We all have had them. We all have had clients get mad or ones that seem impossible to please. Handling them the right way is the difference between building a lifelong customer or losing them for life. Either way here is how I have always handled those difficult situation.
I let clients express to me how they feel and what has gotten them so darn angry. Many times once they have vented, a simple heartfelt apology is all that is needed to turn them around. But there will be times that not even apology will do. That is when I have to start asking those non-emotional probing questions
Once I have pulled from them what is wrong, I make sure I repeat back to them what they said. By doing this I confirm to them I have not only heard what they have said but I also understand what they have said. Sometimes another apology is needed at this stage but that is something you have to judge for yourself and not every situation is the same.
Finally I always ask them what I need to do to make them happy. Many times the client has no idea of what they need. That is where you sometimes need to get creative and think outside the box.
Even after all of this there are going to be a few clients that you can never make happy or make unusual requests that no one can fulfill. Those are the ones you have to use your best judgment. I can tell you that I have very few clients that I could not make happy.
One note – None of us should ever take verbal or physical abuse from any clients. I can tell you that my wife has dealt with a few verbally abusive clients in her web design business. In every case she warned them that they were out of line and all but a few they apologized and there were no more issues. The ones that would not heed here her warning were banished and never heard from again.