These Tips Can Help You Deal with a Challenging Client
It’s important to learn how to manage a challenging client. Otherwise, you may lose time, money, and peace of mind. Taking a nuanced approach to a difficult account can mean the difference between getting paid on time and writing off debt.
At Summit A*R, we’ve been in the collection business for over 27 years and have helped countless businesses across a variety of industries. From our vast experience as a personal debt collection agency – we know that while most customers are good and honorable people, a minority of them must be managed carefully. Here are a few tips to help you deal with a difficult client:
#1 Screen Your Clients
It’s important to recognize the characteristics of a difficult client. Being selective about who you work with can improve the outlook of your business. Be wary of customers that appear disorganized. If they’re unable to follow your emails or miss meetings, then you may face more problems down the road.
Avoid clients with inaccurate contact information. Customers that give you an outdated phone number or email address may be unreliable. Crosscheck their details to look for red flags. Information that doesn’t match with your records could be the sign of a scammer.
Don’t extend credit to customers who fail credit checks or have a dodgy financial history and insist on signing a contract. Having an airtight document with both of your signatures can help if there’s a serious disagreement.
Be wary of clients that haggle. Refer them to a competitor if they can’t afford you. Such a client may make excuses when payment is due.
It’s important to ask for references, especially if the account appears lucrative. You can also use other methods to check their reputation, like search engines. Remember the adage: “If something is too good to be true, it probably is.”
Be careful when a client is hypercritical, doesn’t know what they want, makes excuses, or unreasonably badmouths your competitors. All of these could be the signs of a challenging customer. Remember, some customers may deliberately try to find fault with your services to renegotiate the price later.
Lastly, trust your gut. Listen to your instincts even if a potential client appears to be a good match on paper. Sometimes a clash of personalities can be enough to sour a business relationship.
#2 Keep Your Cool
Despite your best efforts, you may still end up with a challenging customer. Such a client may be talkative, demanding, indecisive or impatient. In the worst-case scenario, they may be prone to anger or try intimidation tactics.
Remember, you can only control your behavior. Avoid losing charge of your emotions and keep your body language calm. If your customer is screaming at you then respond to them in a clear voice. Simply ask them how you can correct the situation. Take time out later to vent with colleagues. Sometimes it’s healthy to blow off some steam.
#3 Listen to Their Concerns
Listen to a customer and maintain eye contact. Show them that you care. Repeat their concerns back to them so that they know you’ve listened. A demanding customer that feels heard may turn into your best client.
At Summit A*R, we understand the value of treating people with respect and dignity. We follow a “P.H.D. Philosophy” (Preserve Human Dignity). This means that we have a professional but friendly attitude. Usually, people respond well to our diplomatic methods. For example, our humane approach has given us a reputation as a compassionate medical debt collection agency in the United States, while our recovery rate is twice the national average.
#4 Give Them Solutions
After collecting all the details of the problem, formulate a plan. If you’re at fault, then do what you can to rectify the situation. If the customer is being unreasonable then show them the pertinent clauses in the contract.
#5 Have a Record of Your Communication
Try to correspond with a challenging client on email. This will establish a record of the communication and will be handy in case of a disagreement. In many regions, an email is a form of documentary evidence.
#6 Pick Your Battles
The bitter truth is that you may have to concede to a difficult customer to preserve your reputation. And sometimes it’s in your best interest to resolve a problem quickly to save your valuable time. But draw a line. Avoid compromising on your beliefs and ethics. Otherwise, another customer may try to take advantage of your business later.
#7 Learn from the Situation
While you may make a monetary loss from dealing with a difficult client you will certainly gain valuable experience. Review the situation. Take steps to improve your communication and services and learn to avoid such customers.
#8 Get Summit A*R on Your Side
If a client doesn’t pay after you’ve fulfilled your obligations, then get in touch with us. Clients who have been difficult from the start are more likely to ignore your invoices, emails, phone calls, and letters when payment is due.
But they won’t ignore us.
Summit A*R has developed a strong reputation in the collection business. Usually, our campaign of demand letters and phone calls is enough to motivate delinquent customers into paying debts. Most people are willing to clear their dues when a reputable collection agency is involved. We can report a customer to the three major credit bureaus. Debtors pay their debts because they value their credit rating.
Don’t worry if you can’t reach your client. Our skip tracing department is led by talented private investigators and carries a wealth of resources. We can find most debtors and their assets, even if they’ve crossed state lines.
Follow these tips to improve how you deal with a difficult client. And remember to get professional help if your invoices aren’t being paid. You can check out these tips to learn more about the sort of questions you should ask before hiring a consumer collection agency.
We have the experience and skills to better your AR turnover ratio. What’s more, our rates are reasonable, and we don’t demand payments upfront nor do we ask for mandatory minimums. So, get in touch with us today and recover your revenue.