4 high vibe ways to handle client drama
Y’all, let’s keep it really real, k?
Client drama is inevitable. (And that’s not a bad thing.) When you put two humans together working on things that mean a whole bunch, you’re gonna get some turmoil every once in a while.
But, I promise you this.
Client drama does NOT have to be a big deal. It does NOT have to take you off your game. It does NOT have to ruin your week. And it certainly does NOT have to end in you losing a client.
So, what’s the best high vibe way to handle any client drama? How do you handle a client situation in a way that doesn’t leave you feeling super triggered or your client wanting to run for the hills?
Here are 4 ways to handle client drama like a BOSS.
1. Get neutral before you respond.
Let’s say a client sends you an email or Facebook message that gets you totally frustrated. Maybe something didn’t get done right or maybe your client’s experiencing a case of miscommunication.
What you *really* want in this situation is to keep the relationship and continue building your long-term thriving business with long-term clients who love and rave about you, right?
Most of us think we need to immediately go into defense mode when a client comes in hot. But that kind of response just ain’t going to help you achieve your goal.
You gotta get neutral, figure out what’s true, and put together a plan for how to make sure this mistake or miscommunication doesn’t happen again.
Because when you do that you can then respond to your client without being in a heightened emotional state and you have the absolute best chance of handling the situation like a true BOSS.
If you only take one thing from this entire post, then let it be this. NO response happens until you feel like you’re in a good place to respond with truth, facts and kindness.
2. Acknowledge the stories you’re creating.
If you’re a VA, OBM or SMM then you’re going to experience conflict with your clients at some point.
This is no big deal because it’s just how life works.
The thing is… there’s a way to handle client conflict that gets you the results you WANT. There’s a way to make sure you salvage your client relationship rather than burn a bridge. You simply have to start by acknowledging the stories you’re creating.
Let’s say you get an email from a client asking why a certain task has yet to be completed. You’re super confused because you told this client it would get done by end of day and it’s only 5 PM. You’re thinking you have 3 more hours since your end of day is 8 PM.
(You see where I’m going here??)
Before you respond, acknowledge the stories you’re creating about this client and her email. Acknowledge that you might be thinking this client is super disrespectful, rude, asking too much or being pushy.
Then, instead of letting yourself take hold of these shitty stories, take 👏 a 👏 step 👏 back and acknowledge what’s TRUE.
Like… maybe 5 PM is your *client’s* end of day. Maybe she’s not realizing your end of day is different because she’s a human who has a lot on her brain.
You could be super reactive and respond feeling upset that your client is interrupting your day like this. Or you could say, “Hey, sister friend! I am totally committed to getting this done by the end of the day. My end of the day is 8 PM since I work a little bit after my kids go to bed. I will be sure to get it to you by end of day as committed.”
Easy peasy, right?
This is TOTALLY different than responding from ego or frustration and will COMPLETELY change how you feel about your clients!
3. Take massive personal responsibility.
Y’all. We are human. We are going to make mistakes.
That’s not a problem. The problem creeps in when we let those mistakes impact our biz.
Here’s what I mean.
Let’s say you’ve made a mistake and your client calls you out on it. If you want to keep this client relationship and use this to PROPEL your business forward, then you HAVE to take massive personal responsibility and apologize.
And then? Then you have to say what you will do to make sure this does not happen again.
Sometimes as service-based business owners, we get really concerned with making mistakes. And that’s a good thing because we do want to serve our clients really well. But we have to also realize that we’re human and humans make mistakes. No one is perfect and your clients are NOT expecting you to be. (At least, they shouldn’t be and if they are then we’ve got another problem to talk about!)
Your clients don’t want you to never ever ever make a mistake, they just want you to own up to your mistakes by taking massive responsibility AND putting in place a system to make sure this same mistake doesn’t happen again.
Explain how you’ll fix this.
Say something like… “Ah, shit, you’re so right. That’s 100% on me and I totally see what I did. I’m so sorry. Here’s what I can do to make sure this never happens again.”
That’s how you make a mistake and let it move your biz forward. You let your client know they have the right person doing the right job because you’re willing to take massive responsibility for your work.
(P.S. Making a mistake is not a hindrance to your biz unless you DECIDE that making that mistake has to mean something. In other words, mistakes happen because you’re human. Mistakes are only a hindrance when you decide they mean something about YOU and your capacity for success. Learn from it, find the truth, and detach.)
4. Get clear on your boundaries, communicate those boundaries, and reaffirm when needed.
If you notice that you’re experiencing a lot of client drama OR a lot of resentment towards your clients, then listen up.
You gotta get clear on your BOUNDARIES and you gotta do it now.
Then, when your clients push those boundaries (because they’re humans and that’s what humans do) then you need to reaffirm those boundaries.
There are three places I most notice that VAs, OBMs and SMMs need to create boundaries in their biz: office hours, response time and turnaround time.
You need to get clear on when you’re working, how quickly you are available to respond to communication from your clients, and how quickly you can get work back to your clients.
Personally, I don’t recommend you respond to clients more than twice a day. I also don’t recommend you do tasks right away. Instead, I recommend having a queue of tasks and a turnaround time of around 24 to 48 hours.
It doesn’t matter what you do specifically but it does matter that you are clear on your boundaries, willing to communicate those boundaries so your clients know what to expect, and available to reaffirm those boundaries when needed.
That’s how you make sure bad days, miscommunication, shit hitting the fan or mistakes in your biz don’t affect your long-term business goals.
That’s how you make sure each and every event in your business is something that moves you forward rather than holding you back!
Sara Wiles is an Online Business Mentor for done-for-you service providers. She helps Virtual Assistants, Online Business Managers and Social Media Managers go from frazzled to focused, stark to sold out and bewildered to balanced.
Through her unique, personal mentoring style she supports her clients through confidence building, clarity gaining, mindset managing and massive action taking.
She spent 8 years traveling the US producing high-end corporate (and a few celebrity) events before becoming an entrepreneur. After just 4 weeks of starting her business, she filled her roster, replaced her 9-5 income and brought on a team. Sara is also a wife, mama, dog mama, exercise enthusiast, champagne connoisseur and four-letter word addict.
Click here to book a free call to talk more about your business goals and to see if mentoring would be a fit to help you achieve those dreams.