The majority of those in the service sector will agree that working with people is as demanding as it is rewarding. Building and maintaining a solid relationship with clients is a vital aspect of a business, but it can be quite challenging, even for the most experienced in the industry.
But what happens when you run into an uncooperative client that keeps you from doing your job? How to deal with them without disrupting your relationship and workflow? The following guide will walk you through several solutions you can incorporate into your day-to-day business.
First off, let’s define the term “uncooperative”. These are the clients you always have to reach out to, call, or follow up with to get the necessary information. They prevent you from doing your job by failing to provide relevant details on time. Of course, non-responsive clients often don’t respect your time and pop up at their convenience only to pressure you to finish the job faster.
At the same time, they keep you away from your more important patrons, putting a strain on you and your relationship with others.
The biggest problem is the two-way interaction — these customers need service, and you can’t finish the job without their input. Working with uncooperative clients is never easy, and you might need some help learning how to deal with them. Below, you can find helpful tricks for handling non-responsive customers.
If you want to save your time, energy, and money, you shouldn’t do business with uncooperative clients in the first place. Understanding the type of people you’re working with will help you avoid these conflicts early on.
For instance, if you have a scheduled meeting with a potential client and they’re late or a no-show, you should take note of the red flags popping up everywhere. Obviously, you can give them another chance, but if they don’t bother apologizing, give up and walk away. No matter how big the potential project or collaboration could be, it won’t be worth your time.
Before starting a collaboration with a specific client, lay out the specifics and use unambiguous language to describe them. That way, the client will know what to expect from the start, and you’ll avoid most disagreements caused by unclear terms.
You can use this moment to remind them that communication is a two-way street and that you can’t do your job properly without them. Explain that they must be cooperative — otherwise, completing the task or project will be problematic.
If you notice the interaction isn’t smooth sailing and the client still doesn’t cooperate, find an effective strategy to deal with them. For instance, if you need a document and they don’t deliver it on time, you can remind them once or twice, but anything more than that puts your integrity in question.
Simply inform them that they have failed to meet the deadline and that you will need to move on to more important clients, placing this one in the rear.
Some companies include penalties that require clients to pay more when they fail to cooperate for no apparent reason. However, resorting to these measures indicates that you should’ve ended the relationship with this individual long ago, so the decision is up to you.
Running a client-focused business improves performance and builds stronger customer relationships. Cooperate with third parties and create a strong, user-friendly website and work environment that encourages your clients to do business with you.
Remember, less is more. So, in order to maintain client engagement, you must ensure a seamless experience, be it on your website or in your workflow.
Maintaining communication is key, even when dealing with uncooperative clients. Show them you’re open to any type of deal that is beneficial to both of you. If the customer fails to keep in touch, you shouldn’t give up the first time it happens.
Naturally, if it’s a recurring issue, you may be better off without them. That said, keep an open mind if it’s an isolated incident and keep the communication lines open.
Regardless of the business type your company conducts, you should make the most out of the technology at your disposal. You can automate several processes to streamline the workflow, letting you focus on other matters without having to contact clients in person.
Simply create a schedule and send notifications to your customers to remind them about the documents or information they need to deliver. Moreover, other tools and software solutions can also help you boost productivity and facilitate communication.
Keeping calm is a skill not everyone can master, yet everyone wishes they could. It’s particularly useful when dealing with uncooperative clients. Whatever situation you find yourself in, you must remain collected and communicate in a professional manner.
Also, support your opinions and claims with facts, and act as the expert you are. Remember, you’re looking to resolve a conflict, not argue.
The healthiest thing you can do is let the client go if the same problems happen repeatedly. Although you might experience a financial blow, you’ll create a better and calmer work environment.
We often put our needs and feelings aside because we need the money. However, some situations make you wonder if continuing the cooperation is worth it. In most cases, the answer is no. If that happens to you, you’ll know what to do — end the rapport with a toxic client, take a deep breath, and move on. It will be much better for everyone involved, including your business.
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This blog is not meant to provide specific advice or opinions regarding the topic(s) discussed above. Should you have a question about your specific situation, please discuss it with your GBA advisor.
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