8 Steps For Managing Client Expectations
- Honesty is the best policy. A large part of setting client expectations is honest communication. From the beginning, communicating how services will work and what you will do for your clients (as well as what you won’t) is the foundation for a good customer journey. Many businesses make the mistake of hiding information in the fine print or making promises that they can’t always deliver on. For example, if you have an additional charge, mention it. If you can’t guarantee something, let your customer know.
- Clarify your services. You are familiar with the way your business works, but assuming everyone else understands it can be a costly mistake. Ensure the client understands what your services entail. Don’t assume that everything is crystal clear—make sure that it is. This level of information may need to be reinforced at key touchpoints during the customer journey. Your client will have a deeper trust in your brand and your business as you clearly outline your role.
- Put yourself in your client’s shoes. Empathy is one of the most powerful things you can offer your clients. Understand what your client goes through when he or she interacts with you or receives your services, and try to be out in front of every need. This objective point of view will help you offer a better customer experience and clarify (see step number two) your services.
- Keep communication consistent. A solid onboarding process for new customers can keep them knowledgeable and informed in the beginning. A constant flow of communication after onboarding is important in managing customer expectations. Keep your customers informed on everything from services and payments to company changes and anything in between to instill trust in your company.
- Set goals and boundaries. Managing client expectations gets easier and more effective with goals and boundaries. Set goals so that you know what you need to do to show success with your clients. Alternatively, set boundaries so that you never overpromise and/or underperform.
- Put things in writing. When it matters, be sure to put things in writing. Having a comprehensive contract will detail what the relationship will be and what your customer can expect from you.
- Set the timeline. Managing client expectations often comes down to helping them understand not only what, but when things are going to take place. Preemptive communication about your timeline can help clients plan for the future and know what to expect.
- Monitor your progress. You should have a structure in place to monitor how your business initiatives align with your client’s expectations on an ongoing and continual basis. Service-based businesses rely on customer satisfaction. Often, things begin to slip before management knows. This slippery slope can continue for an extended period leading to customer drop-off and reputation issues, like negative online reviews. Staying on top of how customer expectations are being met is crucial to the success of your business.