The Best Ways to Deal With Difficult Clients

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Unhappy clientsDealing with an unruly client? Here are a few ways that you can handle them.

It’s a fact of life that holds true in the business world: you will deal with unpleasant and angry people.  How you respond reflects on you as a person and on your company.  So, what are the best ways to deal with an irritable client?  It depends on exactly the type of behavior the client is exhibiting.

The Angry Client

If you are simply dealing with an angry client or customer, then you need to deploy a conflict reduction strategy.  First, empathize with the client and listen to their story intently.  Then, quickly ascertain their problem and what you can do to solve it.  The last thing you want to do is to place blame or engage in a back-and-forth.  People want their concerns and opinions validated: diligence and responsiveness is the key to turning an angry client into a happy client.

The Abusive Client

Sometimes a client is not just angry: he or she is abusive.  If you are an employee that bears the brunt of this abuse, run your complaints up the chain-of-command internally.  If you are a manager or owner of the business, you need to take direct action.  It may be better in the long run to lose one client than have low morale affect productivity and quality of service to other clients.

The Prejudicial Client

Unfortunately, even vulgar people make it into the business world.  This means you might (indeed, probably will) encounter a client who makes an off-handed sexist or racist remark.  You need not publicly castigate the client, but you should make it known in private that the comments are neither appropriate nor welcome.  An employee should report this behavior to a supervisor.  If this type of behavior continues, then as a supervisor, you may need to let that client go—more often than not, their business is not worth the cost, reputation and damage from a potential lawsuit.