How to manage difficult clients

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Photo credit: Joe Penniston (Creative Commons)

A difficult client is one who is inconsistent with his requirements, constantly changes the terms and conditions and doesn’t pay on time. In any business you need clients to survive or you are just a charitable organization surviving on funds from the investors. How do you justify having clients who promise a huge profit but by their actions you are frustrated to the point of canceling the order.

We had an overseas client who set our deadlines for a total home solutions and set penalties for us if we didn’t meet the deadline. The client was in a position to set deadlines since he didn’t have any experience in determining the duration for the work and was only out to bargain to the point of increasing his profit. We took it up since we were desperate to have a profitable project. But was it profitable since it required two resources who’s cost to the company was more than a lakh and the project value was only more than 2 lakhs.

What gives any client the right to demand extra resources, tight deadlines and extra features and changes at no additional charge. Do they have other options if we say no to their demands. Can we convince them that their demands are not valid without losing the project. Can we put ourselves in the client’s position to do this.

If we don’t meet the client’s requirements, client has a right to be difficult. We can then resolve by giving them more resources or concessions. End of the day, it’s your choice, either to have difficult clients or make clients difficult by not meeting their requirements.


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