5 Ways to Manage Client Expectations and Deliver a 5* Experience
Amber Rose Thomas
Business Coach, Marketing Strategist + Gin Aficionado
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Properly managing client expectations is very important. It can also be somewhat draining, especially if some of your clients have many, many expectations. This is even more so if some of those expectations appear unreasonable at times. However, the saying “The customer is always right” may not really apply to many aspects of business.
If you want to maintain the integrity of your brand to your clientele, it is important that you take their opinions, requests and expectations into due consideration at all times.
When clients seem dissatisfied with your business, most of the time it’s due to them having a different view or expectation of your services. The hard part about expectations for businesses is that many clients can be terrible at communicating them. This in turn leads to needless misunderstandings and bad transactions.
The power of a happy and satisfied client cannot be overstressed. And how you ensure your clients remain satisfied goes a long way to determining how successful your business will be. Effective management of client expectations will make them view your brand as strong, reliable, competent and sensitive to their needs. This can also get you more client from raving referrals your clients will share.
In today’s business landscape, client acquisition and retention are largely dependent on reputation. Therefore, delivering high-quality services and meeting client expectation is essential for the growth and success of your business.
I will share 5 top tips to help you successfully manage client expectations. These tips can be incorporated into the fabric of your overall business model to ensure they are perfectly executed in all departments
ONE: Get in There Early
Don’t wait until your phone is blowing up at 9pm on a Saturday night for you to set some boundaries around your availability. When you first sign on your client, include your expectations of them, and your own rules of business up front in your contract or welcome pack. (Dubsado is a great way of automating this!) That way you can ignore those messages guilt-free, and reply first thing on Monday morning. This isn’t just about you, but training your clients to have their own boundaries as well. If you’re in different time zones, then just let the messages come in, but don’t reply! Which leads me to…
TWO: Be Consistent
Once you’ve told people that you’re only available from 9am to 5pm, don’t be sending out emails at 10am on a Saturday. Just don’t do it. If you don’t respect your own boundaries, your clients won’t either. Their business is their baby, their life’s work and often their only source of income. It means everything to them and so everything is going to feel urgent. But you can be kind and respectful about this without steamrollering over your boundaries.
THREE: Be Honest and Transparent
This is part honesty and part good communication. This is something I really struggle with for my Facebook Ads Clients. There’s a lot of old and incorrect information floating around the internet, and it’s pretty common for someone to come to me saying they want to spend $100 on ads and make $100k because they read someone’s blog post saying that they had done it. It takes a lot of confidence to be honest about what is realistic, what’s your abilities are and what results people can expect. The communication comes down to giving people ballpark figures, targets, and timelines that they understand and then giving them regular updates. Always err on the side of too much communication.
FOUR: PRACTICE DEEP LISTENING
There’s actually no better advice I can give you than deep listening. Listening is not waiting patiently for them to finishing talking so that you can speak. Listening is not reading an email, deciding they are ‘wrong’ and then replying with your point of view. Real, deep, listening is to be open to hearing someone else’s’ words, even when you don’t agree. You will inevitably get an email or message from a client who is sad, angry or disappointed and you’ll have to handle that. Even if they are being totally unfair or unrealistic – start with listening for what they really want and how they are really feeling. Usually, all we want is to feel seen and heard.
FIVE: BE YOURSELF
If you’re naturally a jokey, relaxed and slightly sweary person then don’t maintain a super stoic and professional persona in your online marketing. People are going to get a shock when they show up to work with you and that trust and connection will disappear instantly. A huge part of personal branding is to give an accurate representation of working with you will be like. You might think that your clients are going to want you to be a certain way, but putting on an act all the time is seriously exhausting, even if you think it’s making you more professional or more marketing.