6 Psychological strategies to deal with difficult clients

6 Psychological strategies to deal with difficult clients

Every business or startup at some point or the other comes across situations where they need to deal with difficult clients. It could happen for any reason from the work not being up to their expectations to not attending the calls other than the work hours. Sometimes they may be rude, sometimes insulting, or sometimes too demanding in terms of work.

Situations like this may take a toll on your mental health and it may not just reduce your willingness and motivation to work, but also can affect the quality of work and might disrupt your work-life balance too.

And this holds true irrespective of your job status or company type. Whether you are a founder or an employee, working in a multinational company or grocery store, dealing with difficult clients is a useful psychological strategy you must know about.

So if you are willing to find out how to deal with difficult clients? Then, here are the few psychological strategies that we would suggest to help you deal with difficult clients.

1. Show interest in seeing things from their perspective

‘Sometimes you need to put yourself in other person’s shoes to see things from their perspective’

One of the biggest reasons why conflicts arise between two people is because of their adamant nature and lack of interest to understand the other person’s perspective. This holds equally true in the corporate or work setup where the clients are looking at the project from their perspective which might not look the same as yours.

So, whenever there is a conflict, make sure the first thing you do is to validate their concern and ask them questions that will help you know more about what is the problem that they are facing, or what is their concern that is making them unhappy with your work. When you are willing to find out where that behaviour is coming from, in most cases that empathy and the keenness to understand their concern, dilutes the rage and the conversation thereafter becomes calmer and easier to deal with.

2. Set Clear Boundaries

Boundaries are perhaps the most important aspect in life if you want to keep your psychological sanity in place. Just as important as they are in your personal life, they hold equal importance in your professional life too. This can be one of the easiest ways to avoid a conflict to arise where you have to deal with difficult clients and engage in fire control.

From the beginning of the projects, communicate your work boundaries very clearly. It includes everything from charges, the scope of work, availability timings, payment details, project timeline, etc.

Charges: When you have clear communication about what the charge of the product or service would be, it eventually becomes easier for you to navigate through the delivery process without being bothered about negotiating your payment later on.

Scope of work: This aspect is very subjective with the industry anyone is from, but having clear communication about what all shall your work cover makes it very easy to avoid the trouble of dealing with difficult clients.

Availability of timings:This is probably the most crucial part of setting boundaries. Mention the work hours very clearly and also mention if you would be available for emergency calls.

Timeline: Be very calculative about the timeline of the work before committing, and stick to that to avoid any disputes later.

The best way to have it as a mutual agreement is documenting everything in a contract and getting it signed by both parties before beginning the project and this will help you avoid the entire need for dealing with difficult clients.

3. Don’t Sweep things under the carpet

Whenever you realise the client is not happy enough with the work and would want things to be done differently, then ask them about it. In such situations, sweeping things under the carpet just to avoid an uncomfortable conversation would lead to disappointment on both ends.


Thus, asking the clients some specific questions like,’ What part of the project are you not satisfied with?’ or ‘How can we improve the product/ service?’ is the way you can start to find where you went wrong to match the client’s expectations and improve upon it and deal with the client in a much better way.

4. Set a filter

This strategy might be limited to just the entrepreneurs and founders who have the liberty to pick the clients. But the best way you can keep a distance from getting into situations where you have to deal with difficult clients for yourself or for your company’s employees, is by creating a client filter from the very beginning.

Have some specific ground rules which the clients should suffice for your company to collaborate with them. This way, even if the revenue or the scope of the work might look great and attract you a little, but you will be vigilant of the fact that the project might not go so well.

Thus, stick to the quote of‘prevention is better than cure.’

5. Be open to constructive criticism

Sometimes no matter how rude the client may sound, or how bad the client’s behaviour might make you feel, you must always have a neutral approach to the feedback and accept your mistakes if there are any.

Sometimes the anger or rage must be obvious and the best way to deal with difficult clients in this situation is to accept and take the feedback in the constructive criticism way. Work on the loopholes from your end and upskill yourself from it.

6. Work till just the end of tenure

After you have tried everything from your end, but still find it very taxing to deal with such difficult clients using all possible strategies, then the best way to move forward is to do the needy till the project persists and end the tenure with them on a good note.

This way you also remain professional enough to fulfil your work commitment and can also eliminate the collaboration once the project is done.

In case you struggle with HR practices and need assistance in that regard, then Team Kedden is just a click away. To find out how can we help you, Book a free 1:1 Consultation call with us to discover the scope of your business when you have the right people onboarded on your team!

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