How to Deal with Difficult Customers

As much as we would always like to deal with happy, pleasant customers who pay on time, this is often far from this case. If you run your own business, you will come up against many different hurdles and one of these is dealing with awkward customers. Your ability to deal with difficult customers will help determine how successful you are and the type of customers you attract in the future. There is no pleasing everyone in business and it can often be disheartening when you need to deal with someone who isn’t quite as amiable as you might like. Unfortunately, this is an aspect of running a business which is often not transparent before you get set up, but it affects most business owners. If you come up against customers who are giving you a difficult time, these are some effective ways to deal with them.

Be Open to Changes

Although running a business would be a lot simpler if every customer was happy with the work you provide, first time; this is often not the case. It is likely that the majority of customers will accept your first submission, but it is important to be open to making changes, if necessary. Sometimes customers aren’t clear with their requirements or there may be miscommunication, but it is important to be open to change, if this is possible within your business. Those businesses who are prepared to edit work to suit their customers, are more likely to be successful than those who take it as a personal attack.


Stay Professional

There are all sorts of issues which can arise with customers; they may be refusing to pay an invoice, they could be overly demanding or maybe there is no pleasing them, no matter what you do. Whatever the issues are, it is important to stay professional, as difficult as that may seem at the time. For instance, you have probably encountered the client who doesn’t pay or return emails/calls and it can be really difficult to stay calm, especially if you know they have read your correspondence. However, instead of allowing yourself to get into an uncontrollable rant; take time to think about what you want to say and ensure you stick to the facts at all times.

Set Processes

It is important to set processes with your clients and be clear with what you can deliver, as this is often the reason why relationships break down. For example, you should make it clear what you will deliver and the expected timeframe. You should also advise them on the payment process and when you will invoice/expect payment. If possible, it is also a good idea to send your terms and conditions to clients, so that everything is set out clearly and there is no room for confusion.

Know When to Walk Away

As a business owner, the last thing you want is to turn customers away, however, this is sometimes the only option. If a customer won’t leave you alone to get on with the job, they are not clear with their needs but are asking for constant changes or they are making you feel stressed or upset, it is not worth the struggle. Many people just don’t have the social skills to be able to deal with others in an appropriate manner and if you feel like a customer is making your life unnecessarily difficult, it may be time to end the business relationship.


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