Yesterday, we gave you part one of our two-part series on dealing with difficult clients, outlining several types of challenging clients you might come across such as the micromanager, the frequent mind-changer, and the “vague client,” or the client who doesn’t know what they want.
As we mentioned, dealing with a difficult client can put you as an employer in a tight spot. Not only can it be frustrating and possibly a waste of your time, it can also lead to employee dissatisfaction.
Now that you have an idea of what kind of challenging clients you might run into, here are a few ways you can deal with them. Take a look below:
Communicate frequently. Try to keep your client involved throughout the creative process. This prevents clients such as the mind-changer or the “vague client” from being unhappy with the work once you’ve already completed, and helps you avoid wasting your own company’s time.
Establish boundaries. The last thing you want to do with difficult clients, especially the micromanagers, is tell them you’ll do whatever it takes to make them happy. Not only can this put an extreme amount of stress on you and your team, it can also lead to too high of expectations from your client, which you know you can’t possibly meet.
In short, there is no problem with telling your client “no.” Being up front about what you can and cannot do helps to diffuse any potential crisis that could occur.
Alternatively, you could say “yes” to your client, but if you know that the work requires significantly more attention than normal, you shouldn’t be afraid to work out a new deal that includes this extra work.
Show them that you are there to help. Above all, when dealing with any client, difficult or not, be confident. You are the expert, which is why they hired you in the first place, so show them that you know what you are doing and that you are there to help them. Making them feel like you are there to help lessen the burden of what they need to have done will make things go much smoother for you and them.
When to let go
While not the most ideal solution, sometimes you just have to let go. Weigh the pros and cons of having that client around; if it looks like they’re taking more than they’re giving you in return–and causing a headache for you and your employees–then maybe it is time to say goodbye.
Explain to them that perhaps you’re just not right for the project or task. Just make sure you do it in a civilized manner, though; you always want to be on good terms with anyone you work with, even if things don’t work out.
No one wants a dissatisfied client, but forcing yourself to deal with them can potentially lead you to some bad results. These suggestions won’t help you with every last problem you encounter, but should certainly help get you on the right track.