In the words of Bill Gates, “your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning”. This makes much sense coming from one of the world’s richest men who has built a successful and thriving business over the years.

According to our survey research reports and statistics, about 93% of customers are more likely to make a repeat purchase from companies with a touch of excellence to their services. This simply means that for you to ensure your company runs effectively, you must be able to retain the difficult clients, and even make them loyal and committed clients to the company. This may seem difficult considering the fact that we live in a world filled with billions of people from different backgrounds, mindsets, trainings and behavioral patterns - as such, there's great diversity in our characters and how we handle things generally.

In a workplace, you're bound to meet with various sets of people as clients, and one of the sets of people that will often come your way are difficult clients. They're part of the cost of doing business, sometimes it may be like they're not happy with the services you're rendering, it may also be that there is a clash of personal values or that of the company values. Sometimes, it may be that you don't meet up to their expectations at all. 

You need to know what to do when you're faced with such clients, because the issue you have with them might end up escalating which will eventually put a dent on your image and that of the organization you represent.

In this article, you'll be learning how to identify the difficult clients, how to handle difficult clients that the matter would not escalate, and what you can do when it gets to the worst stage.

How do you identify difficult clients.

Many of them display some characteristics as listed below.

1. Inconsistency

Every difficult client is not really sure of what they want. They are inconsistent in their thoughts, and words, making a high possibility for them to change their minds in just a second. In allusion just as the Biblical Jacob described Reuben, they are unstable as water. 

2. Too much of assumption

Some clients assume too much that they would want you to do more than necessary in your work, they just feel it's part of your work and you should do it.

3. Bossy: They usually want things done in their own way and at their own allocated time without having to hear an opinion from others.

4. Impatient: They want immediate response even if it's an emergency, they feel 100% deserving of your time.

5. Indifferent attitude: They really do not care about what you do, they just want you to do something.

6. Over budget conscious: They're usually too concerned about the budget, about the money they've spent or they'll still spend on the project.

7. Abusive: These ones really do not know how to communicate their displeasure, they make use of abusive words to express their emotions.

8. Some clients, no matter what you do believe that they can always do it better than you.If you probably meet a client like this, he/she might end up condemning your whole work. 

How do you handle difficult clients?

1. Be calm

Some clients can go to the extent of being verbally abusive, but stay calm. Continue to listen to to every word they speak, and pretend as if you didn't hear their rant. Ensure you're calm enough to respond in a gentle manner even when you're trying to correct them. Respond a way that would prevent the issuee from escalating into something you would not be able to handle. Just remain calm and focused as possible. However while trying to calm the client down, ensure you do not use words such as, calm down,I don't have a solution or any word that might infuriate them the more.

2. Listen and pay rapt attention

Give the client the opportunity to pour out his/her mind. Let them express themselves without unnecessary interruptions. Do not try to contend with them in words even if you know what to say or the right thing to do. Let them finish and make sure you give signs that you're following every bit of the conversation. When you listen well, you'll get the valuable points needed to reply the client and then you can give the appropriate response.

3. Communicate Respectfully

Difficult clients are usually disrespectful but you don’t need to respond to them in the same tone. When you respond, make sure you do so with empathy, let it be evident in your voice. Place the client in your shoe and try to be friendly with them. With this, you'll be able to calm their nerves down. Don't raise your voice too loud while speaking, a loud voice might pass a wrong message across, never shout at the client. Also, while communicating, let the tone of your voice truly reflect that you mean what you are saying.

4. Provide a solution

If it's something that you know your side is at fault, the best thing to do is apologize, admit that you're wrong and give a solution to the issue. If it's something that will require a long term solution, make sure you give an allocated time framework to the client, let it be definite time. You can also give details of the process of coming up with a solution and the reason why it's taking that long. If the client is wrong, carefully and respectfully point out there errors and explain things the way things are that it will be easy to understand. Show them the right thing to do.

5. Review the whole process

You may need to review your interaction with the client and inkl case it's a fault from your own side make sure that error does not happen again. You may also need to ask yourself some questions such, as how did this problem arise? Could we have prevented it? How do we prevent it in the nearest future?
 From the answers you get you will most likely get a clear-cut solution and next time you will be able to offer better service services to the client.

What do you do when the client crosses the red line?

You can't always be at the receiving end, if you've tried all possible means and it's still not working out, check out the terms of agreement, see what you can do, and then you can go ahead to terminate the transaction or the contract. There’s a popular saying that customers are always right and many times, it’s the difficult clients that get to use this line. Sadly, what many people do not know is that the full quote says “customers are always right in matters of taste”, so it doesn’t always mean that you should condole difficult and wholly unreasonable clients.


At every point in your contact with a difficult client, remember that you are building a profitable brand and business. You don’t want to tarnish your