6 Ways to Smooth Over Your Relationship With That Difficult Client
Are you sick of THAT client? You know the one I mean – everyone has at least one. Every time the phone rings and their name flashes up your finger hovers over the ignore button, their emails make you cringe, they take up a huge amount of your time for very little money but they bring you just enough income that you can’t kick them to the kerb.
So just how do you deal with the drama and stay sane? Having had a few difficult clients over the last few years, here are some of my top tips to help make dealing with problem clients as smooth as possible and avoid becoming a huge ball of stress.
- Check in with them regularly. While it’s understandable you want to spend as little time as possible talking to your difficult client, scheduling in regular time to check in and make sure everything is on track can stop a small headache becoming an all out catastrophe.
- Be really specific on details. If your difficult client is making broad accusations like ‘you never deliver on time’ ask them to provide specific examples. Then explain specifically how you will solve the problem. The more you can drill into the specifics of the problem the faster you will get past the angry tone and find a resolution.
- Acknowledge their pain without necessarily agreeing with them. This is a good way to diffuse a situation- by acknowledging how your client feels you can start to move the conversation towards a resolution. Getting defensive or arguing with the client is unlikely to provide a constructive resolution for anyone.
- Document everything. If you have a client who changes their mind or swears that blue is green it can be incredibly frustrating. Make sure you document every conversation and that project scope and specifics are clearly agreed on ahead of time.
- Listen actively. Take the time to listen to your client without immediately jumping in to find a solution or defend yourself. Once they’ve finished, repeat their main points back to them to show you have understood. This can often diffuse a difficult situation and allows you both to move on and find a solution to whatever is upsetting your client.
- Take care of yourself. If you are calm and in a good place yourself you’re going to find it a whole lot easier dealing with the antics of a challenging client, and you’ll be better able to stay calm in the face of provocation. Whether it’s exercise, meditation, shopping or something else, taking some time out to do the things that keep you sane is a good investment in your business.
Dealing with difficult people can be a huge stress but hopefully with a few strategies in place you can help relieve some of the challenges associated with those problem clients and move forward in a more positive manner.
What strategies do you use to deal with difficult clients?