How to handle challenging clients effectively?

The success of a business or organization mainly depends on the successful handling of the client or customer. Whether you are an entrepreneur or an employee of any organization, you have to deal with various types of clients in each case. And you will certainly come across some clients that are somewhat different or difficult to manage. These types of clients will cause challenging situations for you every time. In fact, challenging customers or clients are part of the price of doing business.


What makes a client challenging?

Usually, the hardest clients are those who are not completely satisfied doing business with you. Some clients always expect something extra from you within a limited budget. In addition to these, there are several problems in client management. Some clients have the attitude that can start a conflict at any time. Some possess a personality that contradicts your or the organization’s values. Then there is that client who is in the most urgent situation in the world! Some people will constantly visit, call, mail, and use other possible ways to communicate with you from long before the deadline. Again some clients don’t consider the time or date, whether it’s late-night or weekend, they just want to hear from you.


People always want the best for what they spend. And this often complicates the situation. Thus, facing difficult clients is not unusual. The important thing is to be ready to handle challenging clients. So now we are going to explore some effective steps of handling them.


Steps of handling challenging clients effectively:

1. Listen Attentively, Talk Carefully

The first thing to do when dealing with difficult clients is to listen to them very attentively. Make them feel that you want to understand their problems. No client will be satisfied if they are not properly listened to or ignored. So try to be the most attentive listener to your client, and of course to the challenging ones. Again you need to choose your words very carefully in case of handling difficult clients. You shouldn’t say something that sounds like you are not sympathetic to their problems or not the right person to solve it. Don’t talk so much or discuss irrelevant parts. This will make things messy and narrow the space for clients to tell their stories. You may be able to handle a typical client with a flurry of words. But, it’s less likely to be possible in the case of a mercurial person.


2. Stay Calm, Control Your Anger

The client may not have respect for you or may mistreat you, you need to stay calm. You have to control your anger even if he yells at you or creates a scene in the place of business. Try to handle such situations with a cool head. If you act offensively, it will hamper your reputation and that of your business. But it is possible to lighten the situation with a quiet voice and a smile on the face. Moreover, the client who is shouting at you may have more complex issues that you never know. Again, staying calm in complex situations will help to strengthen your character. This will ultimately affect your client to be calm.


3. Don’t Take Anything Personal

It is important to take business or work life and personal life separately. The client may bring a lot of trouble to you. He may act against your values and question your capabilities. Remember it is business, so it should not be turned into a personal conflict. Don’t react to the difficulties from your personal ground. It’s better to set boundaries. And don’t let it ruin your personal life. Because it will weaken you mentally and affect your work in the future. Again, some people may not like you for no reason. The same thing goes for you. Just try to take things professionally.


4. Ask Specific, Reply Concrete

Just as answering something appropriately is a matter of ability, so does asking the right question is. Knowing which question to ask will make it easier for you to handle challenging clients. Try to focus on specific terms that can let you know how to meet the client’s actual needs. Ask questions that can help you find out what the client specifically wants. Then comes giving the client valid answers to his queries. The client can ask for anything, but you have to make them realize what the true and very possible match is for their needs. Try to reply concretely and give them proper information with accurate results. The client may say “you can’t make it on time” or “it’s beyond your capabilities”. Don’t give them a chance to find any glitches, show the facts. Another important thing when dealing with difficult clients is to act promptly and maintain consistency.


5. Find a Common Ground

Some of the common words of tough clients are “everything is wrong”, “nothing is working” and so on. The client may not agree with you on most of your terms. Give them the stage to be clearer. And don’t just focus on the terms of disagreement; it will lead to further disputes. Try to come up with something compatible for both sides. It’s better to have a win-win situation. From a common ground, you can make more understanding even with the toughest client. Eventually, this will help to arouse empathy for one another. 


6. Lead to the Solution

Try to come up with appropriate solutions to the problem. Most often, you can’t generate an instant solution with difficult clients. If the client doesn’t like your solution, discuss more exactly what makes him happy. And plan on bringing other best solutions for it. If it takes longer to come to a solution, the situation could get more complicated. Also, this will have an adverse effect on your business. Moreover, difficult clients can be risky for your reputation and integrity. It is better to deal with them precisely and in time. And move towards a solution for your good (as fast as possible).


One last thing to do is review and evaluate feedback. This way you can be more prepared for your next challenging client. According to Bill Gates, “Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning”. So keep learning.




Anaet Ullah Biswas

Student | Business Administration,

Mawlana Bhashani Science & Technology University.


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