- Tips & Tricks
How to Deal With Difficult Accounting Clients?
In the accounting industry, you will inevitably come across difficult clients. While some may be challenging to work with, it is vital to maintain a positive attitude and work through the issues.
Here are tips for dealing with difficult accounting clients:
Communicate openly and effectively
One of the most important things you can do when working with bad clients is to communicate openly and effectively. This means making sure that all parties are on the same page and understand what is expected. If there are any issues or concerns, address them as soon as possible.
When working with bad clients, it is important to stay organized. This means keeping track of all deadlines, tasks, and communications. By staying organized, you can avoid missing tight deadlines or forgetting to follow up on tasks. This will help you, the business owner, forge a good client relationship.
Don’t let your customers define your business
As a business owner, it is important to remember that you are in control. While listening to your customers and taking their feedback into account is important, you should not let them dictate how your business operates. If you do, you may find yourself in a difficult situation down the road. As a service business, define your own business and what you can and cannot do.
Evaluate your customer needs
As a service provider, you want to form a strong working relationship with your customers. The customer’s needs should always be your top priority. When evaluating a customer’s needs, it is important to consider what they are trying to achieve and how you can help them. This will help you determine whether or not the relationship is worth pursuing. It also ensures that what the clients pay is worth the effort.
Know when to walk away
There are some situations where it is simply not worth working with a difficult client. If the client is causing too many problems or is not worth the hassle, it may be time to walk away. While this can be difficult, it is important to remember that your time and resources are valuable. The trick is knowing when you are dealing with a bad client and discerning the emotional signals and calling it quits.
Predefine your processes
From documents flow to rules of engagement, predefining processes is an excellent way to avoid misunderstandings and stressful situations. When both sides know what to expect, it is easier to work together and resolve any issues. This saves your business from having to deal with unhappy customers.
Avoid tailor-made solutions
Tailor-made solutions may seem like a good idea at the moment, but they can often lead to more problems down the road. If you try to please every client by doing things their way, you will quickly become overwhelmed and stressed out. Instead, try to stick to your guns and predefined processes as much as possible. This way, bad clients will not have a room in your business.
Adjust everybody into one funnel
Every client is different, but that doesn’t mean you have to treat them differently. By adjusting everybody into one funnel, you can make your life easier and avoid difficult situations with bad clients. This means having the same processes and expectations for all clients, regardless of their individual needs.
Keep personal relationships away from the business and handle every client equally. Remember, a bad client is not worth the stress, you are better off looking for more clients.
When working with difficult clients, it is important to set boundaries. This means establishing what you are and are not willing to do. By setting boundaries, you can avoid taking on too much work or getting into a situation where you are not comfortable. Set boundaries on your pricing structure and if someone wants special treatment and you deem it unnecessary, cut the cord. There are many good clients out there and the client can find other service providers.
Keep your promises
Realistic promises are the key to a successful business relationship. When working with difficult clients, it is important to make sure that you deliver on your promises. If you cannot, it is better not to make any promises at all.
In order to build trust, it is important to be transparent with your clients. This means being honest about your capabilities and what you can and cannot do. It also means being open and honest about any issues that may arise. If a client feels you are not doing enough, you can show them the whole process for their peace of mind. Transparency will always earn you the respect of clients.
Use smart tools
Smart tools will help you stay organized and on top of your game. Using smart tools can avoid missing any important deadlines or forgetting to follow up on tasks. Some great tools to use are Envoice, a smart capture software that helps with data entry. The tool helps cut down the time needed to work with a particular client, which is vital in minimizing disagreements.
Define concrete communication channels and contact persons
Since we all know communication is vital, define the channels you’ll use to communicate and the specific contact persons. That way, you know who’s responsible for what and can avoid any misunderstandings.
Have an email template that can be used with every client. This way, you will cut responses time by a mile.
Bad clients tend to be verbally abusive and show other warning signs like blame games. If it comes to that, cut loose ends and fire the difficult customers right away.
Make sure your customers take relevant responsibility
Ensure that the client takes care of all relevant documents, past or present, to minimize the occurrence of discrepancies. On top of that, let the client approve and comment if appropriate, and define the channels for such comments.
Watch out for major red flags, especially during the onboarding process. If clients’ response time is wanting or they are avoiding responsibilities, you can let them go.
Make rules and agreements count from day one
From the first time you start working with a difficult client, make sure that all rules and agreements are followed to the letter. This means holding both yourself and the client accountable for everything that has been agreed upon. Doing this can avoid any misunderstandings or arguments down the road.
Take a step back
If things start to get too heated or overwhelming, it is important to take a step back and reevaluate the situation. This may mean taking a break from the client or ending the relationship altogether. By doing this, you can avoid any unnecessary drama and stress. Not every person or relationship is worth going the extra mile. Some, like those who pay less and expect more, will require you to take a step back.
[Related Post: Is Accounting Stressful?]
Choose appropriate accounting software
This cannot be stressed enough. Get accounting software that can easily be tailored to your specific needs and requirements. This will help you stay organized, on top of your work, and avoid misunderstandings with your clients. Software like Quickbooks Online and Xero are perfect for your accounting business.
Choose correct add-on tools
On top of having good accounting software, you also need to have the correct add-on tools. These tools will help you automate your workflows and avoid any mistakes. Some great add-on tools include Envoice, an expense management tool, PayrollHero, a time tracking and payroll tool, Scoro, a work management tool, Katana, a manufacturing and inventory tool, etc.
You can also go for other tools like Dropbox, OneDrive, Google Drive for document management; and Toggl for project management.
You can avoid any stressful confrontations or arguments with clients by having these tools.
Go for systems with an audit trail
To avoid the unnecessary blame game, get accounting software with an audit trail. This way, you can easily track any changes made to the system and know who is responsible for them. This will help you avoid any finger-pointing and accusations down the road.
Ensure data security
Ensure that your accounting software is secure and that all your data is backed up. This way, you can avoid any data loss or theft, leading to even more problems with your clients.
A system like Envoice comes with innovative encryption and data backups to ensure the safety of your data.
By being proactive, you can avoid many problems before they even start. This means staying on top of your work, being organized, and keeping your clients informed. You can build a good relationship with your clients and avoid any difficulties by doing this.
Train your team on how to deal with bad clients
If you have a team, make sure they are trained to deal with difficult clients. This will help them handle any situation that may arise and ensure that the customer is always treated with respect. Fire who prove to be difficult and can strain your personal relationship with your team members. Problem clients are not worth the money.
Listen to your clients
Although it may be difficult, it is important to listen to your clients. This means trying to understand their perspective and considering their needs.
By doing this, you can avoid any misunderstandings or conflicts.
When working with a new client, be assertive to get your point across in some cases. This means standing up for yourself and not backing down. You can maintain control of the situation and avoid any unwanted drama by doing this.
Last but not least, be flexible with your clients. This means being willing to make changes and accommodate their needs. By doing this, you can avoid any arguments or disagreements.
Don’t get us wrong, being flexible does not mean yielding to every client’s demand. You should still stand your ground and fight for what you want. But, being open to making some changes will show that you’re willing to work with them and not against them.
There you go, folks! You don’t have to stress about a difficult client anymore. Just follow these simple steps, and you’ll be able to handle them like a pro!