5 Strategies for Dealing with Difficult Clients
It is 8am Monday morning—the phone has not stopped ringing, your email inbox is full, and your customers are demanding ASAP responses. If this feels all too familiar, you might be wondering how to deal with difficult clients while still providing the best customer service. Even if you start to feel frustrated, it is easy to forget that your clients also want their job to be done right. They trust you to make sure their requests are fulfilled. Bigfin.com can help you learn how to properly handle challenging situations. Explore our top 5 strategies to utilize when dealing with difficult clients.
Strategy 1: Listen Carefully and Actively
Clients can either be direct and upfront about their needs and expectations, or they can be vague and ambiguous. One way to develop great relationships with clients is to show that you care by simply listening to their demands and requests. Ask plenty of questions and allow for clients to speak openly so they can relay all important information to you. Take efficient notes to show your professionalism and to ensure you did not miss any crucial requests. Also, vocally summarizing what they say shows you are paying attention and allows for any corrections to be made on the spot. Listening alone will show that you care to get the job done right.
Strategy 2: Learn and Anticipate Client Demands
Active participation goes a long way to understand your clients. By listening and interacting with them, you will begin to figure out a pattern in their demands, behavior and responses, and what to expect in the future. Learning to anticipate your client’s next moves or requests is a benefit of developing solutions before they initiate demands. Plus, this gives you not only an advantage, but a better execution to plan ahead accordingly.
Strategy 3: Remain Polite
For those clients who become frustrated, you may experience an angry responses or upset tones at one point or the other Responding back with kindness will not only help reduce their anger, but also create a better chance at reasoning with them. Remaining polite to demanding clients can also be beneficial to your reputation, and your overall state of happiness. A client will find it hard to continue being angry with you when you are consistently polite and respectful.
Strategy 4: Implementing Contact Rules
Some clients request constant contact, which can come across as overbearing. It also might hinder your work performance. Create a set of ground rules to establish that you and your client remain on the same communicative terms. It also prevents the client from dictating the terms of the relationship. For example, rules can involve a mention of no calls on the weekends, explaining your lunch break hour, require signoffs on each completed phase of a task or request, or enforce no last minute changes once decisions are finalized. A signed contract may be appropriate to include so that both parties abide by the rules. Open communication is critical to a healthy relationship with your client.
Strategy 5: Stand Your Ground
While it is imperative to be a professional who responds politely to clients, it is equally important to establish yourself as a creative individual who should not be taken advantage of. Matter of fact, demanding, or high-maintenance clients can take advantage of the notion that the “the customer is always right” and that it is your job to accommodate to their needs. While your client’s happiness is the number one thing that should matter, making them happy should not cause excessive amounts of stress, frustrations, potential money loss, or fatigue. Therefore, be firm, but respectful. Do not be afraid to stand your ground, and show that you request mutual respect. You are a professional and should be treated like one.
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