the task
Barriers > What barries could stand in the client’s way to complete these steps

Remember this isn’t just about letting the client do what they want, the Task > Goal > Steps > Barriers process allows you and client to identify what you are doing and why. You can also refer back to the barriers they mentioned when starting to work with you. This will help them understand why you recommend the tasks that you did and you can both come up with other options if needed.

Decide on the next steps:

– That could be to continue as planned if through the discussion you come to the conclusion that this is the best option for the client.

– Or to continue with a variation of the plan based on the Task > Goal > Steps > Barriers process

– Or to refer out, if the client needs extra help and support that you can not accommodate then you can refer out.

– Or to part ways. No harm in this if the client is just not the right fit for you program

Follow Up:
Agree to a follow up in a week’s time. Even if you part ways still follow up with them see how they are getting on.