As business professionals, we’ve all been there. We’ve all been in the position of managing a client who might be described as ‘difficult’ for whatever reason. Haven’t we? Whilst it doesn’t happen often, it can be a drain on your time and resources and detract your attention from those clients with whom you enjoy a mutually beneficial relationship.

So, what do you do about it?  Here are our 8 tips to help you manage the situation:

  1. Keep your cool – whatever you do, maintain a professional manner because flapping your hands in the air, crashing the table or slamming an office door will only escalate the issue.
  2. Arrange a meeting – enable your client to explain their issues and be assertive enough to ensure you are given the opportunity to respond (not defend).
  3. Discuss the brief – was there a miscommunication between what they asked you to do and what you delivered? Explore the brief in more detail together so you are confident in your approach.
  4. Be specific – ask what is expected from you and your team, decide if the required output is realistic or unrealistic and communicate this to your client.
  5. Recognise a personality clash – conflict can, quite simply, be a difference of opinion. Agree to disagree or ask another member of your team to manage the client relationship.
  6. Agree actions – to move forward, agree a list of actions that will get you back on track with delivering your service or product rather than dwelling on the issue.
  7. Try your best – go to bed at night knowing you have tried your best because there’s not much more you can do than that. If you feel you could do more, do it.
  8. Fire them – naturally, you want to keep your clients happy but sometimes (we hope infrequently) you need to walk away because whatever you do won’t be good enough.

Do you have any tips you can share? We’d love to hear them, you can contact us here.