Don’t you hate it when you see a client review just saying “job well done”; or a freelancer review saying only “good client, recommended”? Such reviews are pretty useless to me – they raise more questions and doubts than bringing me peace of mind that I am making the right choice working with the said client or freelancer.
What was the job that was done so well? What does “well done” mean – without corrections? On time? Ahead of time? Above and beyond expectations? For less money than anticipated? All of the above? Something else?
Why was the client so good to work with – good communication skills? Paying on time? Paying bonuses? Not asking questions? No edit requests? Prompt feedback? All of the above? Something else?
Provided reviews are aimed at helping future contacts to make an informed decision whether to work with the party being reviewed, the very least the feedback should outline some job details and aspects of the collaboration.
Here are a few tips how to write a review, to clients and freelancers alike, that would be useful to the reader
Mention the length of the project
Some clients and freelancers are great partners for quick jobs but are a nightmare to work with on long-term contracts when a lot of communication is required. The reasons may be different – poor communication skills, delayed or lack of feedback, unclear direction or edit requests, etc.
Say if you have worked with the other side once or multiple times
Similarly to the length-of-project situation, your review can mean different things, depending on how frequently you work with the specific client or freelancer.
If a client and a freelancer have worked very well during their only project, that’s promising.
If a client and a freelancer have worked very well together on 10 projects and each time the other party is super happy with the outcome, this probably means they are a good partner indeed.
Give a few details about the type of work you did together
Let me give you an example when the same person can be a good or a bad partner in the context of type of work involved.
Let’s say we have a client who is a skilled marketer, with great communication skills but very poor technical skills and doesn’t really understand why it takes months of development to build some kind of a software program from the ground up.
So, being the skill marketer this client is, he would give excellent directions to the freelance marketers he hires. He would know exactly how much time certain task takes so he would put realistic deadlines and will have realistic expectations. The freelance marketers would leave him excellent reviews to reflect the experience.
On the other hand, the same client would be a nightmare to work with, if you are a programmer, trying to explain why you cannot launch their new mobile site tomorrow morning, even if he starts your contract right away.
Unless the freelancers give details about the type of work they did for this client, his future contacts would see conflicting reviews and wouldn’t know whom to believe and why.
Share the aspects of your collaboration that you liked
I know this is subjective but remember that your review is in the context of everybody else’s reviews. If enough people recommend the client or the freelancer for his or her outstanding communication skills, then that person most probably does possess outstanding communication skills.
Describe briefly what you liked about working with this person – replies to emails very quickly? Knows what they want? Expert in their field? Gives clear directions? Handles feedback very well? Always available for questions? Gives prompt feedback? Works well with the rest of the team?
Don’t forget to mention what you did not like about working with the other party
Let me give you an example. Let’s say you have a client who has excellent communication skills but because of his very busy schedule, he replies to emails only once per day. This means that if you send him an email, he would most probably reply the next day.
This is not necessarily a bad thing. If he addresses emails the same time every day, you’d know to send your questions or work before that time of day. However, it is something that does matter for your smooth collaboration. It is not something you often see in other clients; thus, it’s nice to be included in the review for future freelancers to be aware of when considering the client for a project.
Here are a few examples of useless and useful freelancer reviews
All of the reviews are real-life examples; you can see them on my oDesk profile 😉
- Highly recommended!
- Thanks Diana! Great articles! In 2 minutes you’ll have your new job!
- Thank you. Very Good.
- excellent work as always. very creative and effective.
- Diana is an excellent provider. I can highly recommend her service
- Simply put: Diana is absolutely one of the best writers I know. Without a doubt. She not only writes, she does research, spends time in understanding and editing where needed.. Just hire her and you’ll agree!
- Diana is a super contractor. Very professional with great communication. Her management skills are astounding, she always went above and beyond the task, always encouraging and pushing the team to work hard and stick to deadlines.
- Extraordinary professional! It has been an honor to work with some-one of her calibre. She is deliberate with her marketing tactics and implements with great attention to every detail. For me, one of her most important skill sets is her ability to self manage and keep our projects moving forward no matter my availability or the lack thereof. No worries once you have agreed on a gameplan and a course of action. Additionally, Diana puts her heart and soul into her work. She gives you everything she’s got when she gets into a project. I am humbled to have worked with some-one of such high integrity and so committed to our mutual success. A truly great business partner.
- Diana was easy to work & communicate with. She brought some good ideas to the project. Would hire her again.
- Thanks Diana! Perfect writing, very cooperative and good expertise on the subject in a nice writing style. Next job on already on its way!
Here are a few examples of useless and useful client reviews
Again, all of these are real-life examples.
- Brilliant client! Highly recommend!
- Thank you for the opportunity and trust for giving me this project.
It was fun and interesting working with you [name] and hope I can work with you again in the near future.
- Thanks for this opportunity.
- [Name] is a great client to work with. She is very helpful and approachable and is always available to answer any questions. I would highly recommend working with her!
- This project evolved in a lot more than just Email Auto Responders as per original job post. It was a real pleasure working with this business the last couple of years. The business concept and the products are great! Although at times slow on communication due to heavy workload and busy schedule, [name] is one of the best clients I have worked with – flexible, knowledgeable, open to suggestions, always ready to explore new ideas. Highly recommended client!
- This was my second contract with [name]. First one was pretty straight-forward and the second one was ongoing. Mentioning this only because of the communication. If hired for one-time task, [name] is excellent with communication – knows what he wants, very flexible, appreciates the freelancer’s expertise, open for suggestions and development, very smart guy. For long-term contract though, he tends to disappear from time to time, long periods without feedback or any communication whatsoever – it may be frustrating if you are not used to such kind of working relationship 🙂 Either way, I strongly recommend him as a client – it was a pleasure working with him!
