It doesn’t matter how happy and smiley you are at work, or how well you deal with people – there always seems to be that one client that knows just how to push your buttons. Find out how to deal with challenging clients before you decide to pull a Naomi Campbell and chuck your cell at them.
Communication is vital to every relationship, whether in work, business or life. If a client is being difficult, it’s most often because their expectations aren’t being met. In order to find out exactly what these are, you’ll need to ask them first.
Once you’ve opened the lines of communication, stop talking. Instead, give them a chance to explain things, clarify expectations and air any grievances. People want to be listened to and to know that their opinions matter, so give them the opportunity to make themselves heard.
Be as clear as possible about the situation that may have transpired or give reasons for any outcomes that the client may be unhappy with. Stay calm, firm and unemotional. This is your chance to respond and explain, so take advantage of it as professionally as you can.
Only if you need to, that is. If you’ve made a mistake, then own up to it, apologise and let the client know exactly what steps you’ll be taking to redress the situation. Mature adults don’t pass the buck; they own their choices and gain respect at the same time.
Make the effort to find a compromise between your client’s demands and what you’re able to deliver. Ensuring that at least some of their needs are met is the quickest way to resolving the situation and to building a stronger relationship with them in the future.
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