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6 Tips to manage unhappy clients

Got an angry client on your hands? While your instinct may be to hide under your desk, eventually you're going to have to face the music.

Got an angry client on your hands? While your instinct may be to hide under your desk, eventually you’re going to have to face the music.


1. Change your mindset

It’s pretty obvious when a client is unhappy: facial expressions, yelling, throwing things at you, but you need to put that aside and your first priority is to put yourself into their mindset. So how do you do that? Set aside your feelings, give them 100% focus and become a problem solver.

2. Listen actively

The reason your client is yelling is pretty obvious – they want to be heard and air their grievances. So instead of trying to shut them up, start with neutral statements like “let’s go over what happened”. Creating a partnership between you and the client tells them you’re ready to listen, but don’t jump into problem solving mode just yet – let them tell you their side of the story and once he’s done, then start thinking about how to resolve the matter.

3. Be empathetic and say sorry

Once your client has aired their anger, be empathetic and show them you understand why they are upset – and ensure your body language does the same.

4. Offer solutions

There’s two ways to handle this. You could give your client what they want to resolve the situation, or if they resist your proposed solution, give them the power to identify what it is that will make them happy. All you need to do is say is if it’s in your power to get it done, then you’ll do it, otherwise work on a different solution together.

5. Take action and follow-up

You’ll need to act quickly once you’ve agreed on a solution. If they have rung up, make sure they get your contact detail so they feel in control and can get hold of you again in future. Once the solution has been resolved, if you can, go above and beyond – maybe send a gift certificate – so you can retain them as a client.

6. Use feedback

The most important thing to take out of the situation is to make sure it doesn’t happen again. Identify how the problem arose and make sure it’s fixed so it doesn’t happen again.

Dealing with difficult customers can be challenging, but if you handle it well, you could even repair the relationship to create further opportunities down the track.

Have you had experiences with difficult customers? Share your tips with us!