Difficult clients are a part of the challenges you have to deal with in business. Often, they become difficult because they’re discontent with the service you’ve given. Once in a while, it could simply be because they have a character that conflicts with your organisation’s values, or they have expectations that are out of touch with the real world.
When you’re confronted with a difficult customer in your small business, it can be hard to know what to do. Despite the fact that you may feel like kicking them to the curb on some days, it’s important that you try to try to stay calm and deal with the situation smartly.
So, how can you keep your difficult customers and your sanity?
1. Always remain calm
When dealing with a difficult customer, you should stay calm, and never let your feelings spiral out of control. The situation will only escalate if you respond emotionally or angrily to your client. It’s best to wait a moment and compose yourself instead of answering instantly.
2. Try not to take the client’s words or actions personally
Your client could be under pressure from a demanding boss; they perhaps may just be having a bad day. Whatever the cause, try not to be offended-you never know exactly their situation and nine times out of ten, they are not mad at you personally.
3. Be prepared for the worst
Most of the time, client confrontations can be avoided and settled without the need for any further actions. However, you must still be prepared for the client to make a formal complaint or claim against your business. If that does happen, it helps to have professional indemnity insurance in place, so your business is protected in the event the client is justified in their complaints and decides to seek significant compensation.
4. Record Events
Carefully keep your conversation notes, including even the smallest nuggets of detail. Keep the records and refer to them before the next meeting. This will also help you develop a friendship and win them over with your attention to detail. Try note-taking apps like Evernote
5. Don’t Over-Apologise
If your client is especially hostile or unreasonable, you might want to apologise for everything. Don’t do it!
While an apology may compensate your client, it makes it appear like you are accepting that you have made a mistake. Instead of saying “it’s unfortunate what happened,” let your client know that you know there’s a problem, but it isn’t your fault.
These little pieces of extra effort can make a significant difference in your relationship with the client. After all, clients are the lifeblood of your business, and without them, you would be in hot water. However, that doesn’t mean that the client is always correct either.
You must try to find a way to appease the client while still maintaining your integrity. Stay calm and approach the situations with a level head, try not to take things to personally or to let emotions guide your actions.