Dealing With Difficult Clients

Difficult clients are one of those obstacles that will show up in any business. Customers being unhappy, not satisfied with your service/product, or just being difficult for no apparent reason, are always going to appear, and dealing with them in the proper manner can be crucial. Although these clients can be problematic, they are just a challenge that can be overcome, and transformed into an opportunity. Some general steps can be followed in order to deal with difficult clients, although more specific actions are to be taken in different industries. Nonetheless, knowing what to say and how to say it can be tracked down to tips and techniques, that can help these problematic situations help our business grow, while also establishing better relations with our clients.

In order to deal with unhappy clients, our mindset has to change. The priority in these situations is to shift into a customer service mindset. Regardless of our point of view in the situation, we have to simplify the circumstances to: The client is unhappy, and it is up to me to solve the problem. This way we give the client the situation 100% of our focus. Once our mindset is adjusted, we will be able to listen to what the customer has to say. Listen actively. There is a reason why the client is approaching us in the first place, and that is, they want to be heard. Neutral statements, such as “Let’s go over what happened”, or “Please tell me why you’re upset” can be perfect starters, as they notify the customer that we are ready to listen to what they have to say. Allow no interruptions in these situations, including from yourself. Focus on listening. Do not rush trying to solve the problem or having an answer ready, as this will distract you and not give you a good idea of what the customer is complaining about.

Showing the customer that you are paying attention to them does not come from just listening to what they have to say. There are cues that customers unconsciously look for in order to feel like they’re being given the attention they expect. When it is your turn to talk, repeating what the customer has said to you in your own words will show the customer you understand the situation from his/her point of view, and that you were paying attention in the first place. This may also help calm down the client and reduce some of their stress.

After all of this, it is up to you how you’re going to solve the problem. It is up to you to learn from the situation that has been presented to you by the customer. The effectiveness of your customer service can help your relationship to the client grow, but it may also improve your company’s approach to business.  So, present a clear solution, whether you tell the customer exactly how you will fix the problem or you will take your input in how your client thinks the problem can be solved. Take action, and follow up, that way you will have dealt successfully with a difficult client, and you will be ready to face any other obstacle that might be presented to you in the future.

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