How to Manage Irritable Clients
June 6, 2013
I hope all of you are having a nice week.
As event professionals, our goal is to provide our discerning clients with the white glove service they deserve and expect. At times, this can be really challenging when clients seem to be irrational or easily irritated. As planners, we need to be like a chameleons and adjust to our client’s current state of mind. We should be able to mask our feelings no matter how “Red” they might be. It’s imperative that we understand that most of our clients have hired us because they want a certain level of expertise and attention. Not to mention, most of them are extremely successful and know that we are too! In addition, they do not have the time needed to execute the tasks associated with a wedding.
Here are some practices that have worked for me when managing a difficult client:
Open your ears: We must always be prepared to listen to our client’s, their concerns, and dislikes, alike. At times, the client just wants to be heard and his or her concerns may be easily appeased if you take the time to listen and address their needs immediately. The worse thing that you can do is avoid the issue. Always try to diffuse problems as they originate. Ignoring them will only make matters worse and your client more irritable.
Put your feelings aside: Don’t take things personal. More than likely, this is less about you and more about what is a priority to them. I find that focusing on my client’s needs and not their personalities makes a world of a difference. We must be prepared to adjust our mindset. When we do this we automatically set ourselves up for success and will be able to solve problems more efficiently.
Do not give room for ego: Be prepared to apologize, even if you think you’ve done nothing wrong. Acknowledge your mistake if there was one and move on continue to give your best. This will allow your client to build trust and may even bring you closer and improve your working relationship.
Put your body language on check: I know at times this can be difficult but try not to use your hands when confronted with an angry client. Be sure to be aware of the body language projected as well as any head or body movements. Allow your body and your mind speak the same language. I find it interesting when your words don’t match what your body language reflects.
Understand your limits. What are you willing to tolerate? Whatever you do always put professionalism first. Be clear and direct without forgetting what you stand for. Some clients are very challenging and we must be assertive when needed without disrespecting our client or our brand.
What are your best tips for dealing with difficult clients? Have you ever found yourself in a tricky situation you didn’t know how to get out of?
With a Happy Heart,
Kathy Romero is the Director of Event Planning for Preston Bailey Designs. She shares her thoughts and advice on Preston’s Blog every Thursday.
(Photo Courtesy of Emily Gilbert)