Hey – every staffing firm (and every business, for that matter) has tough customers who demand excellence. This post isn’t about them. Today, we’re talking about unreasonable, unruly and downright scary clients – the ones who make your knees knock when you see emails from them in your Inbox.
In the staffing industry, nightmare clients typically fall into a few categories. Take a look at the most common types – and find out how to de-fang those monsters in a snap:
The Jekyll & Hyde
One minute, this guy is sweet as honey. Then, without warning, he switches from charming to downright evil. You never know which part of his seemingly split personality you’ll be dealing with from day-to-day. And the worst part? Nobody believes you when you tell them about his dark side (he hides it from everyone but you – aren’t you the lucky one?).
He’s deliberately provocative. Hostile and ugly. And more likely to trash you and your company’s reputation on a review site than bring his problem to you. Honestly, his nasty behavior leads you to believe that he might actually live under a bridge.
This creature surfaces suddenly – typically in the middle of the placement cycle – and attempts to ensnare you in his thrashing tentacles (i.e., conflicting job requirements, changing timelines and unrealistic demands). Once he’s released, look out – you’ll be fighting for your life for the rest of the project.
How can you handle these nightmare clients?
Use these tips from an earlier AskHaley post to de-fang, disarm and even please them:
- Don’t take it personally. Remember, clients need to vent when they’re dissatisfied. So be a duck, and let their comments roll off your back.
- Get the full story. Ask the customer to share the details. Sometimes, the process can calm him down. And by listening carefully and showing concern, you can begin to take control of the situation.
- Show empathy. Put yourself in his shoes. Phrases like “I understand,” and “No wonder you were feeling (insert emotion here),” show that you’re making an effort to understand his concerns.
- Discuss options. Once the customer is calm and you’ve confirmed understanding of his complaint, use a phrase like “Let’s find a way to work this out,” to move the conversation forward – and make it clear that you’re both on the same team. At each step of the resolution process, check with your client to be sure that proposed actions will be acceptable to him.
- Thank your customer for sharing his problem. Yep! After all, if a client shares his problem with you (instead of venting on social media), you have an opportunity to save the business relationship by putting your service recovery process into action. Beyond that, he may uncover a problem in your systems or process which you otherwise wouldn’t have known about.
Know when to run away.
Sometimes, customers are just impossible to please. When a client is consistently nasty, refuses to listen to sound advice, or continually makes unreasonable demands, protect your team – and know when to run from these monsters!
Certainly, you should always try to please tough customers and resolve their complaints. But when that fails, weigh your options carefully and make service decisions that are in everyone’s (including your own team’s) best interest.