How Can Interior Designers Deal With Difficult Customers?
All businesses have them- the ones that wear you out, are critical of all your work and take forever to make payments. Yes, you guessed it correctly! Difficult clients. They are bound to exist in every business, and interior design is no exception. Most of the time, they are demanding because they all want the best for their homes and become unhappy when their home does not turn out as expected. Or sometimes, they are just bad for business. Regardless of how much time and effort you have invested into rectifying the issues brought up by them, they just can’t seem to be pleased.
Before we touch on how to deal with a difficult client, it is essential that we all know how to identify one. Difficult clients all come in different shapes and sizes. However, there’s something similar about all of them - they always make unreasonable demands, take up your weekends to discuss minute details and frustrate all your staff.
Regardless of how challenging your client may be, there will always be a way to manage them to ensure you have a pleasant renovation journey with them.
1. Keeping a cool head
Some home owners may have a high expectation for their interior designers. They will expect them to have designs ready for their homes at the very first meeting and immediate replies to any of their queries, holding them to a high service standard. However, when their expectations fall short, they get upset and unleash hell on the interior designers. Having a client shouting at you through the phone or causing a scene in your office is not out of the ordinary. In such situations, you must remain calm and maintain a professional stance to avoid putting your reputation on the line. Instead, you could give your client a phone call to sound out any unhappiness or differences to avoid any misunderstandings.
2. Hear them out
Often devoting time to hear the problems of your clients out without getting defensive is all it takes to solve the issue! By giving them your undivided attention when they are raising an issue and then repeating their statements back to them, this gives your client the assurance that you have understood their point which will make them feel heard.
3. Get everything written in black and white
It can be a frustrating experience working with a client who continually has a change of heart and often goes back on their words. To avoid getting accused of not doing a proper job, it is essential to document everything after an agreement has been reached. After important meetings or phone calls, email the meeting minutes to the client and your team. This will help keep everyone on the same page.
4. Keep them updated
It is never a bad idea to keep your clients updated at every stage of the project. Submitting weekly updates of the project development can help to quell any worries that the client might have, which will spare you from the daily onslaught of phone calls and messages demanding to know the progress of the renovation.
5. Cutting your losses
No doubt it might be difficult to end the working relationship with your client after investing so much time and effort into satisfying their needs. However, at some point in time, you might realise that you are better off working with a client who respects your time and has a better understanding of what you can do for them. That is when you should have a professional conversation with your client explaining to them how the termination of this working relationship would be the best solution for both parties moving forward.
At the end of the day, the main takeaway should be that you are aware that not every client you meet is going to be the right one for your business, just like how you are not the right one for every client. It is also essential to know that in order for a working relationship to prosper, it requires cooperation and understanding from both parties. With the five tips that we have provided, we hope that you will be better equipped for dealing with demanding clients and knowing when you pull the plug on the relationship.