Anyone providing a service has had – will have – to deal with a client from hell at some point.
You take up a job only to realise soon that the client is hell-bent on frustrating and making the job harder than it should for you. Working with a bad client affects your relationship with other clients, wastes your time, and drains you emotionally, financially, and physically.
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In short, you can’t be efficient at your job if you’re working with a terrible client. But how do you stand up to an uncooperative client without spoiling your relationship with them? At the end of the day, you want to get paid and will benefit from having a client who is willing to bring you referrals.
Here are some ways in which you can stand up to nightmarish clients and save you a lot of stress if you have to work with them.
Be Clear From The Start about Your Expectations
The only way any client will take you seriously is if you set clear boundaries from day one. Before you take any job, determine what you’re willing to put up with, and let the client know.
It is frustrating when a client expects you to do things you never intended to do when you chose to work with them. From expecting you to work or take meetings outside of standard business hours, to outrageous project demands, or rude behaviours, there are many ways a bad client can frustrate you.
Of course, every job comes with its own challenges. That’s why you need to be clear about what’s acceptable to you right from the start. Yes, this may mean losing the job offer, but sometimes being without a job is better than working with a client who makes your life a living hell.
Unfortunately, setting boundaries does not always deter bad clients from trying to take advantage of you. It is always best to speak up once you notice a client has failed to comply with your expectations.
This seems difficult because no one likes to lose their clients. You want to get paid for your services and clients can help spread the word about your business and land you referrals. However, if you communicate effectively and you’re professional, your meeting with them doesn’t have to end on a bad note.
Here are some tips to keep in mind
- Discussed via phone or in-person instead of email to allow you to bring in the human element and pass your point across effectively.
- Bring up what you both agreed on earlier on.
- Stick to the facts and avoid emotional outbursts.
Of course, not all clients can be reasoned with. There will always be a few bad eggs. However, in most cases, this will help you build a better working relationship with your clients and allow you to do a great job.
Create The Right Estimate
Money is often the biggest reason for conflict between client and service provider. Avoid a situation where you or the client feels cheated by creating an accurate and fair job estimate prior to any job. With the right estimate, you can always determine when a job is profitable or worth your time.
Know When To Act
Understandably, it’s not always easy knowing when to put your foot down with a client. It is important to know when a battle is worth fighting. Are the client’s demands reasonable?
Have you fulfilled your own end of the bargain, but the client is still asking for more? Are you making a special exception for this one client or you would do the same for others? Is this job affecting your work with other clients? These are questions worth asking to help you know when you should speak up to a client.
If the client is still being difficult even after you’ve called their attention to the problem, then this is a sign to walk away. Refer that client to people who can do the work. This is a professional way to part with your client without spoiling your reputation in their eyes.
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