Why You Should Meet the Challenge of Your Most Difficult Clients
Look for the silver lining!
The book “If It Wasn’t for the Customers I Would Really Like this Job” was published in 2011 and back in 1994, the “Clerks” movie said the same, albeit less politely. But we should really be thankful for our difficult-to-please clients.
At some point, every business person has had to deal with a difficult customer or two and no one likes being criticized, but the demanding customer can push us to build new skill levels, including our relationship skills. Here’s how to find the positive flipside to the challenging client:
When the exasperated designer says: "The client doesn’t understand how awful the design they want looks.”
The positive flipside suggests: Customers come to you because you are the expert. You can’t just tell people you know better, but you can lead them to make that discovery on their own.
When the frustrated salesman says: “The client doesn’t understand how they’re shooting themselves in the foot here.”
The positive flipside suggests: Education is an important part of the sales process. When you provide the facts and explain how the expected outcomes will affect them particularly, customers are better able to make the decisions that will be right for them so they aren’t blaming you later.
When the support team says: “The client asked me to make seventeen changes already – and wants more.”
The positive flipside suggests: Your process needs tweaking. For everyone’s sake, including your bottom line’s, there should be a clearly defined statement of work, including the definition of what “completed” means.
When management says: “Well, it took longer than we quoted, but we developed a really cool way to get it done.”
The positive flipside suggests: Now find out who else could benefit from this new process so you can replicate it and make it profitable.
Slaving over a difficult project and dealing with testy customers can be trying, but there’s nothing like the satisfaction you feel when everything finally works outright. Sure, putting food on the table is a great motivator for going to work every day, but empowering a client to do their job better than ever because you did your job exceptionally well is what really drives most folks.
Every business has moments of frustration, but without those precious customers, there is no business. Businesses grow, evolve, and blossom to meet the needs of the difficult customer. We should remember to be grateful for those clients who challenge us. It’s not always easy during the moment, but try taking a deep breath and considering the positive flipside. When you look back, you may find those most difficult clients have become your most loyal partners.
Sprocket Websites thrives on partnering with other creative businesses, difficult or not! We’d love to be your partner, too, so give us a call to talk over how we can help your SEO, social media marketing, or website capabilities.
Photo by Pavel Danilyuk from Pexels
This article is an update to “Be a Fly on your Web Developer’s Wall” dated 11/25/2013.