Is Your Client Toxic? We Will Teach You How to Handle Them

Is Your Client Toxic? We Will Teach You How To Handle Them

We may scream like “I wanna go to hell now” when dealing with a toxic client.

As the workers in the business agency, we tend to meet various types of clients. Especially when dealing with a toxic client, of course, it is not something easy to overcome. Have a gigantic ego, lack of empathy, and enjoy manipulating, are tied up in their psyche. We can easily spot their behaviour, considering we continuously keep in touch with clients.

If we can be quite sarcastic, then we go to tell, “It feels like we meet a dementor, the scariest creature in the Harry Potter sequel.” Every good feeling and energy will be sucked out of us. Therefore, we must delve into a toxic client with some magical tricks to get rid of a shitty day.

According to John White, the CMO of Social Media Solutions justified it in, “Toxic business relationships can suck our company goals and stop growth. Once the toxic relationship breaks the set of boundaries that each company sets, it often makes sense to cut our losses and go on.”

Either way, we don’t need to be a psychiatrist to encounter a toxic client, or otherwise, we can go crazy. The only thing we do is to approach them with professionalism, friendliness, and confidence. By doing the right action for them, we won’t get on their knees and kiss their ass 100% of the time.

Well, as we are in the same boat, we have 15 handy tips for dealing with a toxic client you will find in every company.

Toxic client 1: terrorist

“Can you finish all my tasks ASAP? It’s extremely important because I have to present it by the end of the week and I can’t miss the deadline.”

Indeed, some tasks need to get done quickly. But, if they speed up our job while we are still in progress, then our project can be a disaster. Most often, we sacrifice our weekends or evenings to do their mission and damn it, and they disappear after we finish it.

How to handle:

We will tell the due date and finish the project on time so that the client can see our consistency in work. Moreover, thinking about how many revisions we get can also allow us to minimize the duration. Besides, we can explain to them that we still have so many clients out there to handle. So, we shouldn’t be in a hurry.

Toxic client 2: primitive

“We want you to finish our project with a similar design from the last 20 years, can you keep it the same?”

Handling a conservative client is slightly challenging to get them on trends. We call them an “anti-innovation”. Their concept doesn’t match the current styles.

How to handle:

Adding a friendly tone when explaining our company’s mechanism and the procedures can work on them to escape from their comfort zone. Then, give a clear image of how our brand selling in the future may look like from this year. If it doesn’t work for them, then the act of saying no can save us a lot without feeling guilty.

Toxic client 3: grasshopper

“That’s good, but, could you use this font…”

This type of client is hard to pin down. They bounce from one idea to another in chaotic ways. They tend to be a perfectionist in getting better results based on their taste. While we must work overtime to do that, seriously, we wave our hand right in front of the camera.

How to handle:

We will write down all of the points and start discussing without any gaps before changing the style. So, get a detailed brief and ask questions before we do the task without being afraid. Besides, we must keep in touch with them frequently to avoid misconceptions.

Toxic client 4: yes, no, maybe

“This is so good, but I feel like it can be better, wait… I am not sure now. What about you?”

Decisions and decisions. This type of client will get lost in the street. They feel hard to decide on many feedbacks. They try to rely on us to make all decisions by asking for some opinions.

How to handle:

Yes, no, maybe the client type needs our guide to drive them in the right direction. Prepare the written records to prevent some revisions. From this, we can try to extend the deadlines to give them many options. Nevertheless, follow them up and build an interaction to ensure their needs patiently.

Toxic client 5: picky client

“I think it is good, but we need something different from what our competitors have made. I want all this work finished by next month so we need to move quickly.”

This type of client is very troublesome. At the beginning of the agreement, everything goes well. After finishing our project and then giving them the results, these clients suddenly change their minds. It tends to make us feel so stressful. We can’t lie about this.

How to handle:

Start to make a timeline and set the parameters on what can be done. We must be clear about the project’s deliverance and avoid out-of-scope work. It is crucial to verify the big ideas but try to ask “can we do this?” to keep the focus on the achievement.

Toxic client 6: bossy

“Hey, how is my project? I want to check that everything is going well. I texted you last night but you didn’t respond to my call.”

Everybody has a trust issue sometimes. This client will try to stay on top of us for the whole process to ask all details and to check the updates frequently. This type of client is hard to satisfy.

How to handle:

Tell them strictly that we are more expert in this field. Our purpose is to help their vision, to create astonishing results, and to keep their trust. Indeed, we can be more professional without disappointing them in any terms and conditions. Also, getting personal and exposing our vulnerability can create a loyal bond with them.

Toxic client 7: Mr. know-it-all

“Oh, thank you before, but I don’t need some advice. I know what I need, you better follow my rules!”

Whether in family, in the office, or society, know-it-alls are everywhere we hate. Sometimes what we want to do is visit their home and slap them, it is so cruel but true. However, we are better to deal with them because they are our essential clients.

How to handle:

Take time to calm down our anger before making a decision, or we will pay for this. Indeed, reducing our ego can increase our patience in dealing with “knows it all” people. Additionally, We can turn know-it-alls into allies with patience, watchfulness, and a bit of humour.

Client 8: ghosting

“Hey, sorry, I was so hectic yesterday. Let’s make a call as soon as we can and I will handle the invoice by today.”

This toxic client is hard to detect. At first, this client looks so enthusiastic and ready to be at the front gate. Soon, this client will disappear when we need some feedback. Be careful. If we can’t follow them up immediately, this client can easily delay the approval. Again and again, we are attacked by the rock.

How to handle:

It is essential to set a precise schedule. A schedule can be the key to keep the clients and ourselves on task. But the problem is when you start to lose their connection, let’s monitor them to underline the previous plan, which is very important for both of us. Our time is too precious to chase them down. Please don’t waste your pleasant day.

