How to Handle Difficult Clients


Dealing With the Small Print

No matter what you do or how you present yourself, there is always someone who just won’t be satisfied with your work.  This may not have anything at all to do with what you provide for the client or how you approach the job.  It is more likely to have something to do with their misunderstanding of your job description.  You want to make sure that you are able to find ways to handle the clients that are harder to please if for no other reason than to protect yourself and your business reputation.

The easiest way to handle clients that are not satisfied with anything you do is make sure that you have expectations detailed and agreed upon in writing and in place from the beginning of the project.  There is much to be said for preparing for the worst even though you are expecting the best and it is a professional way to walk into a job.  What does that mean?  It means being prepared for the client to not be satisfied.  Make sure that your contract and statements for the work that you are doing has clauses about what is acceptable and what your terms and policies are relating to the work that you do.

You can also prevent most of the possibilities of dissatisfaction by your clients by making sure that you keep communication open and honest.  This means that you will want to begin by having a set of questions for the client to answer about what they need and the details of the job.  This also means that you will want to find out any information you can about the type of business they are running.  The more you know, the more likely you will be to succeed.  Finally it means advising the client up front if there is something they are wanting done that you are not necessarily that skilled at.  If you have a client that hires you as a Virtual Assistant but suddenly begins throwing medical transcription at you it is your responsibility to let your client know if that is something you are not familiar with or do not feel qualified to complete.  You can always soften the blow by offering to help them find someone to complete those particular tasks.

Of course, if the client is still not satisfied, make sure that you have specific clauses that will draw the line on how much work you will or will not do.  Make sure that you get your money’s worth for the services that you provide.  A word of caution here – remember that is also as important (if not more so) to make sure the client gets their money’s worth!  It is always okay to say that you can longer help someone.  After all when all is said and done you are the owner and you will find that there are some times when it is more beneficial just to walk away.  Most likely the client will realize later on that it is not necessarily your services that were lacking.

By having set policies in place and making sure that you and your client agree on the scope of your work before you start, you can prevent most of the heartache with hard to deal with clients.  If conflict does arise, you are prepared because you already have your agreement in place (and make sure that both parties have signed and dated it).  This will allow the clients to understand where the line is drawn.  By doing these few simple things, you will have the ability to avoid any confusion or miscommunications from those you are working with.

The last piece of advise I can offer is to never take anything personal – remain professional at all times and understand that business is business, there are some people who will never be happy with anything that anyone produces, and those people are taking time away from you finding another client that you mesh with perfectly!

Here’s to you working for the best boss ever . . . YOU!

Until next time …

Write On!



Note:  If you do not have forms already then check out the Resource section of  They have blank sample project agreements, NDAs, and other such forms to get you started.

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