8 types of problem clients (and how to handle them)

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Can't think of anything to say to the agency professional sitting next to you at dinner? Just ask him about his worst client ever. They'll be no shutting anybody up after that. Because facepalm-worthy client moments happen all the time in the agency world. But we usually have to hold our tongues or risk losing the client. After all, their money keeps the lights on, so they earn the right to be a little goofy sometimes.

8 types of problem clients (and how to handle them)

Problem clients fall into a number of buckets, and it helps to manage each group in a different way. Ignoring the traits that make a particular client difficult is not likely to solve any of your headaches. But identifying a client's particular area (or areas) of stickiness early can help you better adapt so that those pain points don't eventually lead you to softly muttering angry swears during meetings with said client.

Let's take a look at some of the most common types of problem clients and some tips for managing them.



Amanda Dodge
Amanda Dodge March 12, 2014 at 9:01 AM

I can't think of a witty name, but "The Client that Seems to Know More than You, Even Though They've Never Even Created a Personal Facebook Profile"

I've had clients make horrible social decisions (against our advice) because they had very skewed views of what the Internet and social media sphere looked like.

Bob Sanders
Bob Sanders March 10, 2014 at 3:38 PM

This is a great review of some classic personalities... sends shivers down my spine on a few. We all have memories of these.

Of course some agencies attract a "type" of client, by projecting a personality type themselves. Understanding profiling is a great way to identify your type of client, along with why some clients are rejecting you.

This is the first step in learning how to understand and then match client expectations, and client expectations, and how to handle them, shape your retention destiny.

I just wrote this up here:


Patrick Reinhart
Patrick Reinhart March 10, 2014 at 11:33 AM

Another one is "The Ghost" - Clients who schedule meetings and phone calls and simply don't show up. Have had a few of those in my day, they're infuriating.