Toxic people can be everywhere. They can be found among your friends or family members, etc. Unfortunately, a fair share of your customers can turn out to be toxic too. Unlike the rest of your clients, they tend to think they are always right. They usually demand much more than they have bargained for, do not respect your value, and most likely put the blame on you if something goes wrong. Sometimes they can go to extremes and even get abusive.
Having to deal with toxic clients is not just annoying. In terms of work, they create a noxious working environment. Their constant complaints and demands can disrupt your whole organization, decrease your employee’s output, and reduce the company’s efficiency. Sometimes the desire to keep customers happy prevails over employee satisfaction and emotional well-being. According to recent studies, toxic clients are even one of the top causes of voluntary turnover within many companies.
There are some tips for employees and managers to handle toxicity in clients.
#1 Recognizing a problem is a step toward its solution
First, you need to identify a toxic client. Thankfully, there are some red flags you need to be aware of.
– Non-compliant and toxic clients always find fault with you and the job you do.
– They always question your expertise and require more than was agreed upon.
– They seem to be moving goalposts all the time and unable to make a final decision asking for more alterations.
– They rarely pay on time.
#2 Set boundaries
Before work starts, it is necessary to set boundaries and be ready to say ‘No’. During the contract stage clearly state the terms and put there the issues you will not tolerate. Any ambiguity in the contract can be turned against you. And then firmly stick to it. Following the motto that a customer is always right is the right thing to do, but only to a certain extent. Toxic or negative clients tend to take advantage of it and you can eventually find yourself in a vicious cycle. If your clients keep breaching the contract term or being rude, don’t be afraid to say ‘No’.
#3 Keep your balance and avoid being toxic
Whatever happens, try to stay calm. Negative remarks, nasty remarks, or emails can be frustrating. Don’t ever get involved in toxic behavior yourself. Instead of fighting back, take a deep breath and defuse. Don’t forget that this approach is not a part of your work style.
#4 Be ready to use facts
Passive-aggressive customers often change their minds or distort facts. Keeping a paper or email trail with that type of client would be wise. They often approve of the work you do and your input but come back later complaining. If you keep every single piece of communication, you will be able to refer them back.
#5 Don’t leave your employees alone
Employees often feel helpless and abandoned when left alone to deal with toxic customers. The best way to let your employees feel valued is to empower them to speak out if one of the clients is driving them insane. The employees that deal with clients on a daily basis need somebody to turn to in case of a client’s inappropriate behavior. If employees cannot handle the situation on their own, they need a sort of internal support. In that case, don’t hesitate to step in and teach them how to solve the problem by your own example. In other words, don’t let anything become your team’s stress.
Difficult and non-compliant customers are hard to satisfy and can drain your team emotionally. Applying those tips in practice can help you deal with any type of client.
VAfromEurope Agency has been dealing with different clients throughout our career path. Stress resistance is crucial though we all have the choice who and why to work with.
Hopefully, those tips will become handy for you and we’ll manage to build non-toxic business relationships to help your business thrive.