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Difficult clients are part of the cost of doing business. Most often, they’re difficult because they’re unhappy with the service you’ve provided. Sometimes, they could simply have a personality that clashes with your company values, or they have expectations that are way out of whack with reality.

 

7- Gather opinions

Business relationships rely heavily on communication, and as we all know, sometimes two people just don’t see eye to eye.  Asking for outside perspectives or feedback from trusted colleagues or friends can open new communication paths or provide a different lens through which you can examine the client relationship.

 

8- Set boundaries

It’s important to set boundaries early on and be firm in your communication. You don’t want to let the customer take advantage of you, but you also don’t want to come across as unprofessional or unyielding.

Start by establishing what you will and won’t tolerate. Be clear with the client about what is and isn’t acceptable, and if they continue to cross the line, take action accordingly

Examples could include:

– Limited working hours on weekends.

– Minimum notice for a given action.

– Standard lead times for tasks.

– Standard pricing changes.

 

9- Counterattacking with customer responsibility

It’s always a good idea to put each party’s responsibilities in writing when signing the contract.  Clearly defining roles and responsibilities up front and holding the customer accountable is an effective strategy for pushing back on their unprofessional ways.

Further, tasking customers with actions that put the ball back in their court – things to do to move things along – can also be an effective way to manage their behavior.

For example:

– “We already spoke with Sebastian about this; please consult with him, and we can speak again soon.”

“Please review our minutes from the September meeting, and you’ll see our agreement documented.”

– “Please verify this is acceptable on your end before telling us to proceed. The schedule doesn’t allow time for us to have to redo this work.”

 

10- Escalate

Sadly, there are some situations when there is a need to escalate a dispute or issue to higher levels of the organization.  So remember that escalation is not about getting people in trouble; it’s simply about resolution.

For example:

– If contractual obligations are not being met.

– When there’s no authority to make a given decision.

 

11- Put your client on probation

If this is a common occurrence, and the previous steps have not deterred the behavior, feel free to put the client on probation. Clearly explain to the client that you’re providing excellent service for him and don’t want to see the relationship end, but also explain your stance on how you expect you and your staff to be treated. Advise your client that he will be placed on a 30-day probationary period, and you will no longer be able to do business with them if that behavior continues.

 

12- Part ways

If it’s your company, you choose who you work with and who you don’t. This is never an easy situation, but knowing how to react when it happens can make it much smoother. 

Contractually speaking, you can part ways with your client by identifying a fair stopping point and negotiating settlement terms.

But before making that decision, one must weigh its possible ramifications. For example, if the homeowner wants to sue for job abandonment, breach of contract, etc., you should have a good explanation of your reason for walking away. In these situations, we must remember that we are professionals and that the homeowner does not necessarily have to abide by the same standards. Furthermore, you can’t predict how a judge will see the case. Often, it is in the judge’s best interest to be pro-homeowner in cases of ambiguity.

 

WEEKLY VOCABULARY 🗣

📌Resolution: a firm decision to do or not to do something.

📌Purposefulness: the fact of having a practical purpose; behavior that shows a precise aim and determination.

📌Boundary: a line that marks the limits of an area; a dividing line.

📌Ramification: a consequence of an action or event, especially when complex or unwelcome.

📌Ongoing: continuing; still in progress.

 

PHRASAL VERBS

📌Follow up: pursue or investigate something further.

“I decided to follow up the client’s claims with phone calls.”

📌Have regard to: as concerns; concerning.

“Mr. Jones made inquiries with regard to the absence of the new employee.”

 

IDIOMS 📒

📌Tread on the heels of following one very closely.

📌Have a short fuse: a tendency to get angry quickly.

 

Related Articles:

📌Dealing With Unprofessional Clients I

https://www.englishpriority.com/dealing-with-unprofessional-clients-part-i/

📌Business Communication https://www.englishpriority.com/business-communication/

📌How to FINALLY Reduce Stress https://www.englishpriority.com/how-to-reduce-stress/



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