Constant communication and clear goal setting should mitigate many issues that could arise in working with clients on certain projects. These measures ensure that your team and the client’s are working to accomplish the same objectives under the same timeline. Despite these, however, client conflicts still occur.
In fact, disagreements are difficult to avoid completely. These can happen due to both parties having a different idea of how to achieve milestones. Sometimes, issues come up because of variations on doing certain tasks, which leaves room for mistakes and misaligned schedules.
Businesses that deal with various clients should understand the basic principles of client conflict management to avoid larger problems. When disputes turn into bigger concerns, it is best to approach companies that can provide legal advice on your matter. For instance, you can pay a visit to duxtonhill.net and similar sites to see if their expertise applies to your situation.
Keys to Good Client Conflict Management
A goal that any organization has in managing conflicts is to make sure that it maintains a good relationship with the client through it. Here are some ways to assess how best to respond to your situation.
1. Determine if the issue needs to be addressed
Yes, there are instances where the conflict may not even be a conflict at all. Before addressing something with your client, assess if the problem can be solved with your team internally or if you need to call their attention to it. This helps you weigh the urgency of the problem against its impact on your relationship with your client.
Remember that confrontation tends to make people uncomfortable, including your clients. If you have deemed it necessary to bring up issues with the client, have a game plan for how to maintain your relationship with them, too.
2. Review the facts and prepare to present them properly
When a client is unreasonable, it is easy to let your emotions get the best of you when responding to them. However, this can lead you to stray from the issue when speaking with the other party.
Before bringing anything up to the client, make sure you have examined all the facts. Take a look at what happened, who was involved, when it happened, what caused it, and what the consequences were. This lets you keep a level head when explaining.
Since many business meetings are conducted remotely now, due to COVID-19, you have to be extra mindful of your facial expressions and body language when discussing over a conference call. Be careful of the language you use, your tone, and how you address people while clarifying your team’s side.
3. Open the floor to everyone
You want to allow members of the other party to explain themselves, too. Since conflicts usually arise from miscommunication, the goal is to leave no room for it in your conversation. This means allowing everyone concerned to say their piece to make sure the client has fully expressed their take on the problem.
Your first objective in the meeting is to reassure the client that their concerns are heard and valued. Acknowledge the points that they have mentioned and ask further questions for clarification, if necessary.
Only when you are certain that everyone has explained themselves should you respond. This is a show of humility on your end, which can help you make your case.
4. Stay focused on your bigger goals
Laying issues on the table for a discussion can distract either side from what you seek to accomplish with your projects. You must go back to your primary goal after both sides have clarified their concerns.
If a mistake on your end holds you back from your deadlines, the best response is to own up to your shortcomings, apologize, and then bring the focus back to what you are seeking to accomplish. This lets your team re-assert its credibility despite the missteps. But take this as a pivotal opportunity to prove your competence to the client.
Put Yourself in the Shoes of Your Client (and Your Team)
No matter whose mistake the conflict began from, do not get fixated on how your team was affected by it. Also, think about the issue from your client’s perspective, and consider how they have also been adversely affected by the situation.
Remember, however, that this does not mean disregarding the treatment of your employees. Be a leader who empathizes with your clients and employees without putting any party at an unfair disadvantage. Your diplomacy can mean maintaining a trusting relationship with everyone involved.