The Shortlist: Dealing with "Difficult" Clients
By Roman Pendzich Posted February 12, 2016
Working with clients can be rewarding, exciting, fulfilling, and, yes, challenging. In our new feature "The Shortlist," we're sharing a quick list of tips on how to deal with those challenging clients whether internal or external. In the end, it's all about being a consummate professional no matter what.
- Say "I don't know but I will find out."
- Clearly communicate boundaries, guidelines and processes at the outset and be prepared to pleasantly "re-communicate" them as needed.
- Double your efforts to document.
- Stay as current as possible on the project's status and risks.
- Communicate even when it's painful or you'd rather not.
- Give yourself a cooling off period before responding to tough/nasty emails.
- If you are the designated fireman work to build trust for future engagements and also try to be the adult in the room or meeting.
- Stay very up-to-date on your own offering, service, tool etc. and never be afraid to ask internal experts for advice with issues.
- Keep conversations as positive as possible. Acknowledge negative viewpoints and shift the discussion to solutions.
- If chronic personality mismatches persist, consider reassigning the project to someone else on the team who might mesh better. This is not a failure on anyone's part, it's simply better-aligning personality types.
Any other tips? Let us know in the comments.