A difficult client? What is a difficult client? The term is used frequently and I think at some point we all are difficult clients for someone, because we may have an issue, misunderstanding or complaint about them. At least, this seems to be the perception of what a difficult client is. Surely, there may be people who have unreasonable demands or lack communication skills that create all sorts of misunderstandings. But are they difficult clients? They may think the person on the other side is the one being difficult. So, how do we solve this?
What is being difficult?
Difficult is when a person is hard to communicate with. Because, in my view, communication is the key to solving problems. The translation industry is prone to these sorts of issues, for all sorts of reasons. First, there may be a cultural difference and one person’s message may be interpreted differently by the other. If both sides are in a different country, they may have different ways of doing things and that may also be a problem. It may be a challenge, but we can’t say someone is being “difficult”. They simply see things differently.
Sometimes, we may get someone rude or inappropriate. Well, that isn’t being difficult, it’s just being rude. Unfortunately, some people may be like that.
Being professional is the key
In my view, instead of categorising things, we should analyse them first. Why is communication with the client so difficult, what is causing the issue? That will allow us to open our minds to a different perspective and have a better understanding of the situation. If it’s a misunderstanding due to cultural differences or something similar, it can be solved in a simple email clarifying the matter.
Even if it is an unfortunate case of someone being rude or disrespecting your work, it must also be solved with communication. We must be professional. Professionalism means that, although we must not accept disrespect, we must also not respond in the same terms. I have said this before and I strongly believe that our best advertising is a satisfied customer. So, if you always present professional conduct, you will show your point of view, you may disagree with the other person’s opinion but you acknowledge them. That is good customer service, if you respond inappropriately you may not just lose that client, but many others after that, because they may comment with others or leave a bad review.