How to Collaborate with Different Types of Clients

Oct 3, 2017


min read

In today's business world, having the ability to recognize the client's character and knowing the right technique to approach them is, to say the least, a true blessing.

The digital craze that has been taking over the world has had a tremendous impact on everyday communication. Online office space has limited personal interaction and disabled us to dig deeper into our client's character, to gauge their mood and the value they bring to collaboration.

Despite the ever-increasing lack of face-to-face communication, we still have to find a way to recognize the type of the client we are working with as it will help us deliver positive results and create a long-lasting relationship with our clients.

woman sitting in front of a computer.

Everybody who is a part of the world of marketing knows that good client communication is a prerequisite for marketing success. They are also aware that there are numerous types of clients they have to handle on a daily basis and turn them into loyal followers.

The team that changes their approach to meet customers' needs regardless of how high their expectations are is the team that gets good customer service results.

From the ones who think they know everything to the ones who think they can micro-manage everything, there are clients of all shapes and sizes you have to deal with if you want to be awarded for your marketing efforts.

Here are the most common types of customers you can meet when running your marketing campaigns.

The know-it-all client

Even if you and your team have extensive knowledge, remarkable experience, and fantastic skills to make the most of your marketing campaign, there are always clients who for some reason, think they are knowledgeable enough to handle it themselves. Whether or not they're familiar with the subject matter, they will insist on giving you suggestions and advice.

This type of client may be the most difficult of them all as he not only distracts your attention and prevents you from focusing on the real work, but also presents the ideas that don’t seem to work and are therefore meaningless.

As much as this type of collaboration may seem frustrating, don’t step out of the game, accept the challenge and show your customer that you truly care about his opinion and attitude.

Although this type of clients can be pretty argumentative, try not to get into conflicts with them and direct your energy into winning their trust. Once you achieve that, you will be able to manage communication seamlessly and be rewarded in no time.

The ideal client

As unbelievable as it may seem, there are clients who appreciate your efforts every step of the way and where client collaboration is a delightful experience.

This ideal customer is like a Holy Grail - difficult to find and almost impossible to reach. Ideal customers will immediately give you full support, encourage you to make the right moves and will not question your competence to successfully complete your job.

woman and men in a coffee shop

They don’t mind investing more money into the project if they know it will yield better results. They are excellent communicators and will be all ears when there are some new inspiring ideas and thoughts you would like to share with them.

When working with this type of a client, you need to be aware of the tremendous value they bring to your business, nurture your relationship with them by giving them special offers and other perks and concentrate on turning them into long-term collaborators.

The big saver

This type of a client has the tendency to criticize your work but not because he really thinks that you haven’t shown your maximum potential, but because they want to undermine your confidence and make you eventually lower the price.

While the big saver will not pick on small details and will not complain about everything on the way, but they will subtly abuse people to get what they want.

When trying to tackle this type of client, it’s important that you try to hit the right balance. You need to show them that you respect their requests, appreciate their precision and assertiveness and make necessary changes if they don’t heavily disagree with the project.

However, if you recognize that they are being manipulative and cheap, you need to state that you do not accept such a behavior.

A new client

Once you've attracted a new customer, you need to do everything in your power to keep them and turn them into a loyal customer. A new customer is still not quite familiar with the services you are offering and is probably just learning the ropes of digital marketing.

To make them want to become a part of your customer base, you need to be there for them in case some issues arise or if there are questions they needs answers to. You don’t want to keep them waiting and leave them in the dark about the outcome of your marketing efforts.

man sitting in front of a wall

You need to guide them and show them how processes work and what important steps you need to take to reach a positive outcome.

Allocate some time for your customers, make sure they get the necessary information and that they are equipped with the right knowledge that will help them understand your processes perfectly.

You can do this during the on-boarding process or by having an online customer service available in real time.

A micro manager

The micro manager is probably the most demanding and the most difficult client to work with. Needless to say, nobody likes being constantly under the watchful eye of their clients.

This kind of behavior is intrusive, annoying and detrimental to your creative process. The micro manager is the kind of client who wants to micro-manage every single detail and keep ultimate control of the project by constantly asking questions and offering suggestions.

This can have an adverse impact on your team’s productivity, jeopardize the entire project and even lead to a project failure.

The most efficient way to handle this type of clients is to communicate, communicate and over-communicate. Offer them insights into every stage of your campaign structure and be there to reassure them that everything is going according to the plan.

While working with clients who are control freaks may be exhausting and overly irritating, you need to calm yourself and do your best to leverage the communication between two of you.

The under-value client

Whether it’s because they haven’t done any research about your business or because that is simply in their nature, under-value clients tend to underestimate your skills and undervalue most of your efforts.

They think that most tasks don’t require much time and other resources and usually ask questions like: It couldn’t be that hard, could it? Do you think you could finish it in an hour or two?

man writing

In such a scenario, you need to show self-confidence, keep your head up high and demand respect from your clients. Before diving deeper into your project, you need to explain how the process works, outlining the time and other resources necessary for the successful completion of every project phase.

Bullet-proof yourself from unreasonable expectations, show your client that you stand your ground firmly and that you have faith not only in the project you're working on, but also your future collaboration.

The indecisive client

These are the clients who find it difficult to make up their mind whether a small thing or a big issue is in question. Also, they tend to give short answers like “maybe” and “I don’t know” or change their mind at the last moment.

There are hundreds of questions swarming in their head and they are struggling to find the right solution and answers to the questions that bother them.

In order to help them make the right decision, you need to be able to educate them on why your service is the best and guide them through the processes. Once they have made up their mind, support their decisions a few more times, tell them they are in the right hands and make them trust your instinct.

Due to the heavy workload and multiple project and deadlines you and your team need to juggle on daily basis, it’s sometimes challenging and even impossible to complete all your processes within a specific budget and timeline.

This can give you a hard time, especially if you're working with clients who want their projects to be done fast. They want you to exceed their expectations, deliver outstanding results and be efficient at the same time.

Working with such clients can be an overwhelming experience, as it puts you under a lot of pressure and sometimes causes burnout. Don’t shy away from setting clear boundaries. Be realistic about your abilities and the time you need to successfully complete the project.

Overall, no matter how high your client’s expectations are, it’s of key importance to promote a culture of open and transparent communication.

This is the only way to build trust and healthy relationships with your clients - which you will undoubtedly benefit from on your future endeavors.

Note: The opinions expressed in this article are the views of the author, and not necessarily the views of Caphyon, its staff, or its partners.

Article by

Rachel McPherson

Rachel is currently working as the vice president of communications at ActiveCollab. After finishing her master's degree in Communications she pursued a career in the digital industry, most notably in marketing and public relations.

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