The customer as unknown entity

Filed by team twago on April 8, 2010

Conflicts: there to be solved

As a freelancer one enjoys lots of advantages. One of them being the fact that one may select  business partners at one’s liberty. It is feasible without any problem whatsoever to reject a co-operation enquiry and to refuse to work together with a particular customer. This sounds rather simple, however it is not possible without limits.

As far as the selection of customers or partners is concerned, the majority of freelancers cannot act without constraints. After all: without customers no assignments and thus no turnover. Often several years pass by before a freelancer has so many offers that he can and must select from the abundance. Beforehand, one must build up an extensive basis of contacts and gain a reputation. Since lots of freelancers don’t always have the luxury of selection, they sometimes have to deal with “difficult” customers.

Exerting pressure

Often projects entail narrow deadlines. If the customer has internal pressure and tries to outsource this to his co-operation partner, one should not be pressurized. As a freelancer you should try to accomodate your customer as best as possible, but watch out for your own dates, too. On all accounts, don’t get pushed too far, but show the limits in due time to prevent anybody from being disappointed since dates were not kept or the quality does not live up to expectation. Thus it is important to get a timely and comprehensive briefing. Negotiate realistic deadlines and keep them – this creates trust.

Rage thunder

It is advisable to stay calm with short-tempered customers. Best advice: First of all, let him/her calm down, but listen very closely. Oftentimes you can detect important information in a tirade, to which you can refer later on. Emitting sparks in between is mostly counterproductive, since you might be hit by a wave of emotional rage. This rather harms the business relationship. Preferably stay calm for the time being.

A clear heard

You should analyse: What is it that actually makes the person so difficult? Once you realize what renders the situation that unpleasant, the solution is mostly in sight already. Continue to identify important points or statements of the other person to which you can relate later on. If there are common interests where the views don’t differ that much, use this as a good basis for entering into an objective discussion. This also brings you to the point to reflect how the situation could be changed for the better, so topics can be reviewed in a professional way.

It is important to clarify your own standpoint without insisting on it in an obnoxious way cause then you are no better than the other. Last but not least, you should have the option to pull an emergency brake. This may be situated in a restart of the talks, in postponing the issue or may function in another way. If the customer does not change or the tension continues to  remain, you should consider whether the entire business relationship is too loaded. This being the case it should be addressed and – if need be – consequences be drawn. None of both parties profits if the business relationship is counterproductive.

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team twago brings you the best news about working online as a freelancer and finding the right freelancer for your projects. You can find tips, tricks and guidelines for using the twago freelance platform, plus much more. Team twago is made up of native speakers from several countries.

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