Reputation is everything in our industry. Having positive vibes with our clients, leads to having a calmer and more productive day. The bubble of landing a new client can turn into a nightmare but managing expectations is the most important aspect to maintaining a rewarding relationship with clients. When running a business, it’s not always about landing new clients it’s also about maintaining the ones you’ve got. Managing client expectation is really not that different, can be tricky and uneasy but understanding and maintaining clients’ expectations is vital for almost all businesses. It can make a difference between a wow experience and a disappointing one. All clients land at your doorstep with expectations, some maybe unrealistic while others may be hard to change notions. Your job is to manage them. Here is how.
- Make transparency your superpower.
Being upfront from the word go is very important. Time is money. So, if someone comes to you with all-singing all-dancing be transparent and tell them why they can’t afford it, give suggestions or alternative cheaper options. Clients appreciate honesty, trust me you will thank me later. Most people will appreciate your straightforwardness.
Be cautious though. Because those clients who want something they can’t afford, yet go with a more affordable option, could potentially demand that they get the same full solution further down the line. People can be sneaky, so make it clear that any additional work will be an extra cost.
- Set goals, limits and expectations.
To improve customer satisfaction, establish the objectives and boundaries that must be met. This ensures that you and the client are on the same page and working towards a particular goal. Always make sure to set realistic expectations at the start of every work relation. Set clear limits too. Let your client know when you work and how you work. We don’t want them calling you on weekends when you are having that private dinner or something. Its ok to say no to a client sometimes. It’s better to under-promise and over-deliver.
- Effective communication.
If you are in the service industry like we are, myhire &rentals, what we do is serve. That means being bright, jolly and almost always available. Establishing lines of communication is a crucial part of building trust. Clients want to know their money is well invested and they will not have to go on with unanswered calls and emails. Whether its good or bad news the sooner you tell your client the better. Encourage your client to do the same for better solutions.
- Put everything in writing
Nothing Is more important than staying true to your word, but not everyone appreciates the same level of honesty. Unfortunately, the only way is by keeping records of everything, may it be meetings, deals, discounts, contracts you name it. This makes both parties responsible to their words.
- Be pessimistic, not optimistic, when costing
Everyone likes to strike a bargain, which is why most clients will try and haggle you down on price. Maybe put the price up a notch or stick to your word. Whichever works for you.
6.Make it clear about what happens if things change
With your initial plan and contract communication, be upfront about what happens if things change (these are often referred to as ‘change orders’). It avoids any drama further down the line. For example, you might want to make it clear that the deadline will be moved back if certain stages of the project are delayed – with approvals taking longer than expected, for instance.
Every project suffers from the odd setback. Just explain this before any work begins, and they’ll be easier to deal with should delays occur. It is a really useful way to address the extra scope and have been really useful for politely and firmly letting a client know when something will cost extra.
7.Always Listen to your gut
Listening to your gut isn’t always easy, but if you feel that something on the project isn’t right, speak up! Anticipate what the client might also be thinking before they say anything. If you’re worried that you’ve not spoken to the client in a while, pick up the phone. Always anticipate when things might not be going to plan and address them immediately.
8.Dodge bad clients from the outset
One final point: if you have a real nightmare client (and we’ve all had them), none of this will probably work. So, it’s vital to spot the warning signs and dodge them from the word go. Clients who want heaven but is not willing to pay, or one with unrealistic demands and will not listen or those who do not know what they want but don’t want your opinion either.