Dealing with Confrontation4:33 with Paul Boag
Arguments or disagreements are bound to happen between you and your clients. First, it is important to keep calm, and Paul offers a number of additional steps that can help alleviate conflict.
So I'd like to tell you that if you've follow all of my guidance 0:00 about client services every client project will be wonderful 0:03 or we'll all live in this happy Utopian world and everything will be great. 0:08 Unfortunately, I can't tell you that. It'll be a nightmare. 0:13 There will be times when things go wrong. 0:15 There will be times when you have problems, 0:18 you fall out with the client, and aaah! 0:20 What do you do? 0:23 Dealing with confrontation is unfortunately 0:25 an important skill that you will need sooner or later. 0:28 I'm sorry about that but that's just the way things are. 0:31 My first piece of advice for this is keep calm. 0:35 Just because the client is angry, 0:38 don't allow yourself to go down that route as well. 0:40 Just because they raise their voice, doesn't mean you should. 0:43 It's much better to keep calm that it is to get angry. 0:46 Acknowledge if you've done something wrong 0:51 but also acknowledge that the situation 0:54 has reached this point and apologize for that. 0:57 Whether or not, you've messed up 1:00 or whether the client has been unreasonable, 1:03 it's still your responsibility to stop these kinds of problems 1:07 and you should apologize if things have gotten this far. 1:10 And, don't do that nonapology thing. 1:14 I'm sorry that you feel like that. That's not an apology. 1:17 That's just a platitude. 1:21 But you're sincere in your apologies. 1:24 It does make huge difference 1:27 and admitting your mistakes will take a lot of the wind out of theirselves. 1:29 It's really important to identify the underlying problem here. 1:35 Often what a client gets angry about isn't actually the root of the problem. 1:39 They might be annoyed because the design is not what they wanted 1:44 or that you've misunderstood their brief or whatever else 1:49 but actually the underlying problem might be-- 1:53 "I don't feel you've listened to me." 1:55 So you need to work in identifying what that underlying problem is. 1:57 Be sure that you get to the root of the problem before going any further. 2:02 Also, another thing is like a dumb thing but ask the client what they want. 2:06 If they're unhappy, you often get into this argument about 2:13 what it is that they are unhappy about 2:17 and you focus on the problem and not the solution. 2:19 Instead of focusing on what's gone wrong, 2:23 say to the client, "Okay, what can I do to fix this? 2:25 What can I do make you happy?" and then do it. 2:27 Fix the problem. 2:31 Whatever it takes you got to go for it, you got to fix the problem. 2:33 And then, because you've asked the client what they want you to do 2:37 and then you've done it, then you can say, "Are you happy now?" 2:41 and of course they have to be happy 2:45 because you've done exactly what they've asked. 2:47 It's not always possible but it's a general rule of fun but it's not bad. 2:49 Once you've fixed the problem, get feedback on them. 2:54 Get them sit down and say, "Are you happy now? 2:57 Is there anything else I can do?" 2:59 Take stock as well. 3:01 With the client, sit down with them and say, "Okay. Where are we at? 3:03 Do we feel that things have been resolved properly?" 3:06 and then demonstrate to the client 3:09 that you're going to avoid a repetition of this situation. 3:11 Learn from what's happened and correct the problems 3:14 so that it's not going to happen again. 3:18 Now, most of the time this will sort things. 3:20 Just occasionally, it doesn't. 3:23 There are really things have gotten very badly wrong. 3:27 Now, there are lots of options available to you here 3:31 but the one that I tend to prefer and I tend to use 3:35 is I essentially reboot the project. 3:38 I will say to the client, "Okay. Look. 3:41 This we've just gotten off the rails really badly here. 3:43 Let's go back to basics. Let's start again and begin the project again." 3:46 And often, although that screws your profit margins, 3:50 it will fix the project. 3:53 And, sometimes it's better to go back to the very beginning 3:56 than it is to put plasters on the problems to try and cover up the issue. 3:58 Starting afresh is often the best way to go. 4:04 Failing all of that, walk away. Know when to walk away. 4:08 The point comes with some clients where you just have to go-- 4:13 "Look, we're not the right fit for one another. 4:16 It's not happening for whatever reason 4:19 and it's time to go our separate ways." 4:21 I think that should be a last resort but is there for you. 4:24 Don't rush in to that option 4:27 but know when to do it when it comes to it. 4:29
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