A client is a person to whom the service provider works or provides his service, for a fixed period or a certain project.
A service provider deals with many clients in the course of his business. And, there is always a possibility that one or a few of those clients may be abusive, but the service providers could not identify or distinguish them from the good customers.
Here are some tips on how to identify if a client is abusive:
1. He is disrespectful.
A client can be disrespectful in many ways. He may disrespect the service provider by questioning his or his personnel’s integrity. For example, when the service provider commits a small mistake, the client calls him names or makes snide remarks.
A client can also be disrespectful if he compares the service provider’s expertise to a person who is obviously not an expert. For example, when a customer compares a website created by the designer to the work of his six-year-old son. He is also disrespectful if he regularly makes it difficult for you to get paid for the job (e.g. being always late in payment, or paying you less than the agreed upon rate).
Another disrespectful client is one who treats the expert as his personnel. This happens when the customer insists on his ideas and expect the expert to work with it, despite the vulnerability or the impossibility of his ideas. It may also happen when the client consistently orders the service provider to do what the latter already knows, such as dipping the brush in the paint before painting the walls.
2. He is unreasonable.
When the client declines the services or the work rendered by the service provider without giving any reason, he may already be abusing the supplier.
It is definitely an abuse if he decided to change his preferences during the presentation or after the work was done and refuses to pay for the extra costs or services. For example, if you are a florist and the client suddenly decided to change the pink flowers into yellow flowers, but refuses to pay for the pink flowers, that is unreasonable.
A client also becomes unreasonable when he gives an impossible deadline, such as ordering a sculptor to finish ten life-size statues in two days.
Another red flag is when he tries to ask you to do tasks as a “favor” – that is, without intending to pay you or setting up a payment arrangement because he thinks that he has a right to ask you a work-related favor for free.
3. He is neglectful or is always unreachable.
A client, who is neglectful or unreachable, may not be considered as abusive, outright, if he pays his deposit or retainer fees. If he does not pay a deposit or a retainer fee but continues to neglect the project he entrusted to the service provider, then he is becoming an abusive client.
Some may say that no harm was done because the service provider did not end up working anyway. However, the fact that the client continuously messed up the schedule and affect the efficiency of the service provider, an abuse was already committed.
4. He refuses to pay the fees.
If the client habitually fails or refuses to pay the fees, he is deemed to be abusing the service provider.
Upon engaging the services of the provider, the client is already aware that he needs to pay the fees after a phase was accomplished or after the project was materialized. His unreasonable refusal to pay is an obvious abuse of the time and effort of the service provider.