In my next talk on how to deal with difficult clients I’ll be addressing a number of issues that have yet to be mentioned on this blog. One of theses is what you can do and what you should avoid doing if a client gets angry with you. Here are a few tips:

Do

  • Stay calm.
  • Allow the client to ‘let off steam’; gently interrupt by reinstating what they have just said, then move the conversation on.
  • Listen well and let the client know that you have heard and understood.
  • Acknowledge their anger, empathise if appropriate.
  • Try to establish the cause of their anger; and do what you can to establish a solution/workable relationship/compromise/positive outcome.
  • Remember that you have the right to be treated with respect, and not to be threatened.
  • Help the client to communicate clearly without aggression.
  • Maintain a neutral posture, facial expression and tone of voice.  Keep steady eye contact.

Don’t

  • Show impatience or annoyance.
  • Let the client intimidate you.
  • Get side tracked.  If you’re a talkative person you may often also have a grasshopper mind, and before long you will be wandering away from the subject of the original conversation.
  • Cut off the client’s speech too abruptly though; treat the situation with care and sensitivity

Sadly though this is all easier said than done! On those odd occasions that a client loses it, you can hardly pull out a prompt sheet containing Dos and Don’ts. You have to go with your gut. Hopefully though having read through this list may help point your gut in the right direction.

What else can you do?