Whether you own a small local advertising agency or a super successful branding agency, dealing with (new) clients is an unavoidable part of every business. Without them, you will not make any profits, so it is important to make sure they have the best experience possible.
When creating a strong relationship with your clients, having excellent customer support, effective after-sales service, and great social-media connections is just the beginning.
What Are Clients from Hell, and Why Do We Dread Them?
If you’re a social person, you may think that dealing with clients is the best part of having a business. But let’s be honest, it isn’t always rosy, and customer service can easily become a nightmare, even for the most social person.
Yes, we’re talking about clients from hell. If you’ve worked in an agency for a long time, you’ve probably met a lot of them.
Clients have a special kind of power over us, and they know it. The statement “the client is always right” has become their most powerful weapon, and they aren’t afraid to use it.
But in the digital era, one unsatisfied client can knock you down by sharing a bad opinion about your company. Therefore, anyone who works directly with rude clients has to learn how to deal with the rude ones.
Types of Clients from Hell
Every rude client isn’t the same, so we can’t treat them like they are. There are different types of bad clients, and once we know who’re we dealing with, it will be much easier to solve their problems.
So we now present some of the most common types of rude clients:
Since impatient clients don’t realize you have any other clients, they think you should dedicate 100% of your time to them. They don’t want to wait, and they think they have the right to cut in line. Their time is more important than yours, so you should drop it all to serve them. In addition, they don’t understand the concept of work hours. If they send you an email on Saturday at 11 p.m., they want a reply at 11:01 p.m.
What’s the best way to handle impatient clients?
First of all, if you want to keep these clients, you must always keep the deadlines you promise. And you should also check on these clients from time to time and anticipate their needs. If you don’t have time to check on impatient clients, you should delegate this task to a colleague with more time.
Secondly, automation is key. So you should prepare a really good FAQ page, where your clients can easily find answers without having to contact you. You should also consider having a chatbot that can automatically respond to inquiries.
Example from ClientsFromHell.net:
These clients think they know your services better than you. They criticize everything you do, and there’s no way to make them change their minds. They’ll never admit they’re wrong, so don’t even try to argue with them.
What’s the best way to handle know-it-alls?
Pump up their egos by showing an interest in what they’re saying, and thank them for their concerns. Patiently clarify how your products and services work.
If these tactics don’t work, you could send them statistics and whitepapers about all the details of the problems they’re addressing. This way, you won’t waste your time, and they won’t have to admit they were wrong.
Example from ClientsFromHell.net:
Complainers are never satisfied. They’re the master nitpickers, so they will find a problem even if it’s not there. They tend to overvalue the disadvantages and undervalue the advantages. They always have something negative to say.
What’s the best way to handle complainers?
The first thing you need to do is apologize, and reassure them you’ll do your best to solve their problems. Don’t try to make excuses, since they won’t want to hear them. Try to be comprehensive, and understand their positions. Finally, thank them for giving their feedback; after all, it can help you improve your business.
Example from ClientsFromHell.net:
Demanding clients ask you for impossible things you can’t supply, and don’t take ‘no’ for an answer. They keep asking for the same thing, no matter how many times you tell them you can’t give them what they’re demanding.
They’ll try to contact your company through every possible channel (phone, email, chat). They’re hoping that if they contact another employee, they’ll magically get what they want.
What’s the best way to handle demanding clients?
You have to reassure them that you understand the problem and that you will do your best to meet their expectations. Give them solutions oriented to their necessities. And if nothing else works, try to find a compromise that will satisfy both parts.
When these clients have a problem with your company, they start to attacking you, instead of asking for an explanation. Like impatient clients, they think their needs are more important than anyone else’s, so they expect you to prioritize them above anyone else. They’re highly critical, and they’ll try to intimidate you.
Like complainers, aggressive clients don’t care about excuses, so there’s no reason to make them. Instead, stay calm, and try not to respond emotionally. The only thing you can do is offer them a solution. Just remember you shouldn’t let their aggressive attitude influence your decisions.
Example from ClientsFromHell.net:
7 Tactics for Dealing with Clients from Hell
It isn’t easy to deal with rude clients, since you can’t control other people’s behavior. But you can influence them to some degree.
