How to Deal with Nasty Customers


nasty customerThey suck the life out of you, drain you, and cause many sleepless nights. They are jerks, cheap yet demanding the most. The list goes on; however, you are a child of God, and you are supposed to represent Jesus Christ. Oh bummer, right?

All of us have had at least one of “those” in our lives. Maybe you are even currently struggling with one of them. Throughout the years, I’ve had some clients who were a pain in the neck. Isn’t it amazing how some clients can really set you off?

Most recently, I had someone who was a major pain in the neck. He aggravated me all the time; he kept calling me, bugging me, and asking me for discounts, favors, weekend hours, etc. I gave him all. Then he ended up firing me because he didn’t like what we did. However, I have another client paying much more than this previous one, and he is like a dream!

So, What Do We Do with ‘Those’?

Mt17:17 Even Jesus asked, “How long do I have to put up with you guys?” However, He ended up doing what He was called to do and healed the demoniac boy. I guess the question is are we called to do our job? Are we convinced that this is what God wants us to do? If the answer is “yes,” then let’s be creative and let’s do it with Him. Here are some practical things that worked out for me:

Expectations

Many times, the source of the problem is that the client’s expectations are not met. And many times, it is our fault because of the lack of proper communication. I always spell out step-by-step what is going to happen and what they can expect and by when. I always put great emphasis on:

  • Start date
  • Project schedule
  • Deadlines for the landmarks
  • Payments with the hidden fees
  • Their part in the project (most of my troubles come from this)

Undefined Communication Channels

If there is more than one person involved on our end, we need to make sure that the client knows who to turn to with any questions. It is crucial to explain to the client who will get in touch with them, and in what form. How fast do we expect the client to respond?

Personal story: For a long time I had struggles with clients because they did not provide me with the content needed (documents, images, etc.), so we started to create that for them and they just had to approve it. Then I had a season in which we waited months on one client because she never had time to look through and approve it. We ended up losing money on the deal and ultimately broke up the contract. Now we have a clause in the contract stating that the content is considered automatically approved after 5 business days. Believe me, ever since then, ALL of our clients approve everything on time. Not once have we had to apply the automatic approval rule.

Contracts

I always take the effort to make sure that the client is comfortable with the contract. Even if the contract is 20 pages, we read it through together if necessary. A great emphasis is placed on payments, schedules and expectations. I ask them in person if they are comfortable with it; when I email them a signed copy, I ask once more whether they read it and if they have any questions.

Email vs. Phone

I love emails. Even though in most states emails are not legally binding contracts, they still carry weight. I recently had an issue with a client who had a problem; however, we found an old email thread that proved that we did what we were supposed to do.

What to Do if Things Still Get Crazy

Here is my philosophy: In the majority of cases, my clients know that I’m a Christian and I take my faith pretty seriously. That is a huge responsibility, and I cannot simply tell them to leave me the hell alone! I’m Christ to them. I have clients and vendors who do not believe. Even if I’m pissed off I cannot show that. I might be the only Bible they ever read in their lives.

  1. Always make sure that there was previous communication about the issue. If there was a lack in communication due to a crack in the system, then I suck it up even if I lose money on it.
  2. When I pull up evidence that suggests I am right, then I don’t rub it in their face. “Okay, dear client, yes, I know I’m right, but I still want to help you. How can we make this work without any hard feelings?”
  3. I like sending gifts. No matter who messed it up, I love gifts. I had to deal with a pretty mean guy once, yet I still sent him an edible arrangement. The whole office loved me the next day J
  4. When the client is a trickster and deceiver (like Jacob, for example) and they are just totally ungodly, then just slap them in the face. No, I wish though! Okay, I’m just kidding. Sometimes we just have to let it go and move on like nothing happened.
  5. The final way is just to let them go. I once let someone go because they were such a pain in the neck, but I gave her tips on how to move on. I even helped her to transfer her account from my company to another company for free.

What’s your story? What can you share with us that was either a struggle or a solution?

Photo by: www.thevaliens.com

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About Zsolt Bicskey

There is Jesus, my wife, my kids and the rest of the world. I love business and marketing and I've been doing it for almost a decade...