10 Ways To Deal With Difficult Clients

Every now and then in business and at work we meet with that one client from hell. Unfortunately they are a part of the business. The one who monopolizes your time, frustrates the entire staff, and makes unreasonable demands. If you’ve got more than one, you probably spend three out of four weekends in office.


1. Choose Your Words Carefully.

Your words can create tension without you even being aware. Try to be on the same page with your clients an accomplish what needed to be done, with zero conflict. Mirroring your customers’ words puts them at ease and assures them that you understand their needs.

2. Be Very Specific.

There are times when difficult clients, even ones who have legitimate concerns, mostly just want to unload on you, at great length and repeatedly. When you find your client making broad generalizations, like “nothing’s working” or “you never finish on time,” then your best bet is to make them get specific.

3. Acknowledge, But Don’t Agree.

Sometimes agreeing with a client who’s displeased will add fuel to the fire. If you can acknowledge their position and shift the conversation to the resolution, the measurable, you’re moving away from the ranting and toward a solution for their complaint.

4. Pin Down The Outcome.

Keep your focus on what your client wants you to achieve. If you’re running around dealing with petty details, you may not actually be working toward the end goal. Don’t waste your time treating the symptoms while ignoring the disease.

5. Use Visual Reminders And Document It.

Jot down the client’s complaints, and as you move through them, if the client starts to rehash what you’ve already settled, then point to the whiteboard and remind them that you’ve solved that problem and you’re moving on.

6. Recognize A Real Personality Conflict.

It happens. Sometimes you’re just going to run into an oil-and-water scenario where you can’t find a way to work with a specific client. Your best bet in this situation is to find another member of your staff to assign to the client. If you can, ask the client who they’d prefer to handle their account, so they don’t feel slighted, but rather realize that you’re providing them with exemplary customer service.

7 . Keep Clients Informed

One of our biggest source of sighs come from client complaints. And one of the sources for their complaints come from them becoming aware of what was formerly ‘hidden’ facts. For instance, if they had not been told about certain drawbacks, additional costs involved or requirements needed for a project to go smoothly, they’re more than likely to be upset.

8. Be Patient

So far, the idea is to not give your clients the chance to become difficult to deal with. But as far as preventive measures go, sometimes some people are just difficult to deal with. Period. It’s not their fault, but it is very tiring to work with clients who just go on and on about how this is not satisfactory, how that has to be done a certain way, or how every little thing is just “not quite right” or “not there yet”.

9. Show Clients You Know What You Are Doing

For any client who is passionate about a project or who takes his or her work seriously, they are bound to be anxious about every little aspect with regards to the project. How will you deliver this, when is the next sample going to be out, I want this and this and this to be modified that way, can it be done?

10. Cut Them Out.

When all else has failed, and when the emotional drain is no longer worth the revenue, it’s best to cut your losses and move on. You get to spend your time working with more productive clients, and one of your competitors gets your irrational client. That’s a win-win.

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