Regardless of the types of clients from hell you have to deal with, here are some common actions that will help you more effectively administer solutions.
1. Don’t Take It Personally
Okay, you’ve probably have heard this advice a thousand times, but if necessary, I will repeat it a thousand more times. The client isn’t angry with you, but with your services or products. So it is possible that he or she just had a bad day, and is taking it out on you.
You need to learn how to respond unemotionally. In the beginning, it will be hard, but remember that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. In time, this tactic will get much easier.
2. Use a Friendly Tone
People subconsciously try to imitate others. Therefore, if you use a friendly tone with clients who are upset, they’re more likely to calm down. Try to speak slower and lower your voice, but maintain your determination.
You can even try smiling while you’re talking, whether or not the caller can see your face; the listener will still respond to your smile.
Also, use the caller’s name as frequently as possible. It puts the client at ease, and reminds you that you’re talking to a real person.
3. Get to Know Your Client
The more you know about your clients, the more you’ll be able to anticipate their reactions and know how to talk to them. For example, if your client is more familiar with your industry, you should use more specific jargon to show them you’re a real pro at what you’re doing.
However, if you know a client won’t understand technical terms, explain everything as simply as possible, so they won’t feel stupid and get frustrated.
4. Use Empathy
When you’re talking to your clients, it’s important to use empathy. If they’re being rude, there’s probably a reason why. So show them you understand their problems, by telling them you see their point.
5. Let Them Blow Off Steam
Sometimes, clients just don’t want to hear what you have to say. In that case, the best thing you can do is to mute your mic and listen. It will help them vent their frustration, and when they finally calm down, you’ll be able to offer a solution.
6. Get Prepared
Think about the different scenarios you could face in the future, and try to find a solution for each one now. Ask your colleagues the kinds of problems they’ve had with their clients, and the solutions they came up with. This tactic will help you calmly manage the situation, so you won’t respond emotionally.
It’s really important for every company to properly train their employees, so they know how to behave in different situations.
7. Know When to Say Goodbye
If you have a client that keeps calling you over and over again and arguing with you for no reason, you need to think about whether this client is really worth it. You could be wasting time and energy that you could be spending on another client that really deserves your attention.
Sometimes, it’s better to just get rid of these clients. A virtual call center will give you the opportunity to create a blacklist. If you put all of your rude clients on that list, they’ll be notified that all agents are busy every time they call you. So they’ll eternally be on hold.
3 Resources That Will Help You Handle Clients from Hell
If you need more information, we’ve prepared a short list of resources for you.
How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie
One of the best books on the topic, it will really help you know how to handle your client. Although it is a self-help book, it will give you many interesting insights about client service. After all, your clients are also people, and if you manage to become friends with them, they’ll be less likely to be rude to you.
This book will teach you how to make people like you, how to win people over to your way of thinking, and how to be a leader. It’s a must-read for anyone who wants to succeed in customer service.
Smile – Sell More with Amazing Customer Service by Kirt Manecke
This book is a winner of 7 awards. In only 116 pages, it presents a complete training program with tips for transforming your employees into customer service experts.
You’ll learn how to deal with dissatisfied clients, create strong long-term relationships with them, sell more products, and improve client interactions. This book will definitely help you boost your business.
10 Ways to Have Better Conversation by Celeste Headlee
This TED talk is useful for improving your customer service and personal life. Celeste Headlee highlights the importance of the balance between talking and listening. People tend to talk a lot, but not listen. During her speech, she’ll give you some important tips about improving your listening skills, understanding your clients’ needs, and figuring out why they’re rude.
Rude clients are part of the day-to-day life of most businesses, but you can learn how to improve these interactions. There are many types of difficult clients, and identifying with them is the first step in learning how to handle them.
You shouldn’t treat all of them the same way, but you should take some actions, no matter who your client is. If we had to highlight one piece of advice, we would say the most important takeaway is listening to them carefully and using empathy.
This article was written by Emma Smith, the PR and content manager at Fonvirtual. She provides companies and entrepreneurs with innovative communication solutions, such as virtual phone numbers, call centers, and PBXs. Emma is interested in digital marketing, new technology, and international logistics. She frequently contributes to numerous blogs, where she tries to spread the word about telecom services in international businesses.