7 Ways Your Difficult Client Can Make You a Better Event Manager
We’ve all had one, that certain client that wanted you to move the moon and back with little to no budget and no time to do it. That’s the thing with a difficult client, every once in a while they come along and we wonder why we chose this demanding industry to work in.
There is the old adage, however, that says a company shows its worth when things are going bad, not when all is running smoothly. When mistakes or accidents happen, that’s when you start earning your wages. Not when everything is going well.
So are there lessons we can learn from even the most difficult client and put them to good use?
We think so, here’s seven ways your difficult client can make you a better event manager:
1. You learn to look from another person’s perspective
Our lives revolve around ourselves, or course they do. But by looking at the problem from another person’s perspective we can see things in a totally different way. You’ll find that the people in call centres who handle complaints day after day are taught to look at the customer’s perspective, even before they start speaking. That angry customer might have been on hold for over an hour, had an issue with the company that has been outstanding for months and not resolved, and so on. So before you start taking things personally, look at it from their side.
2. You are reminded that it’s not personal it’s just business
As for it being personal, how do you keep a cool head and not let your emotions get the better of you when you are dealing with a difficult client? Remember it is business, not personal. The client isn’t unhappy with you per se, it is the outcome or the situation they are disappointed with. Grow a thick skin, get back up after a battering and do your best work.
3. They help you to communicate better
When dealing with a difficult client you not only have to listen to what they are saying, but you also have to communicate back to them in a way they fully understand. This makes sure that there are no misunderstandings in the future. A difficult client will certainly test you to the limit, but this is good practise for future customers.
4. They sharpen your managerial skills
There’s nothing like a demanding client to push you, but instead of resenting the added stress, you can rise to it and do your best work. Some people thrive on additional pressure and need a little push to motivate them. Meet the challenge and vow to yourself that despite the problems created by your client, you are going to stun them with an excellent event.
5. Difficult clients mean you have to be more flexible
Most of us have certain ways in which we like to do things, and sometimes we can get a little stuck in these old habits. A difficult client will push you to become much more flexible. This could be anything from picking different suppliers, using an unknown caterer, staging an event in a venue you are not familiar with, and such like. By becoming more flexible and compromising on the important issues for the client, you are sure to carry out your best work, and get recommended in the process.
6. You have to become more organised
The one thing to learn from a difficult client is that you will need to back-up everything you have promised, hired, supplied and staged. For this you will need to be mega-organised. Keep important documents together where you can find them easily and make sure you have receipts and invoices that you can present to the client. Furthermore, make sure you can back up everything you have said with facts proved by data.
7. You learn when to turn down a job
Having given the following advice, there are some cases where you have to manage your expectations and the clients. Sometimes it is better to turn down a job, if you foresee that you are not going to meet their expectations, then take it on and let it divert your attention away from your other clients. Learning when to say no is as important as knowing when to say yes.
No one wants a difficult client. But if you can successfully manage your relationship and navigate through the hurdles, you’ll come out the other side with a wealth of valuable experience.