Being part of a business comes with various costs. While everyone may agree with the surface costs, one of the unspoken costs of business is dealing with difficult clients.
Have you ever come across such a customer? They can send your anxiety levels through the roof! If you find yourself nodding along to this, then you may be well aware that difficult clients can be a source of stress and frustration.
Here is how you can effectively deal with difficult clients.
How Can You Identify a Difficult Client?
There can be many reasons why an individual may don the persona of a difficult client, so to speak! Most often, they may be dissatisfied with the services you provide.
They may also be unable to articulately express themselves or have unrealistic expectations. It could also be that they have a personality causing friction between them and your company values.
Difficult clients are known to be a liability to businesses. They are likely to challenge invoices, cause payment problems, and are a humongous drain of energy and effort.
Here are some early signs of difficult clients:
- Indecisive people
- People who are rude and impolite to staff appear to be entitled.
- Aggressive hagglers
- Stubborn customers who act like Know-It-Alls
- People who do not give enough time but have outrageous demands
- Disrespectful people
If you notice clients with such behaviors, you should start preparing yourself since they could be problematic.
Tips for Dealing with Difficult Customers
It is never easy to receive a tongue-lashing without wanting to burst into tears or scream right back. Tough clients are frustrating, after all.
However, you must lift your chin and deal with them in effective ways.
Communicate over the Phone or Through Video Calls
As soon as you pick up on the fact that you are facing a difficult client, give up using emails or texts. Ask them if they are comfortable with conversing over the phone or through video calls. You must let them know that this is what you would prefer to make communications clear and smooth.
Are you wondering why this is necessary? Why should you talk to a client when they are already so difficult to even through simple texts?
The reason behind that lies in how your client perceives your tone and how you interpret theirs. It can be very easy to misunderstand the tone and inflections of someone’s words when you are reading them. If you talk to them on a call, you will be able to express yourself better and understand them more too.
This is especially important when handling an angry client. Explaining yourself through text can give the impression that you are curt or condescending. This will only fuel an angry client’s fire!
Try to be Calm
Even though difficult clients may push all your wrong buttons, you must remain calm. Try not to panic or lose your composure. It is always better to pause, take a few long breaths, and think with a clear mind.
Level-headedness is crucial when dealing with unreasonable or difficult behavior. Panic will interfere with your analytical skills and perceptiveness. You wouldn’t want that, would you?
Listen More and Talk Less
One of the most effective solutions to the problem of a tough client is to stop explaining yourself. You should try answering their questions with your own questions.
This will keep them talking, and they may finally give you the clarity you need. Asking questions about their work will also help them properly explain what exactly it is that they are looking for.
You should avoid pointing out their mistakes because difficult clients do not like that.
Acknowledge Their Demands and Apologize for any Possible Errors
Apologizing is a classic way to diffuse a situation. Even if you have not done anything incorrectly, you should instantly apologize to your client if they are difficult.
You should start by acknowledging their demands and letting them know that you will work to meet them. Try to pinpoint what is chafing your client the most, and apologize for the inconvenience. This will give way to slightly more civilized interactions.
Don’t Hesitate to Ask for Help
The moment you notice that the interactions are getting out of hand, contact your seniors.
If your client is being offensive or causing discomfort, you should let them know that they’ll be better off talking to a senior.
A very common trait of difficult clients is questioning your experience or authority. In such cases, you may not be able to satisfy them no matter what you do. Only a senior can help! Even a simple reiteration of your words by a boss can help bring down the temperature.
What to do if Nothing Works
Sometimes, you may be doing everything by the book, being kind and polite, but your client may still be problematic.
If all else fails, the best thing to do is face the potential loss and ask the client to leave. It is true that the ‘customer is king,’ but this does not mean that a client can exercise unsavory behaviors.
You are, after all, putting in the time and effort to meet their demands to the best of your abilities!
Try to prioritize your client list and work with those who are easy to handle and bring in good revenue. Difficult clients are never worth the time and effort.
Remember, though, that even asking a client to leave can be done elegantly. Stay calm, apologize, and refer them elsewhere.
Difficult clients are perhaps the most tiresome part of working in a business. They can often cause losses if you don’t deal with them in the best way. It is important to keep a cool head and not challenge them. Problematic clients must always feel that they are being listened to. If a client is too unreasonable, it is in your best interest to deny them further services. There are all kinds of people in the world, and each of them is an opportunity to learn something new!