How To Handle Difficult Clients

In business, there will be times when you come up against difficult clients. It would be wonderful if all business transactions were easy, pleasant ones, but unfortunately, this is not reality, especially in business where many people take the mantra of ‘it’s not personal’ to another level, being impolite and difficult whenever possible. 

It’s easy to become upset or angry and to say or do something you don’t mean (or that you do mean but that would be very bad for business). It’s far harder to carefully determine just how to handle a difficult client to make life easier for yourself, and ideally to save the relationship too. Remember, even if they are difficult to work with, if they’re still willing to pay you, they’re often worth staying on good terms with, unless it’s detrimental to your overall happiness, of course. So here are some tips on how to handle difficult clients to make the best of a tricky situation. 


Image from Pixabay

Always Stay Calm

No matter what the situation might be or who is in the wrong, the one thing to remember at all times is to stay as calm as possible. Never react with anger; sometimes this is exactly what the other person wants, as it will give them an excuse to cut ties or prove that you were the party at fault. Instead, speak with a calm, measured tone, and never resort to personal insults – even if you’re subject to them yourself. 

By staying calm, you can more easily take stock of the situation and make notes about what is happening which might help later if you’re in a more serious dispute. If you’re corresponding via email it can be tempting to fire off an angry response without thinking things through; have someone else read the email before you send it, or at least take your time replying so you don’t type something you’ll later regret. 

Check The Contract 

Assuming you have a contract in place (and you always should, in every business situation, whether the client is a difficult one or not), you should always check it through thoroughly before making any suggestions about how to solve the issue. It might be that you are entirely correct in what you’re saying and that the client has no cause for complaint. It might be, however, that you’ve made an error. Checking the contact means that you can be on surer ground before you start trying to deal with the situation. 

If you’re having trouble determining what the contract means, hire commercial solicitors to go through it for you. You must make sense of it before you can move forward, and the contract must be adhered to, no matter what else is happening. 

Call A Face To Face Meeting 

If your dispute has all been via email or over the phone up until now, why not call a face to face meeting? It’s not going to be at the top of anyone’s list of favorite things to do, but it can help a great deal when it comes to difficult clients.

Firstly, by showing that you’re willing to take this next step, you’ll be proving how much you want to solve the problem Secondly, face to face meetings in a public space will often be less fraught than more impersonal meetings would be. No one wants to cause a scene, so both parties will tend to be calmer and more amenable to talking. 

Finally, a face to face meeting is a good way to clear the air. Seeing someone in the flesh and understanding that they want to help or that they want to find a solution is a much more reasonable way of working, and it can often be the best way to start fresh and renegotiate anything that needs to be discussed.

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