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6 Types Of Difficult Clients And How To Handle Them


Clients. Your job would be great if you didn't have them, yet you probably wouldn’t have a job without them.

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All clients present certain challenges, but they are essential to your business. They pay the bills and provide opportunities for you to use your skills and grow.

On the other hand, they can drive you absolutely crazy with unreasonable demands, utter lack of interest in participating in the process, unwillingness to meet deadlines, micromanaging or some diabolical combination of each of these characteristics.

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Here is a look at a variety of types of clients that have been driving people like you nuts for decades, as well as tips on how to handle them:

Mrs. Indecision

She's not entirely sure what she wants or why she can't make up her mind. She thinks that indecision may or may not be her problem. But you know for sure that an inability to make a decision is the problem.

The Solution is to definitely get everything in writing once those elusive decisions are made. Proper documentation of all meetings, interactions and emails is essential.




Mr. Shiny, New Thing

He has no regard for brand, strategy or tried and true techniques. All he wants is the latest, greatest gadget or to take the shortcut.

The Solution is to listen, make sure he's heard and then make a solid business case for why you should go a different route. Make sure the client knows that your No. 1 goal is making them successful, and sometimes the latest and greatest, or the shortcut, isn’t the best solution.




Mrs. My Hair Is On Fire

Everything is an emergency for this client. She'll constantly call , waste copious amounts of time and exhaust your entire team. She makes a mountain out of every single molehill.

The Solution is to be very, very clear about deadlines, which means you should never, ever miss a deadline. Try to get the project done before the target date so you can make corrections (you know there will be some) before the actual deadline has passed. Also provide steady reassurance that everything is under control.




Mr. I Don't Care

He takes a hands-off approach. He rarely provides insight or an opinion, even when pressed to do so. He simply doesn't care.

The Solution is by focusing your work on your best ideas while insisting he provide feedback at critical stages in the project. You'll have to insist, but it will be worth it. If, despite repeated efforts, he still doesn’t contribute, then you will likely have to take the reins on each project and hope he likes the results.




Mr. I'm Not Sure What I Want... But I Know It's Not That

He would rather focus on what he doesn't want than what he does want. And what he doesn't want is whatever it is that you are proposing.

The Solution is to keep your head high. If you do get stuck in this pickle, try to appease the client and work through the project as quickly as possible. Then, when it’s over, decide on a proper course of action because this type of client can be extremely detrimental to your team's morale.




Mrs. All Day, Every Day

She won't stop. She works all day, every day — even weekends, which is certainly commendable. But she emails you at 3 a.m., calls during dinner with your family, and texts you while you are on vacation. And she expects you to do the same.

The Solution is to set clear boundaries and don't be afraid to say no (or just turn your phone on silent). Express to the client how important she is and emphasize that she does has your undivided attention — during the workweek. That, and do the exceptional work you always do. 




Whether you are a B2B business or a B2C business, you are going to have difficult clients and customers that can make your life a little challenging. Understand that they have expectations, too, and they are paying you for a service. They deserve quality work. If you supply them with quality work, they will be happy, and you will be happy knowing you did your absolute best.

So before that next client meeting with Mr. or Mrs. I’m Going To Make You Want To Jump In Front Of A Train, take a deep breath (or even a shot) and treat your client as you would like to be treated.

We know at ROI we have our quirks, too, and our clients have to tolerate us as well! This is normal for businesses. Clients are like family members. They can annoy you and upset you, but at the end of the day, you still care about them.


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