How to Deal with Client Conflict

Though conflict with a client is the last thing that you would want, it still pays to know how to handle it in case it happens. Here’s how you can do so professionally and effectively.

1. Keep calm and communicate

A client told you to create a corporate AVP for their company and you were only tasked to do basic cut-to-cut editing based on their script, footage, and musical scoring. However, after viewing your output, they decided to revise the entire thing and want you to incorporate graphics and animation to the video. It was fine for you until they said that they weren't willing to pay for the added services.

Obviously, that sounds ridiculous to you, but that doesn’t mean that you can just snap and say, “Hey, these things don’t come cheap, and definitely not free.” Instead, calmly tell them why they need to pay extra for your additional time and effort. Explain the process of creating motion graphics and point out that it wasn’t in your initial agreement that you will do animation for their video.

You need to listen to what your client has to say. Even if you don’t agree with them, you also need to understand their point. Hear them out and try to understand where they’re coming from. Doing so is one way of saying that you care about them and that all you want is to provide the best quality of service. More so, this will help you assess the situation and come up with better solutions.

If you remain calm, it will be easier to get your point across. Plus, you’re showing that you’re professional enough not to let your emotions get in the way.

2. Admit it when you’ve done something wrong

Putting your feelings and personal biases aside, step back and think if you’ve done something wrong that caused any problems while the project is going on. If you realize that you committed a mistake, own up to it and let your clients know. An apology can pave the way for the right solution and a better relationship with your client.

Meanwhile, don’t apologize just to appease your client. Never own up to something that you never did in the first place.

3. Focus on the outcome

It all boils down to finding a solution – not to prove that one party is right and the other is wrong. This mindset will allow you to be more focused on finding ways to make the situation better and not on getting your point across and discrediting everything that the other party has to say.

Remember that they hired you to produce output that matches their requirement. So don’t lose sight of that even if you’re in the middle of sorting out a conflict. At the end of the day, what you and your client should be concerned about is the success of the project.

After assessing the situation with your client, you need to agree on a course of action. Whether you decide to move on or continue working together, make sure that you resolve it professionally.

Whether you like it or not, conflict can happen between you and a client. When it happens, apply these three tips and you can work through the situation more effectively. 

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