Work brings various ups and downs, but a demanding client is definitely bad news. Very often, you realise this way too late, when you’ve already signed all the papers and work is half-way done. That’s why it’s in your best interest to recognise a difficult client right away and set your boundaries right away (or simply avoid them altogether). Here are the most common types of such clients and suggestions for managing them:
Initially, an indecisive or uninformed client can seem like a great opportunity for you to have more freedom with work, but this case is often a double-edged sword. They can change their mind at any point and scrap all of your previous work. In addition, they rarely ever make a decision on the spot and most often have to consult someone else on their team for every single detail – extremely time-consuming and nerve wracking! This takes tremendous amounts of patience and a friendly suggestion from your side to make up their mind and contact you once they have at least a general plan (if possible).
A client shrouded in mystery. The issue is not finding information on the company or holding a meeting – they do exist. It’s just that they never turn their camera on. They usually send someone else to represent them. Even their Whatsapp profile picture is non-existent – but you can live with that. The issue arises when they don’t even respond to your emails and calls, which can slow you down significantly. If such miscommunication persists, make sure to at least pinpoint one person from the company that you can talk to regularly.
Even though they hired you, they always find time to lecture you – about your own job. Some milder cases usually include occasional comments to demonstrate they’re basically Jacks of all the possible trades – just to let you know. More often than not, people put up with such clients with as much as an eye-roll, unless it gets overbearing and requires concrete confrontation.
In his opinion, any part of your work, any alteration, any discussion or meeting or video call – they’re all super simple and probably won’t take more than 10 minutes of your time, right? More often than not – it turns out to be at least 10 hours’ worth of work. Here we suggest a calm and collected explanation as to why the work is, in fact, much more complex and why it takes more time and to guide them through each and every step for better understanding.
Nothing can wait. It needs to be done now. Actually – yesterday. Every single step has to be finished as fast as possible. They almost always prefer speed over quality, but, sometimes, if you’re unlucky enough, you can get an even more frustrating combination – where they leave you with barely any time to work and then go on to complain about the results too! Here, the same rule applies as with Easy-peasy Pete – if necessary, draw it out for them!
Moving to live on Mars? Doable. Getting them to pay the bill on time and without complains? Impossible. This type of client will do the best they can to firstly get out as much free work as possible. On top of everything, getting them to actually send the necessary invoice information is often stalled, let alone the actual payment. Here you just need to be persistent!
If you’ve got them raising their voice at you over the phone or berating you in meetings – that’s the classic Angry Angus. Not only do they make you lose sleep and remain anxious all the time, they inevitably take all the possible fun out of your work, which is unacceptable. This case, of course, is not as common but is quite extreme, so should you encounter someone like this, the best way to fight back with the exit opposite – a calm, cold and formal confrontation.