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Difficult Client

Posted by TXJenny z8 TX (My Page) on
Sat, Sep 24, 05 at 12:07

At what point do you decide to cut a client off? And how do you do it? I recently finished a design/install job for a woman who is known to enjoy a few too many cocktails--I did a great job for her, and am proud of what I gave her. Yet she calls once a week to complain about things i would have to be God himself to be able to address--when she's intoxicated she's fairly mean and when she's sober she's unreasonable.

I really have no desire to work with her further; I don't need the money that badly, and i certainly don't need the energy drain. Have any of you dealt with clients like this? BYW, she's paid in full and all the checks cleared, so I have nothing hanging over my head, thank God!!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Difficult Client

Perhaps you should have a few stiff drinks yourself ??

If you are relly all squared up I see know reason you must return .. except ofcourse to make more money .. my father .. when he had his business .. used to attract clients like these by the dozen .. he made a business of dealing with the "impossibles" .. he became a diplomat of sorts.

Good Day ...


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RE: Difficult Client

  • Posted by Ron_B USDA 8 WA (My Page) on
    Sun, Sep 25, 05 at 2:11

Don't call her back.


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RE: Difficult Client

  • Posted by ilima Kihei, HI. Z11 (My Page) on
    Sun, Sep 25, 05 at 4:41

I had a client who was impossible. She was never satisfied. When I had enough I wrote and sent a very short letter, three sentences, that said I was busy, pursuing other interests, could not work for her anymore and please enjoy the wonderful garden.

Never heard from them again until they called and asked to put a plumber on the line who was looking for a leak somewhere on the property and wanted to know how to shut down the irrigation system.

She died a short while later, he remarried and brought the new wife to the house. New wife came to my nursery one day with her garden consultant from Oregon. New wife was a carbon copy fussy unsatisfiable personality like the first, just younger and with fresh plastic parts.

I had agreed to do a consult with her before I fully realized who she was. Should have been a clue when she has a garden consultant with her and she is asking for another one. She called to cancel the next day, probably after cheap husband saw my card and I was like "Thankyou Lord". I had dodged a bullet.

ilima


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They can't handle the Truth !

I have found that it is always preferable to tell the client why you no longer want to work with them.

I've tried the nice politically correct ( as in lying thru my teeth like most politicians ) by saying that I just don't have the time or my brain tumor has reappeared and I'm down for the count at the moment or some other lame arse excuse ,, ya de ya de yada...

But I've wised up and now tell 'em like it is, minus the cocktail hour language.

If they are unreasonable, why not just tell them so ?
They deserve the truth.

Hey it worked for Jack Nicholson... er,,, well, maybe it didn't afterall.


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RE: Difficult Client

  • Posted by Ron_B USDA 8 WA (My Page) on
    Mon, Sep 26, 05 at 22:46

Well, you deserve the truth, anyway - as in letting go of the stress of trying to spare their feelings after they have trampled yours. Probably more likely to come off as a jerk trying to make it work (when it never will) than being on the level, blowing them off, too - one of those many little ironies.

In a somewhat related story, I could never make a hypercritical, outspoken hothead happy and finally yelled back at him one day. Shut him right up. Later found out he even indicated approval to a coworker! The connection: maybe some difficult clients might actually become more respectful and cooperative if you tell them they are a pain and therefore you are moving on, perhaps sometimes even eliminating the need to cut your losses and drop the project.


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RE: Difficult Client

  • Posted by Mikey SoCA-Z10-22/23 (My Page) on
    Tue, Sep 27, 05 at 12:56

Some people are users. I have a couple of neighbors that always complain about good work that has been done for them because they know they will get even more for their buck if they complain. Don't allow yourself to be used or abused. If you did good work, you did good work and your conscience is clear. As stated above, tell them the truth as to why you will no longer work with them.


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RE: Difficult Client

In the same situation earlier this year, I sent the client a note that said simply--'I no longer wish to work in your garden.' Simple to the point--let's the client know it's your choice. No word since--thank heavens.


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RE: Difficult Client

I've had two conversations with her in the last week, and at one point I had to ask her not to speak to me the way she was (very disdainful and condescending...and she was sober), and she let up. She called today and left a voice mail while I was with another client--I listened to the whole 4 minute-long message waiting for the other shoe to drop....and it didn't! I was astounded. She said she loved the "enchanting garden" I designed for her and was so happy with it, she was sorry for any stress she caused me, good luck in future endeavors, LOVE YOU, 'bye! bottom line: I'm still not going to do any more work for her, but I'm going to send her a note like I do every other client to tell her I'm very happy she's enjoying her garden. It's about as close as you can get to a happy ending when dealing with people like this. thanks for weighing in, everyone!


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RE: Difficult Client

It's my belief that most of the difficult clients are "bullies" and bullies always back down when confronted.


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RE: Difficult Client

I still think that there should be a National Do not Work For These People list.

1-800-These -People- Suck.


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RE: Difficult Client

I always do an estimate for any job, even for repeat clients, unless they are one of a few I get along with fabulously. If someone starts to piss you off, up the price. It's so tactful and if they do say yes then you're in the money. Dealing with fussy personalities is a service, especially those who want the design for free before they decide to pay for it, as if I'm independantly wealthy. There is no free lunch, but we can't tell our clients that.


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