Satisfying a Tough Client
If you are working in the design and development industry it’s very important to note that you will regularly face a number of very difficult clients. Difficult clients are part of owning your own business or working as a freelancer but they can also be one of the most trying aspects of any job. When it comes to satisfying a tough client there are some strategies that you can use to have a much easier time and to alleviate some of their concerns.
If you have ever had a client relationship or you simply can’t make a customer satisfied it’s important not to lose your motivation for work. Sticking to a particular strategy and using these top tips can help you deal with the most difficult people and to make sure that you can make it through any project with the potential to salvage a review and get paid the full amount. Keep these top tips in mind when trying to sort through conflicts with your toughest clients.
The power of listening:
Part of the reason your designs may continue to get rejected is because you aren’t hearing the clients needs successfully. Any designer needs to know the project indefinitely to provide a quality product. From a sales perspective you need to gather the information that you can and come across in understanding manner to your client as well. Even though it can be very tempting to yell at a difficult customer or lose your temper you have to let them express their needs. Listening builds trust and rapport and also makes sure that you can prepare to fill the needs of your client no matter how difficult.
Showcase empathy to the client:
If you are meeting with the client for a design make sure that you can demonstrate your empathy through genuine concern and eye contact. Make it clear that you understand our concerns and repeat back what they need. The same strategy can be used in e-mails by being sure to repeat some of the requirements back to your client to show that they are being listened to and understood.
Don’t be afraid to admit when you are wrong:
Often if you are able to grant an agreement to difficult customer or admit when they accuse you of wrongdoing this will lead to an unexpected openness. With a bit of agreement it’s possible that you could work towards a future of positive negotiations by showing the client that they are right. Just like any other customer service position you need to remember that the customer is always right. When you are a freelancer or working one-on-one with a client you have to remember that they are your paycheck and sometimes admitting some fault can help you to dive into some deeper issues and show the customer that you are still very much on their side rather than being defensive.
Remember that it’s not a personal matter:
Dealing with an unsatisfied customer isn’t usually because the customer doesn’t like you directly. There are many designers did take criticism as a personal attack but it is important to note that her rejected design or a client that demands constant revisions is simply looking for the best work possible. Any designer needs to stick with the facts and not take any type of feedback as a slight against their ability or themselves. While artists put a piece of themselves into everything that they do it’s important to remember that with design satisfying the client is what gets you paid! Try not to take a tough client personally and remember to approach every client differently with regards to their requirements.
When all else fails take the hit:
If there is no way that you can work with a difficult client the amount of extra time that you have to spend working on their project and satisfying them is going to end up costing you money when compared to easier projects. Don’t be afraid to cut your losses if the extra stress of dealing with a particular client greatly outweighs the revenue that it brings into your company. This is a worst-case scenario that often doesn’t happen and you should by no means use cutting a customer loose as a viable option for a first step.
Have a specific plan:
A tough client is bound to get tougher when you simply provide them with estimations rather than exact measurements. When it comes to concerns for timeline, what your design team might be doing or updates on their project you need to have some exact answers or a specific plan in mind for what you might say to a client. Brushing the client off, giving them broad generalizations for time estimates or updates or having zero time to address their concerns can only make a difficult customer more irate.
Even when addressing complaints it’s important to ask for specific examples of what the client found wrong with your service so that you can improve not only their project but for the future of your services as well. Ask them specifically which problems need to be addressed to fix their situation or their design and then establish a plan and a timeline that has facts and figures behind it rather than generalizations. With this type of planning and listening you can alleviate a client’s concerns.
Keep these top tips in mind for dealing with difficult clients!