5 tips for dealing with difficult clients


Clients might be your livelihood, but they’re not always the easiest to get along with. You’ll have some stellar ones who are fantastic to work with, and then you’ll have some clients who are just that bit trickier. So how do you deal with the ones who are more ‘difficult’ without letting things get out of hand? Here are some tips to help you out.

1. Actively listen

It can be hard to bite your tongue if the client is having a good ol’ rant about the job that you’ve done, but the best thing you can do is let them get it all out. Make sure you are focused on the client and what they are saying. Don’t be checking your phone or staring off into the distance – this makes it seem as though you don’t care, and that will just make everything worse.

2. Apologise

Even if it’s not directly your fault, there’s no point in trying to point fingers at someone else when the client is already annoyed. The least you can do is apologise, but if you’re worried about accepting responsibility should it escalate, say something like you’re sorry that this has happened to the client. Keep it genuine, and don’t try to make excuses.

3. Ask questions

Similar to the listening tip above, it’s best to let the client do the talking until they’ve calmed down. Ask them for the details of what’s happened, and ask them what they would like the solution to be. Often once they’ve realised they are being heard and that their feedback is important, they’ll be calm enough to have a proper discussion with you about what needs to happen next.

4. Go above and beyond

Once you’ve come to a solution, it’s a good idea to go above and beyond to get it sorted. It might seem like the last thing you want to do if the client has been difficult, but if you’ve really made the effort and made them feel appreciated, you might be surprised at how quickly their opinion of you changes. This can be really helpful in avoiding any nasty reviews as well!

5. Learn from the experience

Even if it wasn’t really your fault, there’s always something to learn from clients who are less than ideal. Maybe there was a misunderstanding over something that you thought was clear – make that thing clearer. Instead of writing off the client’s feedback, objectively look at it and see where you might be able to improve in future so you can avoid any more difficult situations.

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