A common interview question for applicants entering the field of
criminal justice is to "describe a situation where you worked with a
difficult client and explain the strategies you used to make it a
productive interaction." How would you answer this question?
Dealing with a difficult client is the same as dealing with a difficult spouse. First SHUT UP AND LISTEN until they are done. Then, repeat back what they said and make sure that you are on the same page. You then can reason with them. Most people just want to be heard and respected.
When that happened, I'd try to talk in a calm, even voice, in order to get the client to respond in a good manner and focus on trying to resolve the situation. Most times I was able to rectify the problem and pacify the client, but I remember one incident in particular in which the caller became verbally abusive. I tried to remain calm and professional and not to let my personal feelings enter into the situation. I didn't respond to the abuse, I just made a not of it and continued to help the client as best I could.