How to Have a Difficult Conversation With a Client

Having a difficult conversation with a client is naturally something that many would prefer to avoid. But sometimes it just has to be done, and taking the bull by the horns, being honest and up front about the issues, will often in the long run bring greater respect and appreciation from the client.

Hedging, prevarication, or outright avoidance will only make matters worse. Clients want to know what is going on, even if it may be something they won’t like. This could be something like telling them that certain losses are not covered, or that some limits are no longer possible. Here are some tips to help with these types of talks.


The first step is deciding whether you need to have such a conversation. But after weighing the pros and cons, you see that things would be worse if you don’t do it, you should commit to meeting with the client in a timely manner.

Set expectations

Take care of the situation as soon as possible. For example, if premiums will be increasing, let the client know now, long before the actual increase, so they won’t be taken by surprise. If you wait, you will only make the situation more stressful.

Similarly, if you know a claim won’t be covered, let the client know as soon as possible.

Be honest

The best way to handle these conversations is simply to be straightforward and honest with the client. They will appreciate it and respect you more for it. It will help to establish a better rapport and cement a reputation for integrity, which will help your relationship in the long run.

Looking out for the client

When talking with the client, you need to emphasize that you are both on the same team, that you have their best interests at heart, that you are both partners in this, and you are working hard for them.

Using words like we and us will help to show your sincerity and empathy for the client.

Facts and figures

Provide support for the company’s decision with facts and figures so that the client understands the process behind the decision and how it was arrived at.

Explain the reasoning behind it.

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