Dealing with difficult clients can be exhausting. Read on to discover the different types of ‘difficult’ clients, how to handle them and, most importantly, how to avoid them in the future!
There’s no denying that serving cranky customers or dealing with difficult clients requires extra time and effort. Not only do you need to keep your cool, but also you must choose your words wisely. Nonetheless, you can actually learn a lot from a difficult client, so rather than getting stressed out—consider it a learning curve!
Types of difficult clients
Difficult clients come in many different shapes and forms. They may call you at unsociable hours to demand your pet sitting services. They may cancel your dog walking service at the very last minute. Or maybe there are constantly late paying their bills.
There are several types of difficult clients. Here are a few you may have come across:
Last Minute Lily — You can bet your bottom dollar when your phone rings at quarter to midnight it’ll be Last Minute Lily wanting to book your services for the following day. Why she can’t organise herself and book you in ahead of time you’ll never fathom!
Aggressive Aaron — No matter what time of the day you have the pleasure of seeing Aaron, he’s always angry. He constantly talks with a raised voice and isn’t shy in telling you ‘EXACTLY’ what he thinks about your business or your service.
Debbie Drama — If something is going to go wrong, it will absolutely involve Debbie Drama. Even the most minor of issues will be blow up into a major deal when Debbie Drama is involved. Plus, it’s always someone else’s fault!
Late Paying Patty — It would be nice if just once Late Paying Patty could pay her bill on time. All the time and effort that goes into chasing Patty for payment makes you wonder whether she’s worth the trouble.
Know-It-All Norman — You might be a vet or an expert dog trainer but Know-It-All Norman knows everything you know and more. No, he doesn’t have any official qualifications but that doesn’t stop him from sharing his expert advice at any and every opportunity.
5 ways to handle difficult clients
Sure, difficult customers can make your job seem impossible, but it’s important not to rise to the bait. The key is to stay calm and respond in a professional manner. Again, this isn’t always easy. So, here are some tips on handling awkward customers.
Certainly, the first step is to identify the type of person you are dealing with. Try not to be too judgemental, but see if you can understand where they are coming from. This will help you tailor an appropriate response and hopefully help satisfy the customer’s needs (without bloodshed!). Here are some additional tips to keep in mind when navigating a relationship with a tricky client.
1. Remain calm at all times
Keep your cool; this might mean slowly counting to 10 in your head or making an excuse to go to the bathroom and screaming into a scrunched up towel. Whatever you do, don’t emulate their bad behaviour. Aside from the fact ranting or responding rudely will leave you looking unprofessional, you’ll elevate your status by remaining calm. Talking in a calm, clear way and keeping a level head will get your message across much easier.
2. Don’t take things personally
Sometimes you’ll get yourself caught up with someone who’s simply having a bad day. They may shout at you or talk rudely to you but don’t take it personally. Just be glad you’re not them.
3. Ask appropriate questions
Sometimes you may need to do a little gentle digging to truly understand what the person’s problem is. Tread carefully, as you don’t want to offend them, but you do want to understand where their doubt is coming from.
Reassure the person that you understand his or her feelings and want to do your best to rectify the issue or offer the service he or she wants. Talk openly and honestly to help build trust and calm the situation.
5. Find a solution
No one likes to be presented with a problem, particularly when they’re paying you for a service. However, we all know that problems or accidents happen. If you encounter an issue, consider all the potential solutions before you talk to your client. In this scenario, you can work with your client to find the best alternative for them.
Do you have a tale about a difficult client? How did you handle the situation?
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