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How Do You Handle A Business Relationship Gone Wrong?

Pssst…the video includes some very VALUABLE commentary in the captions so you should WATCH it! :)

Uuuggggg, the dreaded bad client encounter…can’t you just erase it from my memory?

If you’ve been in online business for any length of time you may have already experienced the dreaded bad client encounter. Typically, the dreaded bad client encounter manifests itself in one of two ways. First is where you’ve acquired a client who is not your “ideal” client, and second is where you’ve got an ideal client with whom a transaction or project goes terribly wrong.

In either case, it’s never an enjoyable experience. But it comes with the territory.  And if you plan to pursue entrepreneurship it’s important to know how to handle these experiences when they happen to you. And believe me, they will!

Okay, so what do you do when you have a client that turned out to be a bad apple, or the project went awry?
Simple. Be honest.

This may seem like common knowledge, but frankly many people retreat in the face of a dissatisfied, angry, or upset customer. Unfortunately, running from the matter only makes your already angry customer angrier. So, the first thing you need to do is up the ante and put the issue on the table with your client WITH a potential solution.

Problem-Solvers Win Every Time

In coming to your client with the issue at hand, make sure you also have a solution. And if you don’t have solutions, at least have an idea of what your next steps need to be. Just dumping a problem on a client without a solution is going to cause your client to panic, and it won’t help your business relationship. Be ready to approach your client with options that will bring about resolution.

Kick Your Excuses, Ego, and Sense of Entitlement to the Curb

When you plan to talk with your client about the issue you’re facing remember that you need to work towards a common purpose…a solution. This means that you need to facilitate a meeting of the minds. In other words, you need to get on the same page. Admit that you’re in the wrong, if you are, and sincerely apologize. Then seek to reconcile whatever inconvenience the client incurred.

Learn From it, and Let it Go

This was the hardest part of dealing with client difficulties for me. I’m very critical of myself and expect excellence in all I do, so when I had my first client difficulty it HAUNTED me for months! I was very bothered by the fact that things hadn’t turned out as I had expected, and was unable to establish a strong working relationship with this client. The truth was I wasn’t able to serve that client the way they wanted to be served. We weren’t a good fit. They were not my ideal client. Looking back now, I understand the importance of qualifying clients before you start working with them to avoid this type of outcome. Unfortunately, at the time I took it personally. But, I would have been much better served to let it go and move forward from the experience instead of beat myself up over it.

How This Has Worked for Me IRL (In Real Life)

I want to give you a specific example so that you can see exactly how this process has played out for me, and to my advantage.  I worked with a client in my healthcare marketing business who wanted to do some traditional advertising, and we had to work with a local printer. The local printer ran into trouble and was unable to deliver the products as promised. If you want the full story, watch the video, but ultimately I ended up issuing the client a refund plus additional money for the inconvenience they incurred.

When I discussed my decision with colleagues, many thought that giving a refund above 100% was insane! Nevertheless, for many reasons I believed (and still do) in taking a radical approach to serving my customers. As it turns out, it was a very wise move. Not only do I still do business with this client, but they are one of the biggest referrers to my business.  I made back the additional refund tenfold.

A Note about Working with the Wrong Client for Your Business

Sometimes you will have the pleasure of acquiring a client that is not fit for your business, especially when you first start your business. It’s important to recognize that when you are dealing with someone who is not an ideal client you should seriously consider removing the person (or business) from your client base. When you can’t serve someone as they desire to be served through your business everyone is better off severing the working relationship. This can be challenging, particularly when you’re anxious to bring money through the door. Ironically, the sooner you identify and start working with your ideal clients, the sooner you’ll start making the money you seek.

So, let me ask you. How do you deal with bad client encounters? Do you have a plan in place for handling client situations that go wrong? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below and if you have any additional advice you would like to share with us please leave that as well. And don’t forget Kick-A$$ Tips comes out the first week of every month, so make sure you sign up.

Thank you for watching, and I look forward to talking to you again very soon.


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