Toxic client 9: roughneck

“So disappointed! This dealership has forgotten all about good customer services. We are never visiting here again…”

This type of toxic client is so tricky. They don’t look for services, but they want to make a fuss even if in a store or a review section of the e-commerce website. Although we are perfect, the roughneck still has something to complain about. Their negative feedback with rudeness is the most annoying thing that always speaks persuasively. Therefore, it is not brand-new that some bad reviews can damage the company’s reputation easily.

How to handle:

Track all the nasty comments on your website frequently. The point is that we act like we don’t care. Indeed, their claim is trash, and they don’t deserve our attention. To deal with this, let’s try to play with their game by proving our best powerfully.

Toxic client 10: extremist

“You are insane. Do you think $400 is low-cost? You should give me a discount, I am your old customer.”

Generally, the middle ages who miss the good old days will say “everything was cool.” The changes in the price list, for instance. It is difficult for this one to understand our new offer’s benefits because they are happier with the old price than the new one. This type is very dull to face any changes. It seems like the old terms and conditions are more profitable and more reliable for them.

How to handle:

The key is patience. It isn’t easy to satisfy a conservative person. We need consistency with our traditions and products by showing a similar benefit with the previous versions and explaining the changes. Besides, we can try to offer without abandoning the old conditions.

Client 11: biased

“Should I pay it now? I think I should wait for my product to get done first then I can go pay this.”

This type of client has a traumatism after getting either a failed interaction or bad experience from other companies. It is easy to spot them. When there is no choice to go somewhere else, they will visit us with their hesitation.

How to handle:

As customer service, we must be sympathetic to our customer problems besides knowing their needs. After we know it, we can demonstrate our best to prevent such troubles. Then, we should build and improve the trusting relationship between clients and us.

Toxic client 12: blabbermouth

“I am not going shopping, I just want to know your services.”

It is such a nightmare for us because they suck our time and energy. This client only wants to take something for granted without feeling guilty. We will learn everything about their interests, needs, and personal experiences. Still, they don’t need us actually and leave out for no reason. It is unfortunate but true.

How to handle:

A blabbermouth is an emotional person. It is suitable for us never to put them down or offend them. If we do that, they will bring a nasty rumour about us. To prevent this, we should adjust our business tone of communication. Sometimes we don’t need to take all the things personally. Otherwise, this thing can be a boomerang. Plus, we can use closed questions, whether it will work or not. At least, we have more initiatives than doing nothing.

Toxic client 13: fainthearted

“I don’t understand what you are saying. I just leave everything to you, goodbye!”

This type is also called an insecure person.” This person always constantly doubts searching for something else. After getting their needs, they will start to doubt again. The problem is simply that this user doesn’t have any idea what he or she would choose. This situation may arise because of their incompetence in our field. For instance, they will be confused to explain the design trends while choosing minimalist or artistic style for these current days. In this case, confidence is a must-have.

How to handle:

Try to understand and explain patiently what our client’s confusion with identifying the main obstacles. Secondly, giving specific options step by step can be a helpful way for our client. Besides, giving a clear argument briefly with facts, figures, and statistics is vital for seeing more of our services’ advantages.

Toxic client 14: snake in the grass

“Pardon me if I decide to cancel your services out of the blue without telling you first.”

This type is almost similar to the fainthearted client, but with different nuances. The fainthearted doesn’t know what they want while the snake knows but doesn’t want to tell. For example, clients may look delighted and loyal. Then suddenly, we realize that they have moved on to another company. Why? Because we cannot satisfy them in certain aspects, but they don’t see it necessary to tell us about it.

How to handle:

Before accepting a client’s project, we should clarify entirely about their needs. With it, we can minimize the possible dissatisfaction of our customers. If we get lost contact with them, let’s rebuild communication regularly. Explain the principle and the reliability of our company as we know that customers sometimes are afraid to share information because they aren’t sure about our credibility.

Client 15: all-day sucker

“Could you revise all of this again? I hardly put this in a high payment so please make it perfect.”

This client can get us stressed by the revision loop for several reasons. Sometimes, they want to get the biggest bang from their dollar. Whatever the case, it is essential to stay out of unnecessary revision. Otherwise, our project’s value can start dropping if we surpass the total edits out of our agreement.

How to handle:

Use appropriate language in a good situation between you and the client to establish your standard in their revisions. We can say, “I have integrated all your suggestions and left some additional comments in this first round, please check it before I continue it.” Indeed, if we haven’t yet included revisions in our client agreement, now is a great time to implement the acceptable terms and conditions. Many business owners include one or two revisions in their overall project and give the additional fee for corrections beyond the agreement.

Reflective thought

All of us live around an egotistical society, like it or not. We often fall into the situation of being too self-obsessed. Looking for the best thing tends to keep us away in appreciating what we are doing in our actual moments every day. If we want to find the balance, still, we need to reach for the best accomplishment, then keep it well under control. Use it as a way to feed our attainment, but never letting it get the better of us.

On top of that, whatever the client is, we need to appreciate them by understanding their necessity, listening to their grumble, and giving them valuable advice. With that, we can gain the client retention and the company’s strength for a successful business.

Have you ever got the experience to meet with a toxic client? If yes, how did you overcome them? Let me know by putting your comment in the section below.

About the Author

This article is written by Ulfah, a content and copywriter and is currently working for Read her articles here.

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Paul Austin

Paul is a writer living in the Great Lakes Region. He dabbles in research of historical events, places, and people on his website at Michigan4You. When he isn't under a deadline, you can find him on the beach with a good book and a cold beer.

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