Event Ideas & Design

Perfect Ways to Deal with Difficult Clients in the Event Industry

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Event professionals work with many different types of clients. Often this is one of the best parts of the job. Clients can be delightful, perhaps even becoming a close friend or advocate for your business. Some clients aren’t memorable, devoid of any eventful experiences. Then there are the difficult clients in the event industry.

Difficult clients in the event industry are similar to tough clients in other industries but also have their own unique problems. A difficult client might monopolize your time. Others may demand outrageous services. Perhaps they are slow to pay or unable make decisions. Often times difficult clients in the event industry tend to create emergencies out of minor situations. In the worst case scenario, your difficult client is all of the above. No matter the type, they drain your energy and are hard to work with.


Types of Difficult Clients in the Event Industry

  • Everything is an Emergency Client –  These clients cause a panic about minor details. They also take up a lot of your time.
  • I’m Not Sure What I Want Client – This person may constantly change their mind and lack vision. These clients can also find decisions crippling.
  • Know-It-All Client – The know-it-alls believe they know exactly how to do your job and everything about events.
  • Constantly Changing Deadlines Client – This client tells you they have plenty of time before they need a quote but then decide they need it by tomorrow.
  • I Don’t Really Care Client – This very hands-off approach can be frustrating. It is hard to fulfill the client’s unspoken needs or expectations when all they tell you is they don’t care.
  • Complainer Client – This client knows how to find a problem with everything and nitpick. You may find they often don’t know what they want, but whatever you offer is not it!
  • How Much Extra Will This Cost Client – This client is definitely keeping their tight budget in mind. They will remind you of this throughout the working relationship



When dealing with difficult clients in the event industry it’s crucial to take proactive steps from the beginning to avoid catastrophic scenarios and remain in control. Below are suggestions on how to deal with those tricky clients and keep your partnership strong.



Communicate with the Right Words

Using effective words can be a game changer when dealing with difficult clients in the event industry.  When you have a tough client it might feel like a miracle is needed to improve the situation. Always use clear and concise communication when conversing with them. Also be mindful of your words. Try to be empathetic and put try to put yourself in their shoes, it will go a long way.


Use Measurables

Generalizations are not useful in productive conversation. When working with difficult clients in the event industry it is important to always use specific and measurable statements. A client may say, “my event never runs smoothly!” when they are frustrated. Ask them for specific details as to why they said that. If you listen to their problems and what went wrong in the past you will be able to find solutions to help them with future events. Always offer concise and measurable ways you can solve their problems.


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Let Them Vent and LISTEN

You must let your angry client vent. Let them explain their frustrations. Show empathy, nod, and make eye contact. If you are on the phone make an agreeing sound to let them know you hear what they are saying. Let them vent as long as they need, do not interrupt them. Don’t argue either, just stay quiet. When the customer is done venting only they can you speak. Repeat what they have concerns about and show empathy. If there are solutions you can offer tell them. If there is not a solution or you disagree explain why in a respectful way.

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Often times when you let a customer vent they will diffuse themselves! You will find they feel listened to and often are less angry after venting. Your client may also give you critical feedback. Maybe you have accidentally overpromised or painted a different picture in their mind than what they received. If you listen you might uncover problem you didn’t see within your business. This gives you an opportunity to fix the issue so it does not happen again.


Document Everything

Documentation is a powerful tool. It’s especially important when dealing with clients. Documentation can protect you in situations where allegations are made against you or a client fabricates conversations. If this ever happens you’ll be thankful you have taken the steps document. Document in writing discussions or agreements with clients. Always be sure to have clear email chains and contracts in place. This can ensure that key issues key are addressed and protect you in worse case scenarios.

Document in writing discussions or agreements with clients. Always be sure to have clear email chains and contracts in place. This can ensure that key issues key are addressed and protects you in worse case scenarios.



Establish a Goal

Setting goals is a necessary part of being productive. Always ask your client what they are trying to achieve at their event. It is important to repeat the goals discussed back to your client. Once your client confirms everything is understood, document the goals you have agreed upon. Use these goal(s) as a starting point for conversation and work being done moving forward.



Record Conversations, When Possible

When dealing with a tough client, it is important to make sure you are always on the same page. Every conversation should end with a clear direction towards your next steps. Ask your client if it’s okay to record phone calls and video conferences. This will allow both of you access to information discussed in case anything was missed or misunderstood.

More: Simple tips for Event Planners On Vendors Management

Set Clear Expectations and Stick with Them

Whenever expectations go unmet trust can be broken. This can be frustrating to both you and the client. Expectations, such as the job details should be made clear in a contract or agreement. But you must think about the gaps that are not discussed in the documentation. These gaps can be expectations for communication, timing, or more.

If it is unclear what an expectation is you need to ask your client what they expect! Does your client expect you answer the phone any time of night? How fast does your client expect you to respond to an email?

When creating these expectations, be realistic! This is especially important when dealing with deadlines. If your client is asking for something by the end of the day, but you are in constant meetings the rest of the afternoon don’t agree. Let your client know that it is unrealistic with your schedule to get the work done today. Give them a specific time that you will be able to have it delivered by instead.

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In conclusion, dealing with difficult clients is never easy. If you use these tips you will set yourself up for successful relationships lowering the chance of difficult clients. If you have your customers best interest at heart and really care you will rarely lose a customer. Remember, every client should always be handled with care. Your goal should be to establish long-term, successful relationships with your clients. Use these tips and circle back to them often when dealing with difficult clients in the event industry to have better client experiences!


Source: HelloEndless

Digital Art enthusiast, Digital Pr expert, and lighting design Consultant.