If you have ever worked in any type of customer service job then you know nightmare clients or customers are inevitable! I however am a sucker for punishment as I love to work with people and have face to face interactions. With this come the bad, the terrible and the visions of yourself causing grievous bodily harm as you try to ‘wooo saaa’ through the situation.
With a work history of, retail, silver service, photography and makeup artistry I can safely say I know how to handle the ‘Client from hell’. I am not one of those people who believe the customer is always right and that because you are being paid for a service you should just nod and smile. Nightmare clients come in a variety of types all who need to be dealt with differently.
The Superiority Complex.
This for me is the most common culprit. The client who believes that because they are paying it is their prerogative to treat you like crap. These guys require you to assert yourself. Be Assertive! Speak to them politely yet firm enough that they know you don’t take shit.
If they continue gently remind them that they are receiving a service from you by choice. Remember to conduct yourself with composure and hold eye contact. Being assertive is not being a prick for the sake of it. Or a pain to work with!
The Backseat Driver.
These are the clients and customers who have watched one too many Youtube videos and Facebook posts. Which now apparently makes them qualified in the topic at hand? These range from customers who ‘know’ your store policies and procedures. To makeup clients asking why you don’t apply a contour using fancy patterns and utensils.
You need to believe in yourself! Now that that’s clear… You have to let them know that you are fully experienced in what you are doing. Even though listening to their theories on why they know what you should be doing is soul sucking, entertain it. Just briefly then offer them an each to their own kind of answer. You know the kinds beginning with ‘Here we… ‘ ‘Personally I…’ ‘I prefer…’
This goes down better then ‘If you don’t like it go somewhere else!’ Even though that is what we are all thinking.
The person in the same trade as you. This can be the most annoying of all! Hairdressers, make-up artists, photographers you will encounter these guys. Someone who is fully capable of doing what they are coming to you for.
My approach with this lot is gently, gently. You have to make them feel comfortable but ensure you do not begin to doubt yourself. When up against your peers or even competition it is easy to start questioning your own method and ability. Don’t! You got this.
These guys can quickly turn into backseat drivers, so be warned.
I’m so guilty of being a‘Nightmare Client’. I am a photographer who can’t be photographed. I turn into a major control freak and have little faith. This isn’t because of doubting the person’s ability, this is all on me. When you are so used to being on one side of the camera you easily forget how to be on the other. All the tips and tricks I give clients go out the window and I freeze. What makes it more irritating is I can’t get out of my photographer head. I focus more on what they are doing than what I am doing. Resulting in ‘awkward shots’.
I’m trying to get out of this by facing it head on and having more photoshoots. It’s all good and well knowing your flaws but it doesn’t stop there. We have to work on our own flaws, you can always be better!
Are you a nightmare or customer?
Have you or do you deal with nightmare clients?