You will inevitably have to interact with various people when you work as a freelancer demanding to deal with clients, as it is a vital part of your responsibilities as a freelancer to have the ability to manage the clients.
It is imperative to check your tone and words while talking to different clients. Your communication style needs to be flexible to help you tackle different personalities.
While working in this domain, acquiring excellent client service-related skills is essential to deal with challenging clients. This article will help you understand how to deal confidently with different types of clients.
Types of Difficult Customers
1. Angry Client
The most taxing task is dealing with angry clients. They can be loud, frustrating, and rude. It may appear to be difficult, but the first step you need to take is to apologize. Understand that the client might be angry, and you must show that you acknowledge the issues they are facing.
While dealing with an angry client, the most important part is maintaining your tone. They may be raising their voice, but you have to try to respond calmly.
Remember that it is not a personal conversation, and you represent yourself and your business. Angry clients are not looking for detailed explanations. Whatever the reason behind their vexation is, you should make them feel heard and validated.
Some examples of how you can respond to them are:
- "I understand that you are facing this problem. Please be assured I will try my best to help."
- "I apologize that you received a flawed outcome. Please know that I am working on a revised version."
- "I understand you are frustrated. I am sorry for the inconvenience you had to face."
2. Indecisive Client
This type of client will remain confused and keep asking questions no matter how much information you provide about the services you offer. However, unlike aggressive clients, they will happily accept the information you are willing to provide.
Begin with asking about certain aspects of the services they are concerned about. Provide all the essential information to help them reach a decision.
It will be hard to remain patient with them but remember they are scared to make mistakes. You may invest your time and energy, but they may still not be confident about your services.
Some of the phrases you can use are:
- "I understand your concern regarding my services. Can you tell me the information you are looking for?"
- "Thank you for reaching out. Please let me know the details you are looking for."
- "If you can tell me the issue you are encountering, I'll resolve it accordingly."
3. Demanding Client
Demanding clients do not understand the level and scope of services you provide. They will repetitively ask you to do things that are beyond your reach.
It is futile to explain to such clients that you cannot do a particular task. The best way to approach their questions is to say that you will do whatever is within your scope and try your best to address their situation.
You may respond to their continuous questions and requests with:
- "I am sorry, I will not be able to help you with this. Let me refer you to another freelancer who may be able to solve your problem."
- "I understand that you are facing inconvenience. Please let me connect with another freelancer."
4. Critical Client
These clients have a know-it-all attitude. They will try to dominate the conversation and act like they already know everything you tell them. Due to their personality, they may sound rude and critical.
They may point out flaws in your services and exaggerate shortcomings. You will try to explain things to them, but critical clients do not easily change their opinions.
As it is difficult to convince them if you try to correct them, the best approach is complimenting their knowledge and trying to sound like they have your complete attention. Sometimes they may provide you with great insights, so thank them for their feedback.
Here are a few examples you can use on critical clients:
- "Thank you for your feedback. It helps me provide better services to the clients."
- "I deeply appreciate your honest suggestions. Please allow me to serve you better next time."
- "I understand that my services may not match everyone's expectations."
How to Deal with Difficult Clients
1. Keep your Communication Professional
When dealing with difficult clients, keeping your tone amicable, professional, and respectful is vital. It is impossible to understand all the aspects that influence the behaviour of every client.
Suppress your impulse to reciprocate their anger or impertinence. Maintain a positive demeanour with professional language and a calm voice while communicating with them.
The tone of your voice shouldn't change depending on the mood of your clients. Regulate your emotions and curb any feelings that may arise due to communication between you and your client. Remember your behaviour will reflect and represent you and your business. Make sure that the client knows you value their feedback.
2. Choose your Words Carefully
Whether you are talking to the client in person or on the phone, it is important to choose your words carefully. Make sure you do not say anything that can be used against you.
Additionally, words can sometimes be lost in translation. So, it is better to use words and sentences that are spoken commonly. Go for words like "inconvenience", "replace", "issues", etc., that a larger number of people can easily understand.
If your client cannot comprehend your language, you will not be able to get your message across.
Positive words can also convey your message to the client more effectively. Being careful with your words will increase the likelihood of a better experience for the client and make you more confident in dealing with them.
3. Communicate Everything in Writing
It is better to record your communication with the clients to avoid discordance. This is primarily important if your client is complaining about your services.
If you have a phone call with them, sending a conversation summary that includes the conclusion of the issue is a good idea. This will ensure that there is no room for miscommunication or misunderstanding. You should also add the date and the time of your conversation to keep your records organized.
4. Embrace the Anger but Stay Calm
Before dealing with challenging clients, it is significant that you are in control of your own emotions. Remember that the clients do not hold a personal grudge against you. It is best for both of you to resolve the issue as smoothly as possible.
You may be compelled to ignore their rude remarks and offensive language. Try to understand the inconvenience they have faced. To avoid the matter from escalating, you should remain calm and collected.
5. Speak Softly
An angry client may shout rather than address their problem; in this case, speaking even more softly than usual is vital. This is the best approach if you want to de-escalate the tension. Modulate your feelings before answering to quell your urge to snap or shout.
6. Practice Active Listening
A major factor in your communication skills is to polish your active listening. This incorporates listening attentively to the speaker, focusing on the words, and offering feedback based on their problems.
Active listening enhances understanding and communication, reassuring the client that you are fully engaged in the conversation. It will also benefit you to understand their issues and resolve them accordingly.
You may also offer affirmations like "I understand" or "I know what you mean" to indicate that you are actively participating in finding solutions.
7. Give Them Time to Talk
People like to be heard and understood. It would help if you gave your clients ample time to articulate their thoughts. Offer them your undivided attention while they are explaining the problem.
If you are talking face-to-face, use gestures like nodding your head to demonstrate that you are listening. If you speak more, they may think you are trying to take over the conversation to manoeuvre it in your favor.
When you do not dominate the conversation, it allows a natural flow to it where the client can express themselves clearly.
8. Understand the Client's Point of View
Empathy is another skill mandated when you, as a freelancer constantly need to engage with clients. Reflect on the client's perspective so you can empathize with them. This will help you to understand the client's state of mind and intentions.
You may also want to ask questions to better understand their point of view. When you respond accordingly, your client will calm down, knowing you are happy to address their complaint.
9. Assess their Needs
If you are unaware of their needs, it will be difficult for you to figure out a solution. So, the first action is to assess their problems and find out about their needs.
When you invest your time to understand the issue, you will also find an effective way to work it out. Make sure your client knows you are ready to do everything you can to help them.
10. Focus on the Solution
It is best to focus on offering the solution your client is looking for. If you waste time concentrating on minor details, you will not be able to settle the issue swiftly.
Asking the client directly when you need something is a good approach to dealing with the problem. Let them tell you the solution they hope for so you'll have the opportunity to do the same or compromise accordingly.
11. Ask for Support
Sometimes the client may demand more than you are qualified to offer. If what they are asking is beyond the scope of your services, recommend they contact a fellow freelancer.
12. Maintain a Positive Relationship
Once you have resolved their issue, make sure that you ask them about any other concerns they are likely facing. This attitude allows the client to feel that you are more than happy to help them and puts your client service positively. Show them respect and offer them sweet feedback.
In conclusion, demanding clients are a fact of life for freelance professionals. However, you can do a few things to make the situation more manageable.
First, set clear boundaries and expectations from the start. Second, be calm and confident in your communications. Finally, remember that you are the expert in the situation.
If you keep these things in mind, you can deal confidently with difficult clients.