WORKING WITH ‘NAGGING’ CLIENTS
By Akinwamide Nifemi
If you have been in the business world or industry for a considerable amount of time, you must have had some sort of experience with a nagging client (or clients). Usually, things don’t go down well and before you know it, you can lose the client (or lose your mind).
How do you satisfy a client who seems impossible to be satisfied? This is such a “herculean” task, it gets so frustrating at times and leads to various confrontations and dilly-dally. At times, you just want the client to go and never come back but you obviously know that such attitude does not get you the “ big bucks”, and too much of that could also be very harmful to the business in the long run. These tips might help you to avoid and when (if) it goes wrong, handle the messy situation that comes with what is generally referred to as a “nagging” client.
Understand the brief
The moment the client calls/emails you for your service ensure you get a detailed brief that explains every bit of the client’s mind and intentions. Break the ideas of the client into small pieces, understanding what the client didn’t even get to say but wanted to say (didn’t have the rights words to express his ideas). This is very important because it forms the basis with which you would be working on, so you just have to get it right. Don’t be quick to throw your ideas on a client, learn the act of listening carefully. After listening, you can now table your own perspective on the idea based on your wealth of experience. After further deliberations, you can come to a conclusion on the brief on the project. This eliminates a lot of back and forth on the project.
Set Clear timelines.
If the execution time is extremely vague or open-ended, this can cause a client to nag, and they’ll act from that and make your life miserable. So nip the first cause of unnecessary pressure in the bud by being as clear as you can be. Communicate this timeline as many times as possible, so it sticks into the client’s mind. You don’t have to wait until the client calls before communicating the timeline and progress report. Note that, making a habit of setting clear timelines directly translates to making a habit of meeting deadlines.
Remove the “Naggie” from the picture.
I am sure you are wondering what that means, it is simply removing the client’s personality and image from the complains. Close your eye on him or her and sit with the complaint. This helps you to be focused on the real problem. It helps you remove sentiments and put yourself in the client’s shoes. Sometimes, the client might be right, but based on your former dealings you tend to become biased and won’t take note of the tiniest of details. So, it is best to stay focused on the problem and not the person who brought the problem. It would help you in the long run satisfying the client. People are different. Deal with it!
Decipher the Problem.
A client keeps calling to make observations and corrections on a project, what do you do? The moment you talk back at your client, it seems you have lost your cool and it would be obvious you can’t work under intense pressure. Trust me; it doesn’t go down well with a client when you talk back at them. It could have a serious downturn on your business. After all form of complaints and nagging, soak it in, sit down and get to the root of the problem once and for all. Try working from a different perspective. Change fonts, colours or anything to get the job done. You can even re-work if you are not getting any headway. This helps you decrypt the solutions from the problems.
In the end we all can achieve better relationships with all types of clients by ensuring the right precautions and having the right approach in handling messy situations.