When you’re running your own freelance business, you’ll eventually run into clients who can be difficult to work with or are hard to please. Whether they make unreasonable demands, don’t pay on time, or just aren’t the kind of people you enjoy working with, it can be frustrating and discouraging when this happens to you. Fortunately, there are ways to deal with difficult clients so that their behavior doesn’t throw off your entire business operation. Use these nine awesome tips to find out how to deal with difficult clients!
1) Offer comprehensive solutions
To maintain control, you must provide prompt and dependable service to unhappy customers. On the other hand, you must be realistic and not overpromise – you won’t be able to offer every client a free refund or return their money immediately in many instances. Nielsen-McKinsey found that 33% of customers select brands that respond quickly, even if the response isn’t useful. This illustrates the importance of responding promptly to client inquiries.
Your clients will appreciate you handling their problems responsibly if you stick to the facts. The best potential short-term solution can be developed in a short period using your skills and knowledge – do not waste time and be truthful with your client.
2) State your concerns
It can be difficult to deal with demanding clients, especially when their requests are unreasonable or business communication has broken down. However, there are some things you can do to improve your reputation and have a more productive day at work.
Develop a working relationship with your customer: It can be frustrating when you don’t know what to do or say to deal with a difficult client, so it’s best to build a solid relationship and develop effective ways of communication. The easiest way to establish an efficient workflow is by listening carefully to what your client has in mind and clearly articulating ideas back at them. Try employing real-time updates on important documents that are easy for your client to view, such as screencasts. It will help make sure there are no miscommunications between your customer and yourself.
3) Back away, but not too far
As a professional business coach, I’m often asked how to deal with difficult clients. The first step is to back away, but not too far. You don’t want to lose the client, but you also don’t want to be at their beck and call 24/7. It’s a delicate balance, but it can be done.
Here are a few ways to deal with difficult clients in a way that keeps them happy but also doesn’t make you miserable. Be sure to Set boundaries, and stick to them. This may mean saying no when you would otherwise say yes. You must do your best work for each client, but if one client is causing more stress than joy, it’s better to walk away before they take up all of your time. An easy trick I use is scheduling slots on my calendar for specific tasks or calls so I can avoid back-to-back appointments or urgent requests. Accept that some people will always be difficult.
4) Trust your gut instinct
If you have a demanding customer or one that is always giving you a hard time, it can be difficult to know how to deal with them. The best thing you can do is trust your gut instinct. If you feel like the client is being unreasonable, chances are they are. It’s important to try and remain calm and level-headed when dealing with difficult clients, as this will help you to better communicate with them and understand their needs. Keep in mind that customer service is important, and even the most challenging clients should be treated with respect.
It’s important to remain open-minded, as many difficult clients have justifiable reasons for their requests. If you find that your client is causing issues due to a communication breakdown, you should work to come up with a better solution and see if it can be implemented. If your client is acting out of line, such as being unreasonable or offensive in any way, it’s a good idea to involve other members of your team so that you can all come up with solutions together.
5) Keep an open mind
It can be difficult to keep an open mind when you’re dealing with a difficult client, but it’s important to try. After all, they are the ones paying you. Try to see things from their perspective and understand their requests and concerns. Only then can you begin to find a solution that will work for both of you.
Don’t be too strict: No matter how much you disagree with a client, try not to ignore their requests and concerns. As difficult as it may be, try to view things from their perspective. Ask yourself what you would think if someone else was being asked to do what they are asking of you. Always listen and try to understand where they are coming from before taking any kind of action. If there is something that makes you uncomfortable, just explain why – but only after trying to understand why they feel that way in the first place. It’s important not to ignore their concerns outright – even if you don’t agree with them!
6) Remain calm at all times
It can be difficult to remain calm when a client is demanding or angry, but it’s important to do so. If you lose your cool, it will only make the situation worse. Instead, take a deep breath and try to see things from the client’s perspective. What are they trying to achieve? Once you understand their goals, it will be easier to find a compromise that satisfies both of you.
Remember that a client may be rude, unreasonable, or even dishonest when they feel threatened by your work. If you come across a difficult client, try to empathize with their situation and their behavior before reacting. If all else fails, explain that you need to take some time to consider their request in more detail and then get back to them in 24 hours. When your emotions are running high, it’s important to give yourself some breathing space so you can think things through logically.
7) Remember your value
It’s important to remember your value as a freelancer when dealing with difficult clients. After all, you are the expert and they are hiring you for your expertise. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t take the time to listen to your client’s requests and concerns. Doing so can help build trust and rapport.
Although it’s important to listen to what your client has to say, it’s also important not to go overboard. By all means, let them vent and address their concerns, but don’t get pulled into an unnecessary debate. This can lead to misunderstandings and compromise your position as a freelancer. Remember that you are in charge of what happens with your client, so be confident in asserting yourself where necessary.
8) Know when to let it go
You won’t always be able to make everyone happy, no matter how hard you try. Sometimes, you just have to know when to let it go. If a client is constantly changing their mind or requests, it might be time to walk away. The same goes for clients who are never happy with the work you deliver, no matter how many revisions you make. It’s not worth your time and energy to try and please someone who will never be pleased.
It’s also important to know when a client’s request is not meant to be an insult. Some clients, especially if they aren’t accustomed to working with freelancers, might have no idea how to work with one and ask you things that come off as insults. Most of these clients mean well and are just making requests without being clear about what they want or being familiar with freelancer etiquette. It’s your job as a professional to tell them nicely what they can do instead so that you can get on with creating something great together.
9) Do not take it personally
When a client is difficult, it can be easy to take it personally. After all, you are putting your heart and soul into your work. But try to remember that it is not about you. The client may be having a bad day, or maybe they’re just naturally difficult. Either way, don’t take it personally.
Remember that you are providing a service. Your clients should be grateful to have you on their team, so try to keep that in mind when they start getting difficult. If possible, ask your co-workers or manager what they do in situations like these, as they may have some tips and tricks for dealing with difficult clients. In most cases, it’s simply best to take a step back and let them cool off before you try talking things out again. The important thing is that you don’t let them put you off your game just because they happen to be having a bad day.
As a business owner, you will inevitably come across a difficult client. It’s important to remember that the client is always right, even if they are being unreasonable. Be patient and thoughtful with your client’s requests and concerns. Try not to take things personally; just like with people, we often have preconceived notions about businesses based on our past experiences or word of mouth from friends. If someone complains about your product or service, it may be because they had a bad experience in the past or felt ripped off at some point in their life by another company.