How to Handle Difficult Clients
Getting a lot of clients can be a very good sign for your business. Having a lot of clients means you are doing your business very well. However, running one’s business is not as easy as you think it is. You will of course encounter challenges that can burn you, and your team, out to the core. One great challenge that a business could face is dealing with difficult clients. Lets face it, they are part of doing business. Whether you like it or not, you would have to deal with them. Oftentimes, we just want to stop working with them just to end the stress that they are giving to the team. But, we just cannot do that. As business owners, we must bear in mind that everything will reflect on our company’s image. So, even though they are difficult, we have to deal with these clients graciously.
We previously discussed the benefits of having satisfied clients. Now, we are going to discuss the opposite — the unhappy, and uncooperative clients.
Why are there difficult clients?
You may be wondering why you still have clients that are difficult to handle. You know to yourself that you are doing your best to provide them with the best customer service there is. Why do you think such clients exists?
The first plausible cause is maybe, they think the service you are offering them is substandard. Second, they have set expectations that you cannot meet (more often than not, these are expectations that do not agree with your company’s terms and conditions). Third, and last, they simply have attitude problems.
Often times, these clients bombard you with emails, and calls, even on weekends just for you to notice their ‘emergencies’. They flood you with questions to which you swear, the answers are all over your website. These clients love to discuss pointless things just to get your attention. Worst is, they sometimes ask you how you were raised by your parents because you cannot give a quick solution to their concerns that is next to impossible.
Clients that are problematic is bad for your business. They sometimes purposely delay their payment, making it hard for you to make them pay. They sometimes dispute their invoices because they think you are doing bad business, sometimes, after stressing everyone in your company, they will refuse to pay you. Chasing clients who refuse to pay is a common problem among voice over businesses. They can also affect the way your staff enjoy their work, they may sometimes cause trauma to the staff that are trying to resolve their issues for them.
How do I know if my client is a difficult one?
It is not hard to distinguish a good client from a problematic one. However, these are the common types of difficult client that you may encounter in your voice over business.
One example of difficult clients are the ones who know your business than you do. These types of clients are mentally draining, to be honest. These clients will boss you around, and will tell you the things that you should, and should not do. These clients are hard to deal with because whatever you say to them, they will tell you that you are doing it wrong, and they may do a better job than you.
There are also those clients who are always looking for their representatives, or those that will let your voicemails talk to each other. If you are lucky enough to get with them on the phone, they will tell that they will call you back after checking the details with their team, but they never call back. It is difficult to work with people who cannot provide answers to your questions immediately, as this can delay the process of your business.
Next one, are the clients who will tell you that things can be done easily, and it is as easy as 1, 2, and 3. But in reality, the project that you two are working on requires a detailed explanation. These clients will tell you to figure it out on your own, and just give them the finished product.
There are also clients who will demand you to send to them everything, yesterday, Yep. There are clients who are always in a hurry. Even if it is clear in your company’s term and condition that you might need at least days to accomplish a project, they will tell you that they do not care and that they need what they paid for, pronto! They simply disregard the idea that your business handles a lot of clients aside from them. *Sigh*
Also another classification of a difficult client to handle are those who always complain about every cent that they are paying you. Yes, it is not bad to know where your money is going but, it is different from trying to get 100% on the service that they just received. If they cannot get that to you, they will have it reported to their card’s company for reimbursement. I know!
The last, and the most difficult type of client that you can encounter are the screamers. These clients tend to shout, and they are always mad about everything, and mad at everyone. They sometimes do not even discuss to you the issue anymore for they are shouting at you. These clients tend to make you feel like they own you, so you have to follow everything that they are saying.
How do I handle these difficult clients, and how do I avoid them in the future?
“The customer is always right.” This may be hard to swallow but it is what it is. Handling a business is never easy, but you have to do it in order to keep your business going. Keeping a good relationship with your client is the most important thing, because they are the reason why you have your job.
First thing that you need to do is breathe. You have to remain calm even if the client is threatening you on the other line. You have to be composed. If you become shaky, there is a tendency that you may do your job incorrectly.
You should also listen to their concerns intently. Make sure that they know you are listening to every word they say. Sometimes, they are just calling to rant. The best you can do is listen to them, say mmm-hmm every now and then for them to know that you are listening to their concerns. Make sure you ask questions, you can also repeat what they are saying, and assure them that everything that they are saying is understood, and noted. More often than not, simply listening to them can resolve the issue. Explain your rebuttals in a calm, and not a defensive manner. This will calm them down.
Remember to always answer to their concerns as soon as possible. This will make your client feel special, and that they are prioritized. The sooner you attend to their concerns, the sooner you can resolve the problem.
You also have to always know the root cause of all the issues. Sometimes, the reason why a client becomes difficult to deal with is because they misunderstood what you said, or they may have expected a different outcome. What you need to do is trace the root of all these. Rely on your records, and discuss the issue with the people who are involved. Find out where it went wrong. The best thing you can do is explain to them in detail of what happened, and then offer them the best possible solutions that you can offer.
The most important thing that you can do to handle a difficult customer is to offer them a solution to your problem. If you are wrong, admit it, and give them the options that you can do to improve the situation. On the other hand, if they are wrong, do not press it! Instead, make them understand your terms. Explain to them the important points on the agreement that you have that they may have missed or misunderstood.
Lastly, you have to have a self-evaluation to avoid things like these from happening again, and be prepared for the next difficult customers to come!
These clients may have given you and your team a headache, but you still have to be thankful for them for choosing to work with you. However, there are cases where you will not be able to fix an issue anymore, and the only thing that you can do is to terminate the agreement with the both of you. Yes, it is not good, but you cannot continue dealing with unprofessional individuals who drain the strength of your team.
Now that you know how to handle these clients, we will discuss to you on how you can cut ties with these difficult clients, on the next article.
Have you experienced handling difficult clients before? What did you do to resolve the issue? Share it with us!