To continue on with a similar theme from last week, today we’re going to touch on how (and why) your toughest client can also be your greatest ally. Now I know that that probably sounds ridiculous and insane, but I kid you not. They really can be.
Get on the Wait List & Get an Exclusive Promo Code!
But before we get started, I wanted you to be the first to know that the Fall session of “The Exceptional Experience” will be open for enrollment very soon! It’s going to be 6 action packed, implement it right now, can’t believe I’m learning all of this, weeks of finding out even more deeply about how to manage client relationships from beginning to end, how to design the design process to set yourself and your client up for success, and how to deliver consistently exceptional service. It’s going to be amazing!
So if you’re interested in joining us and haven’t already signed up for the wait list, you can go ahead and do that here. And when you do sign up, you’ll be contacted when enrollment opens with an exclusive wait list promo code. No other promo code or deal will be as good as the wait list deal, not even the early bird special! So if you’re thinking that you’d like to end this year with a bang, sign up for the wait list ASAP so you can get that promo code when it’s released! And if I were you, I wouldn’t wait as the option to sign up for the wait list is only going to be around for another week and a half and it’s already filling up. So sign up here to get on that list!
The Dreaded Nightmare Clients
Now onto this week’s post – turning difficult clients into your greatest ally. Dealing with difficult clients is a bit like listening to the theme song from Jaws. You know they’re out there somewhere. They might even be close by. Doo dooo. But you’re not quite sure where yet. Are they right behind you? Are they beside you? Dooo doo doo dooo dooo. Are they lurking just under the surface? Seeing your innocent legs dangling below? Doo dooo doo doo dooo. They’re getting cloooooser…. What are they going to do to you?! Bite your head off? Rip your arm off? Take a bite out of one of those dangling legs?! Doo dooo dooo dooo doooo doo. Who knooowwwsss….
Boom! They gotcha! Now what?!! Well, even though Jaws may eat you alive. A difficult client won’t, if you don’t let them. They can actually become your greatest allies. They can actually become extremely helpful to you. It’s just in how you handle them.
Turn Your Nightmare into a Dream
Now letting a difficult client help you is far from easy. What’s easy is to get defensive, or to explain yourself, or to fight with them in your mind, over and over, and over again telling and retelling them how difficult they are, and how right you are. But unfortunately, that’s not very helpful. To you, or to the client. But what is helpful to you, is when you listen to them, tease away the anger from the real reasons, and learn from them.
Difficult clients can actually become a dream because often, they’re willing to say to you what other people won’t. Other clients who love you, but may also wish a few things here and there were different, usually won’t speak up and share unless things really go south. Or unless you really, really express how valuable constructive criticism is to you and your business. And even then, it’s still not a guarantee. But those difficult clients, they have no problem giving you their two cents. They’re happy to oblige. And usually they’re happy to do it on a regular schedule.
And this may even be after you’ve done everything right. You may have treated this client the exact same way, nay, even better, than your other clients. And still they’re upset. So should you really take it on and accept that you’ve done something wrong?
Just Because Someone is Mad Doesn’t Mean You Did Something Wrong
Yes and no. Just because you have a client complaining, doesn’t mean you did something wrong. It just means that they’re not happy with something. So even though, yes, you go above and beyond for all of your clients and even more so for this client, maybe there’s still something to learn from what they’re saying? Are they complaining about fees that weren’t previously discussed? Are they complaining about services that they thought were a part of the experience with you, but now they find out they’re extra? Or are they complaining about unmet expectations with the number of revisions or how often you’d be doing site visits?
Whatever it is, take it in, consider it, and think to yourself, is there anything I could do to prevent this issue from happening again with future clients? Even though I technically did nothing wrong, is there anything that I could have done to make this clearer for the client? Is there some way to make it more clear next time? Some way to further explain expectations? Some way to improve what my firm and I do?
Don’t Take Complaints Personally
And while you’re doing all of that wondering and analyzing, remember to not take it personally. Hearing criticism is hard. REALLY hard. But if you take it personally, it’s nearly impossible to learn from it. So, in order to learn from it, you have to tease out the hurt feelings from the information. And with whatever is left, take some time to really think through it and see, what steps need to be added to my process? What conversations need to be added to my initial consultation? What additional verbiage needs to be added to my welcome packet, or my LOA?
Because the better you get at looking at tough situations objectively, the less scary they are. Sure, Jaws is terrifying. But what’s even more terrifying is the anticipation. It’s in the anxiety that occurs before hand. It’s in the doo dooo doo doo doo doo where you just see legs dangling in the water and you don’t even see Jaws yet. It’s just in the wondering of when something or if something is going to happen, that becomes almost unbearable.
You Control How Scary a Client Is
So remember, don’t run away in fear the next time a difficult client confronts you with a complaint. Really take time to listen to them, ignore any personal attacks they may throw your way, and really try to understand what they’re telling you. Because what they’re telling you, may actually take your firm to an entirely new level of service and experience. They may actually make it even far more exceptional than it was before. That impossible client may actually be helping you, even if that wasn’t their intention. Allowing that Jaws of a client, to turn into a friendly ol’ dolphin just swimming on by to say hi.
If you’d like even more ideas on how to provide the kind of client experience that gets you greater loyalty, efficiency, and profits, get on the Wait List for the next session of “The Exceptional Experience”!