6 Tips on Dealing with Difficult Clients


When you’re interacting with a challenging client, it’s important to remember that even the most difficult clients can become potential long-term customers. In this regard, patience is definitely a virtue. A certain type of customer will often try to test a digital agency, just to see how loyal and how dedicated the customer service wing of the business can be.

Naturally, some clients will never quite see things your way, but by showing empathy and a sense of understanding, it’s possible to turn a negative interaction into a victory for your company. We offer these six simple tips to help you manage even the crankiest of customers.

1. Listen to their side of things

We’re trained to assume that the customer is always right. Of course, this isn’t the case 100% of the time, but it pays to err on the side of your clients. By asking the right questions and listening attentively to their concerns, you can give an upset client much-needed space for venting. Often times, people just need to get things off their chest. Once they have, they end up being much more receptive to your suggestions. Even if this strategy doesn’t work out for you, your client might shine a light on some legitimate shortcomings in the services that your digital agency is offering. Always pay close attention to your clients and make an earnest effort to see where they’re coming from.

2. Remind the client that you’re here to help

Avoid any sort of adversarial interaction with your clients. Let them know that you know that your job is to accommodate their needs. For one thing, a negative encounter with your company might be the sort of thing that other customers wind up hearing about; you’ll want to make sure that all of your client interactions are as positive as possible. Another thing, by reminding the client that you’re on their side, you can deescalate the situation and spin the conversation in a more positive direction.

3. Accentuate the positives

Keep an open mind when you’re interacting with an unhappy client. If you don’t offer a service that a customer wants, or can’t help with an issue, say so honestly. But be quick to mention what service you do offer, or how you can help in a way that may satisfy the customer. You should seek to expand the scope of the conversation instead of narrowing it down or ruling out possibilities.

4. If you’ve made a mistake, admit it

Sometimes, a customer has a legitimate grievance because a mistake has been made. In this case, don’t insist that you were in the right. Clients appreciate honesty more than anything, and admitting that you were in the wrong is an excellent way to show your customer that you’re putting his or her interests first.

5. Go the extra mile

Exhausting though it can be, don’t let frustration burn you out. Being patient might seem like too much to ask when a customer is behaving in an unpleasant manner, but often, a little bit of extra effort can go a long way. By showing your client that you care about their concerns and that you’re willing to put in the work to accommodate him or her, you just might win a lifelong customer by wowing them with your dedication.

6. Learn from the experience

You can’t win every disagreement, but you can build upon the negative feedback you’re receiving from your clients. If a single customer airs a grievance, it might just be a fluke — but if several customers begin pointing out the same thing, it might be time to talk things over with your coworkers and reexamine the services and products that you’re providing. An open mind and a receptive ear are sure fire ways to win potential customers and to keep difficult clients around.

About the author

Matt Naus

I have been building web applications and other digital products for more then a decade. Currently on an exciting journey discovering the ins and outs of content marketing while growing my newest business. Dedicated to helping digital agencies and entrepreneurs around the world succeed!

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