Fear No Project Blog – Focusing on the Management Side of Projects

Dealing with Angry Clients

Recently, while sharing a quiet dinner at a nice restaurant (in lovely Regina Canada), I could not help but overhear the conversation at the next table. The patron was angry and demanding that the cook re-do the meat because it was not to his liking. I paid attention to this because the customer had already returned his wine as, “inferior” and the atmosphere around that table was toxic.

Now, this person may have just been a jerk or perhaps he had a very, very bad day. However, not all anger is unjustified. People get angry for reasons. Sometimes those people are clients and sometimes they are right.

To be honest, whether the client’s anger is justified is not really the issue. The situation is the issue. You, the project manager or program manager have to deal with it. By “deal with it,” I mean you need to diffuse the situation and move forward. Angry clients or employees often do not keep their disappointment or anger to themselves. They tell friends, co-workers and even competitors.

Reasons Clients Become Angry

Reasons Staff Become Angry

Dealing with Anger

Best Practices

Resources:
Seth Godin: How to Deal with an Angry Customer
http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2006/09/how_to_deal_wit.html

Steven Flannes, Ph.D.: Working Effectively with the Angry, Critical Client: Real World Solutions to Help You Get the Job Done
http://www2.sas.com/proceedings/sugi30/107-30.pdf

Bloomberg Business Week: Dealing with Angry Customers
http://www.businessweek.com/smallbiz/content/jun2007/sb20070620_974061.htm