March 1, 2022

Maintaining Clients Means Understanding Them

Puja Roy
Practicing Psychologist

Maintaining clients means understanding them. That’s why it’s vital to learn how to deal with all kinds of clients. This article may act as a guide for you on how you can handle different types of clients.

Rude Clients

  • Stay calm, don’t react –

When your client is being rude, remember to remain calm. A natural defense mechanism is to react. But it’s important to take some deep breaths before responding.

  • Don’t take it personally –

A long-lasting crisis (COVID-19) has to lead to more intensity in emotions. So, fear, anxiety, and restlessness have stacked up and too many, even the slightest inconvenience can lead to a breakdown. Thus, try to empathize with your client– up to a point. They want to know that you’re listening to them and recognize the depth of their feelings, so express that you do.

  • Listen actively –

Always listen actively, no matter how unreasonable they sound. For example, use phrases like, “So, it sounds like you’re saying that…” “What I’m hearing is…” or “Is this what you mean?

  • Stand firm –

Sometimes, however, you’ll need to be more assertive to get your message across. Whenever their behavior has become unacceptable, it’s important to let them know that. Be specific about what you’ve observed. For example, is their language and behavior insulting, discriminatory, or even threatening?

  • Solve the problem –

The best way to disarm a rude client is to involve them in solving the problem that’s fueling their behavior. Ask them what they feel would be an acceptable solution. That way, you have something concrete to work toward. You may need to report the situation to your manager/ team leader? After a hostile encounter, give yourself time to recover. Report serious or worrying incidents, seek any support you need, and be alert to any patterns of rudeness – so that you and your organization can take steps to avoid them happening again.

Nagging clients

  • Define the relationship –

It’s best to be clear about roles, responsibilities, and expectations when engaging with a nagging client. It’s a good idea to discuss overall investment policies and strategies upfront. In that way, when a conflict arises, we can try to determine the source of any miscommunication- whether it’s the situation or the person.

  • Lower your voice –

If the client gets louder, start speaking more slowly and in a lower tone. This will help them to settle down.

  • Apologize for any inconvenience caused and try to solve the problem –

Whenever the client seems to nag about inconveniences, it’s important to use empathetic and reassuring language, such as “I understand why you’re upset” or “We’ll do what we can.” Stick to facts and emphasize that your company is dedicated to its clients working with them. Maybe they are anxious and hence the reassurance that they are in safe hands, really helps.

  • Be aware and let go when needed –

If a client still keeps on persisting, even after being clear about propositions —it’s usually best to pass on such projects. We can use statements like -“I see I have failed you. I suggest you find someone else.” or you can offer a referral from your end to have a proper closure for the client.

  • How to draw the line between queries – 

Setting boundaries is one of the most important parts of any relationship. These are some planning considerations for you:

  • Identify the boundary situations that are most difficult for you. Like we discussed above for nagging and rude clients…
  • For each difficult situation imagine a time when a conflict was resolved poorly and one that was resolved to your satisfaction. Can you identify when conflict causes problems for you? Sometimes we do not see boundary issues for what they are because they come disguised as something else or because we like to be helpful by nature.
  • Develop Your Strategy –

This first step in setting boundaries is to make an appointment with your own self. Make yourself comfortable with a notebook/online notes, so that you can brainstorm your ideas. We need to create a map in your mind that enables you to confidently respond to boundary conflicts. When you have that map in your mind, you will feel more relaxed and will be able to handle conflict in a way that works for you and the other person.

For example: what are my most important priorities? It is easier to say yes or no when you are honoring your most important priorities.

What is non-negotiable for me? Non-negotiable items are related to your values or conditions in your life like your health. It could be family time, for example.

How to not ruin your day:

Change the channel in your mind.

Telling yourself, “Don’t think about what happened,” doesn’t really help. Our brains keep on ruminating. You have to change the channel in your mind (just like you’d change the channel on your TV).

Here are some ways to change the channel:

  • Work the frustration out of our system.
  • Turn on some high tempo/ relaxing music.
  • Organize or rearrange your physical space (helps in mind declutter).
  • Call a loved one and share.

Take up a hobby after work

Just make sure to find something that works for you personally. You may need to experiment with a few different activities until you find the ones that best help you change the channel.

Seek out help

If you are experiencing stress, (which can lead to depression, anxiety, or another mental health problem) like difficulty in getting words of your client out of your head, it may be time for you to seek professional help. Talking to a therapist could help you think and feel differently.

5 Thoughts to “Maintaining Clients Means Understanding Them”

  1. very valid ideas given in this article. thanks.

  2. CHETAN SHAH says:

    Very well articulated. We all have come accross such clients. Sometimes we get annoyed on them and ruin our relationship. This article has given much strength to keep ourselves cool. thank you Puja.

  3. Purnima Roy says:

    Very much Mindpleasing and Soulful idea in this exclusive article.

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