Tell-tale signs you’re dealing with a client from hell

Need some help recognising nightmare clients?

Follow our advice to survive ghastly and ghoulish client behaviour this Halloween…

They’re unclear when briefing you on a task

When you’re asked to start a new job for a client, it’s vital that you run through any important questions before setting a deadline. Although queries will arise as you start to knuckle down, you should always have the basics clear in your mind from the start. If a client tends to miss the same key details from a brief, try preparing a document with FAQs to ask about any specifics that might stop you making progress.

They think micromanaging gets the best results

If you spend large chunks of your time updating your client on projects rather than getting the work done, you might be under the watchful eye of a micromanager. Clients who obsess over the smaller details are usually worried that they’re losing control over a task. Thankfully there are a few things you can do to help reassure them. Start by defining a clear process with a plan to communicate regularly at set times. If you’re transparent about your progress, the constant questions should soon ease off.

They’re always asking for freebies

Some clients can become comfortable over time asking for another round of amends, or a spare hour of your time to talk something over. Putting a stop to their nightmare behaviour depends largely on your response. Remember to be firm but fair with your customers and, if possible, refer them to your rate card. Feel free to walk away from anyone who doesn’t value your time so you can concentrate your efforts on clients who are willing to pay a fair price.

They shy away from their responsibilities

Have you ever waited on an important file from a client before you can start on a task? A lazy contact can turn a healthy business relationship very sour, very quickly. When your clients take their time to reply to emails or to do their due diligence, you have every right to push back deadlines and explain the impact of their actions. If the problem persists, you may have to consider severing your ties.

They’re often inappropriate

Emails littered with innuendos and catch ups filled with chat up lines are a nightmare to deal with when you’re trying to be professional. If inappropriate comments creep into conversations with your clients, you should explain how they make you feel. Whether it’s in-person or over an email, sharing your point of view in a one-on-one situation will help to make your message clear and spare your client any embarrassment.


Posted by Alex Abdelaziz

Image credits: fizkes via iStock & ra2studio via iStock