Bill Gates once said “Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.” It can be difficult to see the silver lining when you are in the midst of dealing with a difficult client. In our two-part series we are going to identify six common types of challenging clients and next week we will give our tips on how to deal with your less than ideal customers and learn and grow from the experience.
Difficult client behavior can usually be categorized into some very typical categories.
Indecisive/Committee Decision Makers
The clients cannot decide to save their lives. Every little thing takes long and intense thought and they have to run it by their team, spouse, cousin and dry cleaner before coming to a decision. These clients are bottlenecks to your workflow and because they have so many people weighing in they have thousands of ideas/possibilities and they are scared they will choose the wrong one.
Everything is on Fire/911
The 911 client thinks everything is an emergency and needs to be done yesterday. They have no respect for the fact that they are not your only client and can be pushy about getting things done immediately. There is no distinction for these clients between an actual emergency and typical workflow items.
Know it All
The know it all knows everything about everything. They question and second guess everything you do and assume they know about your job as much as you do. They make you question why they have even hired you in the first place.
Bargain shoppers are those who want you to discount your prices. Before they hire you they are asking for a discount, extra free work, etc. If you manage to get them into a contract without giving discounts beware, they will continue to look for freebies and discounts.
The client without boundaries calls you on a Saturday and expects that you can drop everything to work on their projects. They disregard your preferred communication channels and ignore your policies. They treat you more like an employee than a business owner who they are working with.
The bully can be a combination of any of the above-mentioned clients, the difference is that they are aggressive and put pressure on you to bend to their way of thinking. They can make you feel pressured to do what they want or else.
Next week we will go over strategies and tactics to deal with these difficult clients and create working relationships that benefit you and your business.