I myself have had to deal with a difficult client or two in my time, the list of which certainly tends to see steady growth the more people I service.
It can seem downright impossible at times, in the moment when they’re staring at you intently, talking loudly into the phone, sending page long emails full of critiques and demands. Learning how to deal with these situations in an effective manner, one that hopefully leaves both of you satisfied, is an art that often comes from constant practice and a lot of mistakes!
The following 3 tips are a great primer for anyone who constantly finds they’re at odds with clients, arguing about agreed-upon details of a project, bickering about costs, etc.
Hah, hah! “Hopefully you’ll never need.” If that were only possible.
The truth is that there are only really a few truly difficult types you’ll encounter in business. Most disagreements are generally a result of poor communication and/or poor memory on the part of one or the other party. That’s why Lolo’s tips are really all you need to prevent or at least minimize the bad disagreements.
- Have a contract: Contracts exist so that all parties involved know what’s expected of them and what they can or can’t sue for when things go south.
- Keep notes about all your interactions: I learned this one real early when dealing largely with clients who exist only to me on the Internet. If a client asks for something different than what you agreed upon earlier, or tells you “not to worry” about something in an email or text, then keep that correspondence! They can’t argue with you when they see their email/phone number at the top, where they expressly said something that contradicts the current predicament you both find yourself in.
- Don’t argue: This might seem like a contradiction of sorts to #2, but it isn’t really. Not all disagreements involve tangibles. If they say they didn’t say something that you can prove they did, I don’t consider it as arguing if you can prove your point. Still don’t be arrogant or accusatory.
- Be calm and clear: This goes without saying. If you get agitated, they’ll get agitated. If you laugh to try and disperse some of the tension, they won’t laugh back. Always communicate in a professional tone.
Any indispensable tips for dealing with customers you don’t see listed? Comment down below.
Main image by MissTessmacher