Updated: May 12, 2022
In every industry, we deal with different types of people, different levels of personalities, and different flows of characters. So it’s not a stretch to say we will most likely deal with difficult people at least once in our career. In being a virtual assistant, there’s a chance you’ll come across the notorious difficult client.
Difficult clients come in different forms.
No offense to everyone named Karen! So we all know these types of people: the ones who turn up their noses and ask for a manager. Chances are they feel that they are not being treated according to their right, so they ask for higher authority.
Here are a few ways you can manage the Karens:
You need to remember is that they’re all people, with feelings and emotions. Their outburst or general attitude may be an emotional reaction to something that we don’t know about.
The best way to approach them is by treating them fairly and explaining difficult situations to them in a positive way. Even if something goes wrong, let them know it’s under control and you’ll be able to take care of it right away.
The ones that make you cringe when you see their name pop up on your notifications
These are the ones that drain your energy, criticize everything you do and put out, and sometimes, they are very slow to pay. They definitely take a toll on your energy and sanity.
Here’s how to deal with this kind:
Be very specific. Sometimes they go on about how “things are not working” or “this is not good” and all those generic statements. But the thing is, you never really know WHAT is “not working” for them. So ask them for measurements, for specific details. If they say, “this is not working” ask them, “which part is not working?” Then propose solutions to solve the problem. Ask them point-blank, “if I do this, would it solve your problem?”
Choose your words carefully. Clients like these can be very sensitive to anything. It’s important to choose your words with care to not offend them and risk any more stress on your part.
The unreasonable ones who often give out offensive remarks
Let’s face it, there are people like this: the worst of the difficult ones. They’re sometimes offensive and criticize everything you provide them even when they’re good ones. They’re just insatiable.
Here’s how to deal with this type:
Insert ‘from my limited experience’ after every offensive statement they make. Say they tell you that, “virtual assistants for online coaches are very bad at their job.” You’d be very offended, but if you add “from my limited experience” it doesn’t sound as bad as it does. It gives you the perspective that they may have had a bad experience from a previous VA which is why they’re acting like that. Keep this in mind and do your best to change the way they see how you do your work.
When faced with difficult clients and difficult situations, the best advice we can give is to keep a clear head and not give in to outbursts of emotions. Virtual assistant work is a team effort for both you and your client. Some circumstances may be out of our reach so the best thing we can do is control our reaction and try to come up with a quick solution.