How to Stay Productive and Motivated When Dealing with Difficult Clients

5 min readOct 27, 2021

Regardless of what industry you work in, nearly all independent contractors, freelancers, customer service agents, or any other role forward-facing have one thing in common — managing difficult clients. No matter how good at your job you are, no matter how professional and courteous you try to be, there is always that one client or customer who makes you question whether you’re in the right profession.

Staying motivated despite the clients can be one of the hardest aspects of client-based work. However, once you figure out different ways to deal with specific clients, you’ll be more passionate about your job than ever before. This article will discuss a few ways you can deal with demanding clients and keep your motivation high.

Set Expectations Early On

Not all clients will be easy to work with, and not everyone will have the same expectations. One of the best ways for an employee or contractor to stay productive when dealing with difficult clients is by establishing client and project expectations early on. The more information a client has about what they should expect from you, the easier it’ll be for the both of you to proceed with your work professionally.

Painting clear expectations early on in the relationship is an essential step for both parties in relationship management. Setting clear expectations will allow a contractor or freelancer to prepare for the worst and hope for the best instead of getting caught off guard when dealing with an individual who may come across as over-demanding or even rude.

Be Specific and Use Measurable Results

When dealing with demanding clients, you want to make sure that they are specific about their needs and know what they are looking for. By reviewing the critical needs of the client, you’ll be able to create effective workflows that address their demands. This will help keep them happy and give you a set of results to measure when determining whether or not your work was successful.

Additionally, using measurable results can also be helpful in this situation because then there is something tangible that can show your progress at any given time. For example: instead of saying, “I’m going to work on my blog more often,” say, “I will write three blog posts each week from now until August 20th”. By effectively communicating like this, both parties have a lot more clarity as well as way better trackable data moving forward.

Write and Verbalize Professionally

If you are in customer service, working with difficult clients can be draining. Sometimes it might feel like nobody is listening to the instructions, or worse yet, you may assume they don’t care about your help at all. The best way to overcome this type of thinking is by focusing on staying positive even when you’re around angry customers and communicating clearly and professionally when dealing with these customers.

When communication breaks down due to customer frustrations or other variables, make sure you ask clarifying questions before moving forward. This will ensure there isn’t any confusion on how the issue should be resolved. Keep your tone professional but assertive while asking for additional details that will aid in solving their problems.

If a client exhibits negative behavior, remain calm and de-stress by taking a couple of minutes to collect your thoughts before replying. By gathering all the facts and clearly expressing your thoughts, you will provide excellent customer service while staying motivated.

Present Solutions, Not Problems

One of the most important things you can do when dealing with difficult clients is to present solutions, not problems. If your client believes that they are pointing out an issue with your work, approach this feedback as what it is, instead of receiving it as a criticism.

If anything, this could be a great opportunity to present better options that you might not have had the time to brainstorm beforehand. This will show them respect and give them confidence in working together moving forward.

If you believe there might be another way to solve a client’s problem, getting a second opinion or involving other professionals to assist may be the best option. Let your client know that you have a team of professionals working for them and their project.

This is a common strategy in real estate when trying to close deals for very demanding clients. Showing the client that they mean more to you than just financial gain will build trust and confidence in working with one another moving forward. Specific clients may also feel a sense of relief knowing that more than one person is solving their problems.

Abandon Your Ego

When dealing with demanding clients, it is essential to abandon your ego and focus on what’s best for the client. Making assumptions about a person or company before working with them can lead you down the wrong path. On the other hand, you never know what someone else might be going through, so keep an open mind at all times.

Leaving your ego at the door also means that you should not take client flaws personally. For example, you might be working with a company that has been in business for many years, and they might have a set way of doing things.

If you can’t adapt and conform to how they prefer to operate, then it might be in your best interest not to work with them at all. Instead, your focus should be on providing the highest level of service possible so that both parties come away feeling satisfied by the experience.

In Summary

If you work in the service industry, providing the best possible customer service may be challenging when dealing with difficult clients. It can be challenging to stay motivated in your career when the relationship with your client isn’t the best it could be. However, by following these steps, focusing on adopting a positive mindset, and communicating clearly while staying positive, you can overcome these challenges and build strong client relationships.

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