There Are No Bad Clients


No Bad Clients Only Bad Service Preston Bailey business advice

(Photo via hyperfocus)

On Monday, I discussed “good” and “bad” clients and how to bring out the best in your clientele. This is such an important discussion that I’d like to continue it in today’s post.

Recently, while giving a speech, I posed a question to the audience: “What’s the worst part about having a ‘bad’ client?”

One audience member answered that the worst is one when “a bad client makes you feel so badly [about yourself] that you resist coming to work. Or she bad mouths you behind your back.”

In Monday’s post, I wrote that the best way to avoid a “bad” client is to ask right at the start what kind of service a client wants and expects. This information is key, because it helps you manage the client’s expectations and avoid drama. Also on Monday, I shared the two answers I usually get from clients:

First, there are the clients who tell me that they are very hands on and need to know everything. They make it clear they want to be involved in every step of the process and expect me to get back to them promptly at all times.

In other words, these clients are controlling. Now, controlling folks get a bum wrap. It has been my experience that in order to be successful in the wedding and event industry, you need to be a little controlling. So, as a controlling person myself, I get it.

And yet these are the types of clients who are most often perceived as difficult. Currently, I am working with a client who calls me at least six times a day. She also has a tendency to change her mind over and over again about what kind of design she wants. But she and I have also established a strong connection.

It helps tremendously if you can be brutally honest with such clients. Controlling people work best with facts. You also need to deliver exactly what you promise… but that goes without saying, right?

When it comes to these demanding clients, you must be prepared to give them three things:

1. Considerable time and effort
2. Lots of space and flexibility
3. All of your patience

If you don’t, you’ll likely wind up dealing with a so-called “bad” client.

But not all clients are controlling and not all of them need such exacting service. Some of my clients tell me they are very busy and value their time. They prefer to let me be the expert and tell them what to do.

Most of the time, these clients are a dream to work with. However, I am always leery about the notion that I am the expert and should tell a client what to do. Everyone has a point of view, and part of my job as an expert is to figure out what my client’s likes and dislikes are. Don’t ever assume you know what’s good for a client.

Here’s the best way to deal with these types of clients:

1. Ask them specific questions about what they like and don’t like. Emphasize the dislikes. (You’ll find that most clients have a very long list to share!)
2. Because these clients are so busy, give them a clear schedule of when you’re going to need them as soon as possible. Always keep them properly informed.
3. Always return their calls and emails in a timely manner. (That means emails within fifteen minutes, and phone calls within five minutes.) Busy people appreciate efficiency.

The point is, there are no bad clients – only bad service.

Dear Readers, have you ever had a difficult client who, ultimately, ended up really happy with her event? How did you turn the situation around? And, now for the moment of truth: are you controlling? (Be honest!)

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