How To Deal With Difficult Customers

Signed, DCH
by Chloe August 7th, 2017 0 comments

I have personally been living off my words for 4 years now. And let me tell you, I run into the most interesting customers from all walks of life. I feel like as a sister, I would be doing you a great disservice by not informing you of the flip side after you attract that customer you wanted. I want to give you the complete picture.

I know you are elated with your conversion, but you must know how to identify and take proactive measures with your customers. So here are 5  you may encounter and how to deal with them. 

Not Sure What I Want. They change the direction up constantly. In their meeting, they want one thing, but you receive a follow-up email that states differently. 

- Put everything in writing and have both parties sign for it. Make sure to include an excessive change fee in your contract. Any major changes are to be rejected. If they have to constantly pay for redirection, they will typically try to be more definitive with their direction to avoid charges. 

Oh, There's No Deadline, Except It's Due Tomorrow. They never give you deadlines upfront, but when you do talk to them, it's due tomorrow. 

- Immediately create a timeline and have them commit to it. Any request that doesn't align with the listed deadlines is to be rejected. Inform them it risks not only prolonging their project but interfering with your other clients.

Peek-A-Boo. Communication is nonexistent for weeks and months on end, and then out of nowhere, they dump endless task on you that must be done immediately. 
 
- Having a pre-existing system in place is crucial, and then making sure you stand on your square. Let them know that you do work in the order in which it is received and that this is true for all your customers. You will get them as soon as possible, but if they would like to hurry the process along, they will have to pay an overnight fee. But honestly, just explaining to them how your system works should do the trick.
 
Isn't It Included? Every time you talk to them, their list of tasks has doubled in size. They constantly have epiphanies that require expanding the original idea.
 
- That excessive change fee comes in handy. Remind them of the original agreement and inform them that any extras must be compensated up front. And if they drift into a new concept or direction, let them know that it will be valued the same as the current project you are working on and compensation will initiate action. Your time is precious, so tax! 
 
No Days Off. Your phone buzzes at 2:12 am. Another task that they need last minute. Deadline, 8 am. They also want to meet after your office hours. This is also the customer who is checking to see where you are with their project on Christmas morning.
 
- It is okay to say no. Remind them of your office hours and give them a deadline that works for you. Sometimes they need a reminder that we have lives outside their projects. So feel free to send that text saying,
' I will have it to you Monday. Right now I am currently spending Christmas with my family. Hope you are having a Happy Holiday!'
Reassure them. Redirect them. Remind them; you are not a machine!
 
Everything Is Urgent. Their belief is that they are your only customer, and so they have the right to monopolize all your time.
 
- Create a timeline for your customers. Put a deadline to all the project's major check points that way they have a visual that will put them to ease. Also, just remind them you have other clients too. Most times it's not intentional, they are just passionate about their project. No shame in that!
 
There is a tactful way as a business owner to tackle everything, including difficult customers. When you are proactive and transparent with your customers, it makes the whole ordeal easier for everyone involved. This is not to say don't extend yourself in these situations because by all means, give superb customer service, it's just now you are well-equipped to deal with difficult customers. 
 
 
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about the author: Chloe
Chloe Hughes is the editor at Eliza Mary Global Network, a network that connects women of color entrepreneurs and business leaders globally. She is a Content Creator at signeddch.com who helps her clients color their dreams real through her writing, design, and photography skills. She is a vegan fattie who loves to go hiking with her two dogs, You can connect with Chloe at chloe@emgnlife.com. Learn more about the Eliza Mary Global Network at www.emgnlife.com.