I came across an Instagram post some time ago. The topic of discussion was about ‘bad clients’ and how to deal with them. In my response to that particular post, I didn’t agree with the term ‘bad clients’ but rather, termed them as ‘difficult clients’.
We all as business owners, freelancers, business consultants etc, must have come across that one client who just gives you ‘headache’. You are hardly ever at rest when dealing with them. It’s always from one issue to another and this ends up draining you.
There are five types of difficult clients
The Aggressive Customer
This one is always quick to anger, overly aggressive, highly critical, rude, arrogant, and sometimes, verbally abusive. They would never take responsibilities for their wrong actions, they don’t care if there is a problem or not, often want you to place their needs above everything else, and must get what they want.
Try as much as possible to avoid getting into a brawl with them. Just apologize and understand where they are coming from while looking for alternative solutions for them.
This one complains about even the most minute thing. It could be the color of your shirt, your office layout, how you talk etc. Nothing ever pleases them. It is almost impossible to satisfy them.
The positive side to this kind of relationship is that you may sometimes get some form of feedback which would be useful to your business
The Confused / Indecisive Customer
The confused/indecisive customer asks all the questions you could think of, but just can’t seem to arrive at a decision. I think the thing about them is that they want to be sure of the quality of what they are getting. This ends up exhausting you because you have to keep responding to their many questions, and you might end up not making a sale.
Though, they are often polite and sweet. The best thing to do is acknowledge their indecisiveness, and try to provide or suggest the best possible option for them in the calmest way possible. You could also offer some form of incentives, eg discounts, buy one get one free or whatever suits you. Also, avoid being pushy.
The Know it all Customer
This particular one makes me laugh because I keep thinking to myself, “if he/she knows so much about my business or seems to know how to run it better than me, why are they not in business?” He always thinks he’s right and it’s really hard to change their mindset.
And in the process trying to get their opinion across, they come off as rude, and highly critical. They might try to make your product seem inferior to others.
The Know it all enjoys an ego massage. Be patient and attentive, and don’t take anything personal. Compliment their knowledge of your product. Avoid getting into arguments with them. The goal is for them to leave with their egos intact, and them thinking they got your attention. This can turn them into loyal customers.
The Impatient Customer
He has no respect for your time or if a product or service is unavailable at a particular time. He would most times resort to anger. You would begin to hear things like “I can’t believe this”, “how could this be?”, “I want it now or I’ll go to your competitors”
Patiently explain to this customer why things are happening the way they are, acknowledge his patience, and do your best to attend to his needs as quickly as possible.