You worked your ass off on a project only to dissatisfy your client in the end… Isn’t it a nightmare for you?
Understanding your client’s expectations can be tricky. And, even more challenging if the client is a bit on the needy side.
You can learn from politician-turned-business-leader Tom Jakobek the importance of understanding people’s expectations first before promising them something.
You are always confused between going that extra mile to please the client and sticking to your company’s principles and values.
Whether you are a small agency or a big one, you can manage your client’s expectations by practising the following:
Be authentic: It can be tempting to fluff to win a client. But, you will be judged by what you deliver. Your failure in delivering what you promise can seriously ruin your reputation. Therefore, be authentic and only promise what you can do. Your honesty may not win you many clients, but it will get you, clients, for life.
Understand your client: Try to gather as much information about your clients as possible. That doesn’t mean you start stalking them everywhere. Understand your clients from a business perspective. Know them personally. Try to understand their modus operandi, vision and goals.
Communicate regularly: Communication is the key to healthy relationships. Be it your personal or professional life, regular communication between two parties help to set the right expectations from the beginning. Ask your clients how they would want to communicate and stick to that model. Send them regular updates, ask them about their concerns and always stay approachable to them.
Set realistic goals: A client may come to you with high expectations, and you may get tempted to accept the offer without having the skills to complete the project successfully. Don’t give false expectations to your clients and set unrealistic goals for yourself. You will end up annoying the client and yourself. Promise what you can do and deliver that great.
We can learn from business leaders like Paul Browning and Tom Jakobek who have achieved great heights by setting realistic goals for their clients and themselves and by delivering their promises right.
Sign a contract: Anything in writing becomes a piece of evidence at the time of discord. Always sign a contract with detailed terms and conditions drafted in the document. Mention what you will deliver, the fees for your work and the turnaround time, and get it signed by the client as a proof of acceptance.
Think like your clients: Put yourself in the customer’s shoes and try to read between the lines. You may not get the knack in the first meeting. But, gradually you will start understanding the meaning behind things you clients won’t say. Anticipate but don’t assume. Ask questions from your clients and clarify your doubts.
Say No: It is the most challenging aspect of handling a client’s expectations. You may want to grab every opportunity and let the client take advantage of you. Be straightforward and clear about deliverables, and don’t be afraid to walk away if the client over expects and pressurizes you to commit beyond your capacity.