Not all clients are created equal as some will be a pleasure to work with while others will be nothing short of a nightmare. This can include corporate bashing if a project is not completed by an unreasonable deadline. Withholding payment is a staple of nightmare clients as well as not all clients are going to be looking for a mutually beneficial business relationship.
Then there are those clients that are a dream to work with that pay on time and respond in a timely manner anytime they are contacted. These clients need to be handled much differently with the nightmare clients being let go as clients if they do not improve on certain areas.
The following are ways to deal with problem clients that might help them turn into much better clients as there can be growing pains with certain business relationships.
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Problem Clients Should Have Higher Prices Than Easy To Work With Clients
Problem clients tend to take up much more time of staff than clients that are easy to work with and communicate. These clients can do everything from delay a project to change the entire scope of a project after quite a bit of work has been done.
These types of clients need to be tested before signing any type of contract with a test run of work being done together. Poor communication leading to missed deadlines that in turn the client blames on your company need to be eliminated.
A clear means of communication and a recap email of every conversation had on the phone and in person needs to be sent. This can be a huge help in the future if the company refuses to pay for work that has been done.
Certain clients might revisit these things to make sure they fully understand what was said in the meeting. Clearing up communication issues is imperative so a dedication from the client to communication needs to be handled if they are going to be worked with in the future.
Blaming Issues On Your Company Which Were Unrelated
Clients that are constantly blaming problems out of your control should be a warning sign. For example, a marketing company being blamed for a poor sales quarter for a ecommerce site seems reasonable. If the ecommerce site goes down routinely due to shared hosting instead of VPS hosting the company needs to look at how that impacts sales before calling to reprimand their marketing company.
Sales numbers are often impacted by a variety of things but an ecommerce site being down during their busy period of the day can cost the company thousands of dollars. If the online store is seasonal in nature then one day with the site being down can be the difference between a successful year and a mediocre year.
In these cases it is best to present the client with data showing that in fact it was not the fault of your company. Concrete proof is nearly impossible to argue with but it needs to be presented in a tactful way to an already infuriated nightmare client.
Do Test Campaigns With Potential Problem Clients
As mentioned above doing test campaigns with clients should be a staple of your business. This allows both sides to see how work will be done and whether both businesses want to continue working together. There are going to be signs of a problem client like constantly complaining about contract terms that have already been signed.
Those clients that get upset that nobody is answering their frantic email at 3AM need to be dropped. Expectations should be set on both sides as with many businesses deadlines are key. Things like getting approval on a design project within 72 hours can help keep a project on track and small milestones reduce the odds of the client changing the scope of the project much later.
If a small test campaign was nothing but problems politely decline saying there is no bandwidth in the coming months. On the other hand telling them the truth can be a wakeup call but it could also bring out the vindictive side of them with them bashing your company simply for declining to work with them further.
Sign Great Clients Long Term When Possible
Great clients need to be held on to as while they are extremely rare, they are extremely valuable. The most important thing in these types of situations is to continually deliver quality work that hits deadlines. Great clients can turn ugly when a deadline is missed as many times the person managing the relationship is held accountable.
Long term mutually beneficial business relationships are what successful companies thrive off of. Retaining these clients while finding new great clients is a recipe for success for years to come in most industries.
There are going to be good and bad clients but all that matters is that we manage them appropriately. Do not let a client change policies or bully you but rather end the business relationship once it is no longer beneficial on the side of your business.