How To Deal With Difficult Clients
Freelancing is one career option in which you are exposed to work for all types of personalities. You will encounter few good clients but many difficult clients who may end up making you paranoid.
The truth is that you can not do away with them because they are the majority in this business and you depend on them in order to have a constantly flowing income. There is no formal definition of a difficult client but they can be identified with some characteristics.
Here are some of the characteristics of difficult clients:
1. One fond of constantly changing the project specs
2. One trusting you grudgingly
3. One with nagging and unnecessary chunks of mails
4. One nagging you for daily updates even after agreeing on updating intervals
5. One how keeps complaining of your rates and laments of having hired you instead of somebody else.
6. One who keeps saying that you could have done better than you did.
7. One who keeps threatening you of finding more qualified contractors if you can not provide the services to his/her satisfaction.
8. One too busy to give you vital project information even though his/her attentions are genuine.
9. One too controlling; he/does not give you time to put your expertise into use.
These are but few of the traits of difficult clients but it does not mean that you have to back off when you notice that your clients are in possession of them.
How to Handling Difficult Clients
1. Document every interaction involving you and your client with due diligence
If possible, have everything in writing; and if you are working online, make sure that you save all the emails from your clients and chat sessions using VOIP and other chat session software.
It is important to keep your client informed about everything and make sure he/she agrees with EVERYTHING. Likewise also, agree to everything. By doing this, you will have easy time presenting evidence of what your client had agreed to earlier on incase he/she says something contrary.
2. Developing a protocol that should be followed when working with every client
It is a nice practice to develop a standard protocol governing your service delivery and have it displayed prominently on your business website.
This will show the whole world how you provide your services so that your client at any time may not complain being pushed too hard by your strictness.
Make your clients aware that your services are procedure-oriented and there is no instance you can waver.
This will be beneficial in reducing miscommunications and misunderstanding between each other. Furthermore, troublesome clients will be kept off.
3. Establish yourself as an Authoritative figure
Because you are not an important figure in your field, your clients find it easier to disrespect and nag you around.
Establishing yourself as an authority figure, makes your clients alert to avoid being laughed at by finding fault with your work.
Besides that, as an authority figure you improve your business prospects. Make your client aware about how any change to any of the components in the project is meant to alter the budget.
This should be done at the beginning of the project before you commit yourself.
By specifying costs involved with doing each component of the project, you will make your client responsible in coming up with changes and hence eliminate a prospective avenue to problems.
Furthermore, this will put clients on toes to provide detailed specs of projects and make any necessary requirements hence bringing a good working environment.
4. Know when to decline taking up a project
Though every freelancer wants more projects, it comes to critical moments when rejecting a project becomes essential to avoid humiliation and spending money on it instead of being paid from it.
You should always possess the commanding power in order to avoid loosing the bargaining power to fire a client and preparing to do any necessary damage control.
This may involve paying any advance payments from the acrimonious client.
In order to avoid having your fired client tarnish your reputation, you should own a blog to make use of the PR tools to help you frankly explain why you had to fire your client.
This will help people to understand your services and frankness.
In conclusion, you need to be a good listener and be careful to discern your client’s motives.
Not all clients who appear to be intrusive are difficult; others may give you information that may be helpful in doing a perfect work.
Keep in mind that not all people are gifted communicators like you hence; accommodate the tones used but try to dig deer to find out whether there is sense in their claims and act accordingly.