VA Tip: What to Do When Your Client is Being Difficult

 In VA Work Tips and Best Practices

Work-at-home jobs are becoming one of the most sought after jobs these days because of their many benefits. There is one thing that you must know though. There will be times when you’ll have to suck it up when you get a difficult client.

The reality is, you do not choose your client; they choose you. The perk of being able to choose a client will only happen when you’ve become a seasoned professional with an impressive network. That’s the time wherein you will be able to decline offers because you’re already established and in demand. However, if you are just starting out then you have to be willing to roll with the punches. Here’s a guide to help you cope when you get a difficult client:

Scenario 1: You are given unrealistic deadlines.

One of the complaints that you might hear often from other virtual assistants has to do with the unrealistic deadlines given to them by their clients. This usually happens because the client does not have a clear picture of the process that a task entails. To manage their expectations, calmly explain to them why the deadline is impossible to meet, and show them the steps required to finish a task. Set a meeting and give them a visual of how you do your work and the time required. This will help them see your point.

Scenario 2: Your client does not give clear directions.

Yes, this happens quite a lot. You must realize that not all people are excellent communicators. Vague, even cryptic, instructions given by a client can send a virtual assistant into a state of confusion and frustration. The best way to solve this is by talking to your client and asking them what they mean — plain and simple. There is nothing wrong with asking for a clarification. Do not be afraid to appear ignorant because the last thing you want is to redo a task simply because it isn’t what your client asked for in the first place.

Scenario 3: Your client wants to know about your personal life.

If you have a nosy client who wants to know more about your personal life, fret not. Sometimes, it’s just their way of being friendly. Entertain questions that aren’t too intrusive. If you feel uncomfortable with certain questions then explain nicely that you are a private person who wants to keep things professional. For more serious concerns, let your HR department know right away.

Scenario 4: Your client nitpicks.

There are people who are perfectionists, and your client might be one of those who always has something negative to say about your work. The key here is to not take things personally. Be open to constructive criticism. If you feel that some comments are excessive and unnecessary, then just train yourself to not take them to heart.  

Scenario 5: Your client berates you.

It is expected that your client can get upset, but if foul and abusive language is being used, do not hesitate to inform your team leader and HR department. This is non-negotiable, and you must never tolerate this kind of behavior from your client. Respect must always be practiced in a professional setup like the VA industry. Never settle for anything less.

Coping with difficult clients is part of being a virtual assistant. Take these experiences as learning curves that will help you mature and grow not only at work but also in terms of handling difficult people that you meet from all walks of life. The key is to have an open mind and to not take things personally. More often than not, these difficult clients have their own crosses to bear because of the stress that they might be experiencing in their business. Learn to be empathetic because your understanding and acceptance will also help you not to take their actions to heart.


Next: Empathy: Why it’s an Essential VA Skill


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