Chances are high that at some point you will have to deal with a client who seems hell-bent on making the task at hand as difficult and infuriating as possible. They usually don’t know they’re doing it and sometimes they even think they’re being helpful. It’s a problem nearly everyone has to face, so it’s a good idea to be prepared for it. With a few considerations you can make the project just about bearable.
This can be pretty hard to do. When your client is leaning over your shoulder and requesting 20 changes only to ask for it to go back to how it was originally or acting like they know more than you about your field, it ends up being an extra task stopping yourself shouting, swearing and quitting on the spot. Obviously, that isn’t really something you can do, so you have to be able to control yourself.
It’s a matter of just putting up with the client as well as you can. Yes, they’ll offer awful suggestions and no, they won’t drop them easily, but it’s up to you to be the professional. Keep your cool and ride it out. Eventually you’ll be able to make them see sense. Just try to avoid destroying any furniture in the process.
Many clients will want to know exactly what you’re doing at all times and some will try to micromanage you. Even though you know you’d do a much better job by being left to get on with it, some people just don’t get that. They will ask you for lots of reports and they’ll want them in excruciating detail. They want to feel like they’re an integral part of the project.
This obviously gets tiring, but one way to go wrong is to start using technical language your client just doesn’t understand. This will lead to them ask you to explain everything to them again, but in a way they’ll actually get. That’s going to be time-consuming and no help to anyone. Keep all your explanations as simple as possible; the less questions they ask, the more time you have to get on with your work.
Sometimes, no matter how patient you have been, there is a time when you need to really take control of the situation. If your client is getting in the way of you doing your best or causing so much distraction that you’ll miss your deadline, you need to find a solution straight away. You have to be careful how you do it though.
Patience is still key, or at least keeping calm is. You have to explain to your client that they are hindering the very project they’ve asked you to do. Tell them your work is suffering due to their input and remind them that you are the expert. It’s a matter of knowing how to deal with your client properly. If they still don’t listen after this, then remind them that you’ll have to quit the project if you aren’t able to work to the best of your abilities.
Article by Joshua Danton Boyd from Crunch Accounting.