As you can see, the above tips for writing a review can go a long way to leaving useful feedback to both your clients and freelancers. You can create a checklist with details you want to include in your reviews and go through it each time you write a review. This way you will make sure your feedback is always useful to the reader.
Jacqueline Gum says
When your work is done primarily through online communications, reviews are essential to getting new clients. Like you, I’m not too fond of the one-liners, and that goes for book reviews too! I always get the impression that the reviewer was pressed into posting something…anything. Loved all of your examples and thanks for stressing the importance of reviews today!
Diana Marinova says
You are so right, Jacquie – a one line review says you didn’t have anything to say in reality; or you are lying… And the same rules for writing a useful review really apply to everything – book reviews, movies reviews, hotel or other accommodation reviews, restaurants, you name it – I bet it’d benefit from sharing specifics. 😉
Jeannette Paladino says
I’ve found that clients who want to write a review for you, will ask you to write it for them! In fact, I’ll even offer. Then they can review and edit, if necessary. It saves them work and you get the review you want. Don’t be afraid to suggest this.
Diana Marinova says
I so much disagree with this approach, Jeannette. I find it misleading and even unethical to do this. I know it is a practice in many companies – I have been asked to do it back in the day when I was making a transition from one day job to another. But I find value in a freelance or client review exactly because it reflects the experience of the person who is writing the review. I cannot possibly review objectively my performance – so a review which I wrote about myself would appear valuable but in reality, it would be as useless as a “job well done” review. Thanks for adding to the conversation but we will have to agree to disagree on this one 😀
WiseMan CAx says
Diana Marinova says
you’re welcome! Please use your name when commenting so that you are not trapped in the spam folder permanently 😀
Whenever I ask someone to write a testimonial or review, I suggest the client focus on what I’ve done to help their business. e.g. increased enquiries, improved conversions or raised awareness.
Even though I prefer clients to write their own reviews, they’re often far too busy or lazy to write them.
So I agree with Jeanette that writing your own review is OK. Otherwise you’ll end up with practically none at all.
I’ve done this a couple of times. But I’ve always discussed it with the client first and established with them what I’m going to say.
As far as I’m concerned, it’s still their review – only I’ve put it more eloquently than they can.
Diana Marinova says
Hi, Kevin – thanks for sharing your perspective but as I said to Jeannette above, we will have t agree to disagree on this one 😀 No matter how you justify it, I will still find it not quite right to write my own reviews.
You say clients are busy or lazy to write reviews. But you can find a work around that. If convinced how important the review is for you as a freelancer, clients will take the time or will get off their butts and rite that review… It’s a matter of perception and how you sell the whole review writing process.
Of course, if the client needs help writing the review, it’s ok to take their draft and polish it to be presentable, for example, but “write your own review and give it to me to sign it/post it” is what I dislike…
Thanks again for the comment, Kevin – it’s good you shared it because it gives good food for thought and can be quite useful for people who don’t have any objections to writing your own reviews 😀
Delena Bobadilla says
Helpful suggestions , I Appreciate the information ! Does anyone know where my company could possibly locate a fillable a form document to use ?
Thanks for such inspiring piece.
Am working on increasing both my clients and rates as a freelance writer. Currently am writing round-up post about Meet Freelance Writers Earning A Six figures [English as a second language]
Any advice will be greatly appreciated.
Diana Marinova says
Hi, Isaac – I’m glad you find the post inspiring. And good luck with your round-up post!
Amjad Ikram says
Hi Diana Marinova,
Your reviews for both freelancers and clients are very helpful. I took ideas from your positive reviews and used it on my Upwork freelancer and client account.
Thanks, and please share more ideas like that.
Diana Marinova says
Glad I could help – thanks for reading!
Vlas Bashynskyi says
Diana, thank you for the article 🙂
I loved the point about saying if we have worked together before.
I usually struggle and don’t know what to write about clients when we finish a project.
Now I will writes something like “I have worked with this client before and hope to work together again” or “This is my first time working with Diana, but I hope we get to do business together agan”
Thank you 🙂
I learned very useful information from your article but i want to know how to give feedback to the client whose task completed by me in time but my client disappeared for long time but after that he appreciates my work so what should i feedback him?
Diana Marinova says
Hi Mehtab, thanks for reading and for your kind words, I am glad my post gave you good info!
To your question – there’s no one right answer, I am afraid. Did the client give a good explanation why he or she disappeared? If it was for things out of his control (e.g. illness or other force majeure), then maybe you can give him some leeway. If however it’s just how he or she operates (delaying feedback, disappearing for long periods on time, etc.) – maybe it’s better to mention that in your feedback. In a way, that piece of information might mean that the client might be a good fit for short-term projects that don’t require feedback, but not as a good fit for long-term projects that require constant and timely communication and/or prompt feedback.
Regardless of what you decide to say about his disappearance, be sure to give him or her honest feedback about other aspects of your collaboration – e.g. did you like communicating and working with them, did they pay you in full, did they pay you on time or with a delay, did they give you clear instructions, did they comply with your contract terms (apart from the disappearance at the end of your collaboration). Try top be as honest as possible. Think about other freelancers who read your review – what would they appreciate seeing and learning about this client before deciding to work (or not to work) with them?
Hope this helps and thanks again for reading!
Good luck and happy freelancing 🙂
Thank you for this wonderful and important information
Diana Marinova says
You’re welcome, Aeda – thank YOU for reading and commenting 🙂