Doug Brown asked:
We deal with people on a day to day basis and no two are the same. Some are easy to deal with while others need kid gloves and yet others drive you up the wall. If you are working, you are sure to encounter all kinds of clients as well. Some are controlling, others are overly demanding, some are prone to micro management, while others do not respect your time; the list can go on. Here are some tips to tackle this situation.
1. Time management
It is quite possible that you might be working with more than one client. In this situation, it is imperative to keep a realistic schedule and stick to it as much as possible. Allocate time to clients as per the requirement of the project and follow it faithfully. Respect their time and make sure they respect yours. Make sure your clients respect appointments as well.
Communicate regularly with the clients. Keep them posted on the progress of the projects. Give advance notices and reminders to ensure client availability at appointed times. Remember, this works both ways. This will take care of over-bearing types who refuse to admit you might have other clients to work with as well.
3. Educating clients
One of the best things you can do is educate the client about the nuances of the assignment or the project. Let them know what it takes to successfully complete it. They will appreciate your efforts and learn to respect the space you need.
4. Clients with controlling mentality
The best way to deal with such clients is to bombard them with information. The more they know, the more comfortable they will feel. Keep them in the loop at all times and make sure they are personally involved. If you get lucky, you can even offload some of your supervision directly to them!
5. Learn to listen
Not all clients are difficult because of their personality traits! They are always driven to be that way for a reason. Learn to ‘really’ listen to their concerns and fears and address them directly at the root. Maybe you will appreciate where they are coming from and help them to relax.
6. Keep written records
It is a good practice to keep a written record of periodic progress, issues handled, communication in relation to those etc. This will help all the stake holders up to speed on the activities and will also save your back-side in case there is a problem in future.
7. It is not imperative to save all client relations
You must be sensitive to your client’s fears, anxieties and issues. However, you must learn to differentiate between clients who are difficult for a reason and clients who are taking a toll on your time and energy for no apparent reason. It is best to get rid of such clients and focus your attentions on more deserving clients.
Dealing with difficult clients can be quite tricky. You need to walk the fine line between professionalism and personal involvement without getting sucked into a stale-mate situation! But with these tips you can overcome challenges to working with such clients.