“The client.” Those of us in the professional world know this seemingly benign phrase and have learned that is to be respected and, at times, feared. Don’t get us wrong; we love the client. Without the client, we wouldn’t have jobs. The client literally puts food on our table and, for them, we are grateful.
But there exists a constant power struggle between the client and the professional. Given the possibility that a client could turn to your competitor if there’s a service-related issue, it’s important that you know how to deftly navigate this struggle, lest you lose your bread and butter.
Here, I’m going to give you 10 tips for dealing with difficult clients so you don’t lose your head — or your paycheck.
Clearly Define What’s Expected
The first thing you’ll want to do when dealing with a new client (or an existing client with a new project) is to clearly define what’s expected with regard to the scope of the project. For instance, if you’re a designer, are you going to be overhauling a website, or simply updating a few of the graphics?
This is not to say you shouldn’t take on more work if it comes your way (more on that later), but have a clear idea of who you’ll need and for how much time.
Establish Clear Time Tables
Here’s what stinks: agreeing that you’ve got a month to do a project and then three weeks in, the customer needs it tomorrow. It’s only a few days earlier, they say. What’s the big deal?