All clients are different. But difficulties that many businesses and freelancers face are often the same. When you deal with difficult client relationships, it can cause frustration and anger. However, professionalism leaves no space for such emotions. Here are some tips on successful client relationship management.
Pay Attention to Your Client’s Behaviour
The more experience you have in business, the more you understand about different types of client. The most common:
- Clients who rush your work and check up on weekends to know if everything is ready. Strategy: establish strict deadlines and assure that you will notify when the work is done.
- Clients who are not sure what they want. Strategy: don’t agree to sign a contract without a clear task in order to avoid being accused of not what they asked you to.
- Clients that change their mind and requirements too frequently. Strategy: make it clear that any additional service or changes applied to your contract have to be paid for.
- Clients who want more while paying less. Strategy: sign a contract that will clearly state how much they pay you and how any extra services cost. Don’t agree on additional discounts.
- Clients who want all your attention. Strategy: explain that you dedicate time equally to each of your clients.
- Clients that tell you that you are doing everything wrong. Strategy: assure that you know what you are doing and keep working.
- Clients who believe that your work is simple and doesn’t take much time. Strategy: the next time they ask “what’s the problem?” explain to them how much time you spent learning to do your job and what steps you need to take to complete their order.
Understanding client management and the way they behave in a certain way is essential as it provides you with key knowledge of how you should react. Of course, some clients might be just petty because of their reasons, but in most cases, you should always pick the right approach to turn difficult clients into loyal ones.
Be Careful with your words
Every person who works with clients knows how essential it is to choose words wisely. When dealing with difficult clients, your words may be misinterpreted, so it’s important to think about exactly what you’re saying.
Stay calm and be polite
Being polite with your clients even if they are not is rule #1 in service. Not only because you are speaking to someone who will be paying you, but because it’s good manners too.
Use your client’s words
Listen carefully and adjust to the communication style of your client – use the same words to make it easier for them to understand your ideas.
This also applies to using complicated professional terminology, as sometimes it’s better to replace them with more understandable words. Even if you use words like “AutoCAD”, “reference designator”, or “AML” every day, that doesn’t mean that your clients do. Find simpler words to show that you are not distancing yourself from your clients.
Provide an Explanation
Not all clients are acquainted with professional terminology. More so, not all of them are acquainted with the specifics of your work. Look at it this way: when a customer comes to a restaurant, they want to enjoy a tasty meal even if they don’t know how it was cooked. It’s the same situation with every business, as clients value the result and not the process.
So, when you tell your client that some of their requirements can’t be met, you need to provide a detailed explanation why. For example, if your work takes longer than your client expects or if some materials can’t be used in the process, give an explanation instead of just saying, “it can’t be done this way.”
It might even take you an hour to explain each step that you need to take in the working process. But this is what some clients need in order to be more realistic about their requirements.
Client Management might make you wish you could read minds to understand just what people are asking for. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to get into someone’s head no matter how much we want it. So, what can you do?
Ask for more details
When speaking with a client about what results they expect to achieve, it’s important to ask for specific details in order to be on the same page. You don’t want a misunderstanding to lead to accusations that you’re not doing your work well. So, always specify what your client wants to be done, how, and when. Then put this information into your contract and sign it with your client.
Why should you do that? When some clients are unsatisfied with the results, they might deny giving instructions to the specialist. In this case, you can use a contract to show that you have done what your client asked you to, so they have no one to put the blame on.
Asking for more details in the process is also crucial. Some businesses and freelancers might face situations when their clients just say, “I don’t like it, change the whole thing.” Of course, it’s frustrating. Ask specific questions about what exact things they want you to change. Ask for their vision or concept.
Client Management is hard, especially the ones who turn to you for the first time. However, a little bit of patience can do the trick. Eventually, you need to learn how to say “no” to the contracts that only bring you headaches.
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