How to Deal with Angry Clients

As much as you might wish that each of your clients could be happy with you one hundred percent of the time, you know that’s not the way it works.

No matter what the industry, everyone has to deal with angry clients. Sometimes a client’s anger is justified, but other times the reason is downright ridiculous.

When it comes to being an NCCPT trainer, you might not have to deal with angry clients as often as people working in other industries, but when you do it seems like their reasons for being upset are mostly out of your control.

“I’m not seeing the results you promised!”

“You’re charging me too much!”

“You don’t ever listen to me!”

And the list goes on. A lot of these types of issues ultimately lie with the client. Perhaps they’re struggling to follow the diet you’ve recommended or maybe they don’t cancel their sessions with enough notice to avoid paying fees and feel it’s unfair. You do what you can, but no matter what, the blame and frustration falls back on you.

If you’re faced with an angry client, especially on the phone or in person, it can be difficult to diffuse the situation. You might think you’re being sympathetic, but the more effort you make, the more angry your client becomes.

Is there anything you can do? While some clients will be bent on making you as frustrated as they are, here are some tips you can use to help you better diffuse anger and satisfactorily resolve situations with your clients.

  • Assume that your client has a right to be upset. Pride can easily get in the way of admitting a mistake was made. It’s especially easy to let pride take over if there wasn’t any mistake made at all. Even if the client’s problem is solely their own fault, allow them to be upset and hear them out.
  • Listen. Really Listen. It’s easy to go on the defense the moment someone starts getting frustrated at you. It’s totally natural. If you let yourself react this way, though, you won’t really be listening to what they’re saying. You’ll hear it, but you’ll be too busy thinking of your rebuttal to internalize what your client is trying to tell you. Let your guard down and hear what they have to say.
  • Connect with your client on a personal level. When talking with your client about their situation and concerns, use their name. Try to connect with them on a personal level. It will help them feel like you’re actually listening and care about them and the outcome of the situation. Avoid using accusing statements like, “You did…” or “But you…” etc.
  • Show empathy. Think of a time when you were in a situation where you felt similarly to how your client seems to feel. Recall how the situation was handled. What do you wish had been handled better? What do you feel was done right? If you can relate to what they’re feeling, it can help you feel less combative and more cooperative.
  • Don’t take it personally. It can be extremely difficult to let things roll off the shoulder and not take them personally. Especially when you are your business. Do your best to let things go and remember that most of the time the “attack” on you. It may seem that way and be directed at you, but the underlying frustration probably isn’t you yourself.
  • Follow up. If you weren’t able to immediately solve the problem, follow up with your client. If you committed to completing “homework”, give your client a status update. Let them know that you haven’t forgotten and that because it’s important to them, it’s important to you.

Although you won’t have completely happy clients one hundred percent of the time, using the above techniques can help you develop better relationships and have more meaningful client relationships.