You’re ready to throw your hands up in the air and call it a day … we’ve all been there. Whether it be a client, a customer, a vendor, or a colleague, it’s hard to ignore frustrations that occur in your business.
But how professional is it to show those frustrations? Is there a time and a place? Can they be productive?
I think so.
Let’s look at a few situations and determine how frustrations can be handled effectively.
Clients and Customers
Sometimes, the mantra “the customer’s always right” just doesn’t work. Why? Because when you’re the business owner, you’ve got to learn how to set boundaries in order to keep your sanity. Some clients will walk all over you if you let them. They’ll take advantage of deadlines and extra perks or they might even know how to push your buttons to get what they want. You've probably dealt with one of these customers – everyone has.
So, how do you handle them when they’ve frustrated you so much you aren’t sure the money they bring you is worth it? Obviously, in this case, you don’t want to show your frustration – you might lose referrals or they might start bad mouthing your business. So, channel that frustration into determination. Set boundaries, and then spell them out for your client. Start putting your foot down when they press for extras or push your buttons. And, if it gets to be too much, you can always ‘fire’ the client. Yes, really. This customer/client is probably taking up more time and energy than 2 or 3 good ones would, and they probably aren’t worth the stress anyhow.
Who doesn’t hate to wait on the phone for a vendor that seems to think you have all the time in the world? Dealing with vendors can be one of the most frustrating aspects in a business. Whether it’s hidden fees, outrageous shipping or return policies, delays, problems with merchandise, or some other reason they’re frustrating you, this is one time when frustration in business can actually help you.
You see, no one wants to lose your business. Now, I’m not saying you should go in guns blazing, but a little hint of frustration or a threat of finding another vendor to meet your needs can often speed things along or resolve a situation a bit in your favor. Of course, be sure to use this sparingly – you don’t want a reputation as a witchy businessperson, nor do you want to end up in the category above from their perspective!
These aren’t just your co-workers, they’re your virtual colleagues too – the ones you chat with on Twitter and collaborate with on blogs. You might not be working directly with them, but you come in contact with them often. So, what happens when one of them gets under your skin? Maybe they tweeted something offensive about you, talked behind your back, stole an idea, or ruined a sale. Trust me, it happens. While most colleagues out there you’ll come across are great people, there are the few bad apples that will want a piece of your pie. Handling them carefully is the key. Since they’ve obviously already proven to be potentially damaging, you don’t want to outright show your frustration.
And don’t – I repeat – don’t go off on a Twitter or other social media rampage. That’s bound to make things worse and you’ll look like the bad guy. First, see if the relationship can be restored. Try talking with them about your frustrations and seeing if there was just a simple misunderstanding or if you can come to some sort of resolution. If that fails, then start cutting ties. You don’t want the negativity associated with them following you around – it’ll just make you more frustrated. Monitor their social media accounts every once in awhile to make sure that they aren’t continuing the bad behavior. I personally don’t talk about others in business behind their back to my other business friends, but I do believe it is okay to let a few of your closest colleagues know what’s up so they can be on the lookout for any issues too.
Have you encountered any frustrating situations in business? If so, how did you handle them and what did you?
Angela Bickford – Angela has been called a Jill-of-all-trades and a communications specialist. She has a home business, always B designs, where she sells custom stationery and gifts; has created Simply Cy-Fair, a resource website for her local community; is the Local Director for a new women’s ministry called LeadHer; and does various freelancing projects in her spare time. She lives in Texas with her family. You can also find her on Facebook & Twitter!