There's nothing more rewarding than having your own business, especially when you see how happy your clients are with your products and services. However, you may also come across clients who are challenging to deal with.
Difficult clients take many different forms. Some may call your team on weekends or late at night to discuss trivial, non-urgent issues. There are those who dispute their invoices or pay late or not at all. Some may also make your staff cry or feel demoralized with their constant tirades.
When faced with such clients, it can be hard to know what to do. Here are six tips to properly handle these issues.
#1 Stay calm
While it’s easier said than done, you have to remain cool and collected even if your client is screaming at you. That’s because when we interact with people, we tend to unconsciously mimic the other person’s facial expressions, tone of voice, and body language. So if you match their level of hostility, matters may escalate further and you may even run the risk of tarnishing your reputation. On the other hand, if you stay calm, your client will more likely calm down as well. With cooler heads, both you and your client will be better able to communicate and make smarter decisions.
#2 Listen to your client’s problems
Sometimes, clients become difficult to handle because they are unsatisfied with your products or services and just want to be heard. That’s why you should take the time to listen to their concerns. Ask follow-up questions, double check if you understood them correctly, and assure them that you’ll do your best to address the issues raised.
#3 Reply promptly to your client
When a client raises an issue, make sure to reply right away, even just to confirm that you’ve heard their concerns and that you’ll look into it immediately. Then, make it a priority to investigate what really happened. Speak with the parties involved in your team, and review relevant records. Find out if and where things went wrong, and decide how you can improve your processes in the future. Any delay on your end will only make your client even more difficult to manage.
#4 Propose a solution
If in your investigation, you found out that your team is at fault, then admit it up front and offer a proposal on how you’ll make amends. But if you discover that the client is in the wrong, then respectfully point to relevant clauses in the contract and be clear with your standards. Then, negotiate how you can move forward from that issue.
#5 Cut your losses
If you’ve already done all the tips mentioned earlier and your client remains difficult to manage, then don’t be afraid to end your relationship with them. Otherwise, you run the risk of hurting your staff’s productivity and morale, and you may even cut into your bottom line. When you let go of difficult clients, you may just find yourself with more time to focus on bigger and better projects.
#6 Evaluate what happened
It’s important to learn from your mistakes or your client’s problems, so you should always take a step back and ask these questions:
- What caused the issue?
- What could we have done to prevent it?
- What did we learn from this, and how can we apply these learnings in the future?
At Founders Technology Group, we understand how challenging it is to take good care of your clients. Partner with us and we'll handle all of your IT concerns. This way, you'll have fewer things on your plate and you can focus on engaging your customers and growing your business. Book your FREE IT consultation today!