How to Handle Difficult Clients

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As business owners, freelancers, and working professionals, once in a while you may experience working with difficult clients. Client to client the requirements and the expectations may vary. It is very hard to satisfy or make some people happy but you have to work with all kind of clients, because they all play an important part in your work. If you started avoiding clients just because they are "difficult clients" then soon you would end up having no clients at all. Here are 8 tips that will help you more effectively respond to clients.

1. Understanding the requirements

When a client contact you with a requirement, try to emphasis yourself in client’s position and views. Do not come to a conclusion or try to propose a solution until you are very clear on the requirement. Ask respectful questions and get more clarity.

2. Negotiate with client

As a project progresses client may get more involved and request you to include some changes or small enhancement. You will accept these small changes gracefully and keep on working because small changes and additions these are not usually a big deal. If you accept all the small changes, later you feel you have done extra hours/days and end of the project you feel that you did more work on it than you anticipated. Learn to re-negotiate and be aware of theses scope creep.

3. Stay clam

Customers’ accusation can become scathing at times. Never give yourself into the temptation, however, when one tries to lead you into an argument, avoid it and encourage client to tell exactly what is bothering or disturbing them about the product or services you are providing. Your goal is to come to an understanding, not to win a confrontation. Ignore any baseless or harmful slurs about you or your business.

4. Be prepare with evidence

Client may expect and require suggestions and recommendations on solution and decision making from you or from your project team. Client will always question your solution and work. Be prepared and provide supporting documents or evidence for your decisions, solutions and recommendation. 

5. Document the decisions

Keep everything in record even if you work online. Paperwork is not feasible especially when the projects are very small and involve just a few days’ work. Still, save all the e-mails from the client and if you have chat sessions with him or her save them too. This way whenever your client says something contradictory you can immediately present to them which they had agreed to in the past.  They will appreciate and it will allow you to stay organized. If you do not record or have details of all the conversation on decisions, it’s very hard to push back on requests that you think are out of scope and they think are reasonable.

6. Essential communication

Always keep the communication line between you and the client. Allow them to ask questions and let them explain. Exercise your listening skills. Sometimes they will tell you exactly what they want you to do. Now a day the most used communication method in business is e-mails. Mails are used for greetings and confidential information too. When it comes to business, make it your goal to only send detail message.

7. Be responsible

Even if your customer is wrong, tell them, I am so sorry for your experience, and I am willing to help to make it right. This will help to build the trust again between you and the client. You may think as why we need to accept if we are not wrong. But you should keep in my mind that is the best way to retain your client.

8. Draw your line

When you liaise with client you will be able to smell that they are going to give you a headache. Big sign of conflict is when the client starts getting really demanding. Make sure that you are in control and the client needs to conform to your time constraints along with your limitations.

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