How to effectively deal with unhappy clients

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This is a guest post from Jamie Costello, an aspiring business/legal writer.

Regardless of the nature of your business and your excellent 5-star ratings, somewhere along the line you’re bound to encounter at least one unhappy client. However, the majority of the time it’s not what made them unhappy in the first place that matters, but it’s how you aim to resolve it that can be key. It’s understanding the best way to react that can inevitably help you to keep your reputation and pride. Here are a few tips that can help you to manage your clients effectively if they’re unhappy.

Deal With The Client In Person

Make the effort to meet your client in person so you can have an engaging and emotional conversation about the matter, face-to-face. Or, at least have a phone call about it. Hiding behind a piece of paper makes you look guilty already or a fear that you prefer not to have the conversation, so putting something in writing should be steered well away from. Having a face-to-face or phone call will help you to show empathy and concern which would be difficult through a letter.

Understand What The Clients’ Concerns Are

Keep your ears open and eyes peeled when you’re having the conversation. Understand the concerns from your client’s point of view and focus on what the issue is through active listening. Ask questions that will help to clarify what it is they’re concerned about rather than trying to justify your point of view. Your client wouldn’t have reached out in the first place if they didn’t have a worry. Digging deeper should help you to understand why it’s such a large concern for them.

Show Understanding

Once your client has voiced what the issue is, reinstate to them your understanding of the situation and confirming what you believe the concern is. It doesn’t matter if the client chooses to correct you, because you can take this information and provide a new understanding. Continue this until your client finally agrees that you have an understanding of why they’re unhappy.

Determine How You’ll Respond

Once you’ve understood everything that the client’s worried about, acknowledge this and then decide how you’ll respond in a constructive manner. If needed, explain the work that will be done in order to fix the situation, even if it means reducing some fees or invoice charges. It’s all about providing the best possible customer service that will satisfy them.

Even if you don’t feel you agree with what’s gone wrong, acknowledging that they’re upset can go a long way. The key is to remain calm and not try to be defensive about it. Instead, provide the client with new information about it that they may not have known about to help bring clarity that will be effective.

Offer A Concession

To help completely settle the matter, offer a concession to the client as a peace offering. Even if you were right and they were wrong, along the way there would have been some form of miscommunication which made the client become concerned, and it could have simply been a mistake. Be the bigger person and offer something like a percentage off the next invoice or their next purchase. At the end of the day, they’re the ones who are paying you for your service and subsequently writes your paycheck.

However, there may be occasions when some clients will look to take advantage of your generosity, in which case you may prefer to end the partnership you have with them. Just be wary that clients can become rather defensive about such matters and refer to dispute resolution solicitors to help resolve it. So, be sure that the decision is justified and it’s an adequate way to resolve the situation.

Consider that when dealing with unhappy clients, there’s more on the line than just your personal pride. Even if you are right, word of mouth marketing and poor reviews can stretch miles which is why creating a long-standing relationship is better than trying to win a battle that you will always lose in one way or another.

This is a guest post from Jamie Costello, an aspiring business/legal writer.



About Jamie

Jamie CostelloJamie is an aspiring business/legal writer. His content is usually based around business topics such as business law, employment, dispute resolutions and other topics. He uses his knowledge taken from his degree in Business Communications and working alongside legal professionals to write his articles.


Thanks to Pixabay for the image.

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