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How to Deal with Difficult Clients

Chloe Teo
May 9, 2022
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Dealing with Difficult Clients

Working with difficult clients can be challenging.

They can be indecisive, demanding or even argumentative. They may refuse to listen, making communication difficult.

If you run a business or work in a customer-facing role, there’s always the chance that you’ll have to deal with “challenging” clients. In this article, I’ll share tips for dealing with difficult clients when that happens.

Remain Calm and Professional

When dealing with a demanding client, it can be easy to get frustrated or angry. But it’s important to stay calm and professional because it will help you think more clearly and come up with a plan of action. 

Tips on how to remain calm and professional

  • Take a deep breath

When you feel yourself getting frustrated, take a deep breath and exhale slowly. This small action is scientifically proven to have a calming effect on your brain. It will help you calm down and focus on what you need to do.

  • Keep your tone calm and respectful.

Even if the client is disrespectful, you need to keep your tone calm and respectful. It will help you diffuse the situation and make it more likely that the client will listen to you.

  • Focus on what you can do

If the client is being unreasonable, it can be tempting to focus on everything you can’t do. But instead, try to focus on what you can do. This will help you to come up with creative solutions to the problem.

  • Communicate effectively

Make sure that you’re communicating effectively with the client. This means being clear, concise, and sticking to the facts. 

When you maintain a calm composure, it will be easier for you to listen to the client, which will help you to get to the root of the problem.

Practise Active Listening

It can be tempting to tune out a problematic client when they’re ranting or being unreasonable. But it’s important to listen to what they’re saying, even if you disagree with them. They may have valid points, even if they express them in a combative way. 

Tips on practising active listening

  • Pay attention

When the client is speaking, pay attention to what they’re saying. This will help you understand their perspective and figure out the issue.

  • Avoid judgment

When dealing with a difficult client, it’s important to avoid judgment. You may not agree with everything they’re saying, but you need to listen to them without judgment. This will help you understand their point of view and come up with a solution to the problem.

  • Ask questions

If you’re not sure about something or want to clarify something, ask questions. This will help you get more information and make sure that you’re on the same page.

  • Repeat back what they’ve said

Once the client has finished speaking, repeat back what they’ve said. This will help to ensure that you’ve understood them, and it will also help diffuse the situation.

Steps for Dealing with Angry Customers

No one enjoys dealing with angry customers, and it can get stressful. However, it’s important to remember that you are a professional, and you need to handle the situation in a way that is respectful and helpful.  

Here are a few tips for handling the situation better:

  • Do not respond with anger. This can be difficult, but it’s important to remember that the customer is emotional and might not be thinking clearly. If you get defensive, it will only make the situation worse.
  • Try to understand why the customer has concerns. What is it that they are not happy with? Is there something you can do to fix the problem?
  • Once you understand the problem, see if there is anything you can do to resolve it. If there is, do your best to fix the issue. If not, explain calmly and professionally why that isn’t possible.
  • Apologize for any inconvenience or frustration the customer has experienced.
  • Thank the customer for their understanding and patience. This shows that you appreciate their business and value their feedback.

Don’t Take It Personally

When dealing with an angry client, it can be easy to take their behaviour personally. If you get caught up in the heat of the moment, it could lead you to do things you will regret later. Being self-aware of your emotions will go a long way to identifying your triggers. 

One of the most important things to remember when dealing with difficult clients is not to take it personally. It’s easy to get wrapped up in their negativity, but it will be much easier to deal with them if you can maintain a level head. Remember that they are most likely dealing with their own issues and may not be taking out their frustrations on you specifically.

Act Wisely

One of the most important things to remember when dealing with difficult clients is to act wisely. If you can address the issue and solve it, it will be much easier for everyone involved. Resolving a customer issue immediately helps to prevent escalation. 

Consider the overall situation, provide clear updates internally, and discuss what you can provide as a resolution with your team. You’ll be able to handle the situation in a much better way.

Know Your Boundaries

If you have a demanding customer, it’s important to know and respect your boundaries. If someone is being difficult and you can’t handle it, it’s essential to know your limits. That way, you don’t get too frustrated, and it helps you stay calm.

Understanding company policies and previous agreements between company and client will assist you in defining your boundaries. If a client is asking for something that isn’t possible, explain calmly and professionally why that is. Stick to facts and avoid becoming emotional.

Understand Your Company’s Escalation Policies

If you are struggling to handle a difficult client, it’s important to know your company’s escalation policies. This will ensure that the issue is dealt with in a professional and timely manner.

Your company’s escalation policy should outline who is responsible for dealing with customer issues and the process for escalating a situation. Familiarise yourself with this policy so you know who to contact if you are dealing with a demanding customer. Even if you are running an online business, an escalation policy is still essential in laying out the framework.

Following the escalation policy will help ensure that the issue is resolved in a satisfactory way for both the customer and the company.

Schedule A Follow Up 

There are times when it’s best to schedule a follow up instead of trying to resolve the situation immediately. If you’re feeling too stressed or the customer is being verbally abusive, it’s time to end the conversation. 

You can always follow up later when you and the customer have time to calm down and think about the situation. This shows the customer that you’re interested in resolving the issue and willing to work with them. Using a scheduling link will save everyone’s time, so you can provide excellent timing to follow up with them quickly.

Get Another Perspective

Sometimes it can be helpful to get another perspective when dealing with a difficult client. This could be from a coworker or a working partner. Getting another set of eyes on the situation can help you find a solution or understand the problem better.

Advantages of Getting Another Perspective

There are several advantages to getting another perspective when dealing with difficult clients.

  • First, it can help you to understand the situation and the problem.
  • Second, it can help you to find a solution.
  • Third, it can help to diffuse the situation and calm both parties down.
  • Fourth, it can show the customer that you’re willing to work with them to find a resolution.
  • And Finally, it can help prevent the situation from escalating into something worse.

Use Your Best Judgment

Remember that every situation is different, and you’ll need to use your best judgment in each case. It’s definitely easier said than done, and learning how to handle difficult clients is a valuable skill set. If you stay calm, listen to the customer, and understand their perspective, you’ll be able to resolve most issues.

Author Bio

Chloe Teo is a writer and a Channel Sales Manager. With nine years of B2B experience in tech, she helps businesses grow sales exponentially. Her passion is to help buyers make better purchase decisions by writing reviews about software and gadgets at ChloeTeo.com

In Chloe’s free time, she enjoys reading, writing, and eating good food.

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