Every client has their strengths and weaknesses, and learning the ways or methods of how to deal with difficult clients can be a life saver for you.
If you are a freelancer, there is a high propensity that you must encounter difficult or obstinate clients that would only want you to do what they think is best for them,
even at your own expense or principles.
I have experienced so many difficult clients that I had to share my experiences with you and how I deal with them.
That is why you should learn how to master the art and act of dealing with difficult clients in the freelancing or business world.
Sometimes, some clients are always adamant about what you should do for them on a project, when you should do it, how you should do it (even when they know little or nothing about how to go about it) and why they prefer such method of carrying out the project.
When you think of how you can work with a difficult client, you will be frustrated and unhappy with the project at hand and probably guess if you should go ahead.
Well, there are strategies on how to handle difficult clients, types of difficult clients, how you can successfully work with difficult clients, how to engage difficult clients in social work, how to deal with difficult clients interview questions and engage them to a reasonable resolution to make sure the project is done successfully.
Now, let’s take a look at the types of difficult clients many freelancers have experienced and business owners as well:
5 Different Types of Difficult Clients
1. The Impatient Clients
Well, for these types of difficult clients, I have observed that they are restless and might have been waiting for a long time to get the job done.
It now behooves you as a freelancer to be constantly aware that they are in frantic search of a solution to their challenges.
You have to make their concerns yours before you can do anything else.
Let me let the secret out to you on how I handle this type of difficult client.
First, I must be clear, precise, and transparent about the project, why there is a delay, and apprise my clients of the importance of being patient if they don’t want a wishy-washy job. Just let them know you are trying to get the project done.
Your client should know that you are on the verge of making things right.
2. The Indecisive Clients
Some clients are unclear about their issues or concerns.
For example, I have experienced a client who intends to get a WordPress website for his local business.
He doesn’t want to make it seem too local, but the goals and objectives of the website to be built aren’t in line with his dreams.
We had to look for ways out of it and let him make the decisive decision.
Such type of difficult client may not let you know their concern as you may have expected. Just be ready to identify them.
As a freelancer or business owner, you need to ask pertinent questions hindering their decision-making process, price, etc. Finally, and most importantly, you should pay utmost attention to their concerns with care.
3. The Angry Client
This type of client will make you frustrated and wish you didn’t take up the project in the first place. It is quite annoying to have worked hard on a project, and the client seems hell-bent on not finding common ground for the resolution.
All your attempts to rectify the situation or alleviate the client will always fall on deaf ears, and they keep adding insult to injury.
I have been in this shoe and I know how it feels. You aren’t an exemption.
You need to apologize concerning the issue (if it has to do with a botched job) and try as much as possible to resolve the point about the challenge at hand.
I’m sure you don’t want to be livid as well. Just be calm and work towards the resolution.
Don’t make the issue long. Make it brief, but satisfying to your client.
4. The Demanding Client
This type of client will always make you feeble when you are on their project. However, you will hardly have time for yourself and other clients.
What I do easily is to charge this type of difficult client and provide a stand on how I intend to do the project.
They are demanding and might not want you to provide a precise option that you deem best for the challenges.
To get this difficult client in the bag, you should be patient, clear, and work swiftly towards addressing the issue.
Sometimes, I buy time to attend to other clients and address their issues later.
5. The Unhappy Client
This type of unhappy client can never be satisfied especially if you can’t find a way to dissuade them from what is making them unhappy.
Your frantic efforts and thought process will make them more dissatisfied.
You can start with an apology, take the blame regarding the problem, and offer them solutions to it (if need be).
When the client is complaining about the project, listen attentively, be sympathetic and tell them the effort you will make to make them happy and get the task done with reasonable satisfaction.
I always give my assurances to my clients and what I can do to make them happy.
Strategies For Working with Difficult Clients
Sometimes, there is the need for you as a freelancer or business owner to have a better grasp of the major strategies used in working with strategies for working with difficult clients as that will give you an edge over others.
You can also be presented with the opportunity of having to defend yourself on some platforms you work on, such as Upwork, Fiverr, LinkedIn, etc.
Here are some major strategies you can commit to heart or master as you progress in your freelance journey.
1. Build rapport with your client:
Always make sure that your client is your number one priority and let your relationship with them be a sound one.
2. Be attentive and sympathetic:
When your client is trying to share their challenges, ideas, and concept on a particular project, try to be attentive and empathetic towards their project as much as possible. They may not know it all, but they know where the shoe pinches them.
I once had an experience with a client who shared with me the name of her pet whenever we were on Zoom call, what the pet likes, and how she likes her pet. I always pay keen attention to the details, such as the name, and ask about the pet when needed.
3. Know that you are communicating with a human:
Your clients are humans like you. They may have their good days or bad days. I have learned this over the years of interacting with clients from different parts of the world.
Try to empathize and brighten their day by being calm, pleasant, and always ready to listen to them. You will surely go a long way with this strategy.
4. Don’t fail on your promise:
If you promise to call back your client or have scheduled a meeting with them, always ensure you are available.
Don’t renege on your promise because your client won’t see you as being serious. Instead, tell them you are committed to the project and get things done for them as and when due.
5. Carry your client along.
When you have a project to be carried out or completed, always let them know your steps and the stages you have reached on the project.
It shows that you take them seriously and you want to update them of the progress being made so far.
Don’t try to make your client guess on what they offer you to do for them. Such won’t speak well of you.
How To Engage Difficult Clients In Social Work
If you are a social worker, there is a high likelihood you have worked with people and difficult clients that you wish not to have met.
This often happens when there are contrasting and contradicting ideas on a particular problem.
Well, I have for you some ways on how you can engage difficult clients in social work.
1. Be patient
2. Be calm
3. Respect your clients
4. Resolve problems and avoid exchange of words
5. Be empathetic
6. Build rapport with your clients
These and many more ways you can learn how to deal with difficult clients in your freelance, business, or the social work world.
I cannot stress the pivotal importance of dealing with difficult clients because, without them, you will likely not be in business.
They are humans like you and me. You need to show concern, be professional, calm, be patient, and be ready to listen to their advice or corrections when the need arises.
You don’t need to be recalcitrant towards your client no matter how difficult they are to be with. I understand they can be frustrating sometimes, but you don’t need to burn bridges.
I would strongly advise you always build relationships with your clients and create a rapport with them. Trust me, and you won’t come to regret such in its entirety.
These have paved positive ways for me in my freelancing career.