Dear Aunty B,
I have been in business for 10 years and never had any trouble with clients. But in the last few months, this pleasant group of reasonable people have turned into a lot of harpies.
One in particular has gone completely feral, picking over our contract, sending us a list of things we “haven’t done”, ringing at all hours and generally making my staff pull their hair out.
We have not changed a single thing about the way we deliver our services, so I am finding it hard to keep my staff being polite and reactive. Any tips?
Tell your staff to get used to it. The next two years are going to be full of grumpy clients and people harping over contracts as customers tighten their belts and look for better value for money.
What you have to do is sit your employees down and tell them that in case they haven’t noticed, the world has changed. Companies need to offer more, with guaranteed value. Service must be terrific. Contracts need to be made watertight. And staff are not to grumble.
Of course this does not mean they have to put up with abuse. But people are tense and anxious and this is spilling out into business dealings.
One thing, JL. Watch out. Your feral client is probably in a great deal of trouble if his behaviour has changed that much. Explain that to the staff so they might have more context for his behaviour. You have to remember; most of your young staff have no experience of troubled times, so try to help them understand what is happening.
Your Aunty B.