Simple Steps to Exceed Your Client Expectations
Do you have those clients you dread working with and feel like no matter what you do, including giving your services away for free they are never happy?
Or when you know you are working with your ideal client and they begin setting unreasonable demands?
Setting client expectations will reduce your stress and stop clients from making unreasonable demands. It should also minimize miscommunication and provide a better client experience which means repeat business and referrals.
It all starts with the process you put in place (and in writing) for bringing a new client onboard. You want to reassure them that you are the best professional for them and that you understand what their needs are and will deliver the results they are looking for. At the same time, you don’t want to go too far and promise more than you can deliver.
These are the areas you want to address when setting client expectations in the on-boarding process.
Under Promise Over Deliver.
It’s never smart to make promises that you may not be able to keep because you really want them as a client. This can quickly create rifts in client relationships and give your business a bad reputation. Stay in integrity, express exactly what you are willing to do for your client without embellishing. SEO companies are known for this by promising they can get you to the first page of Google or a Financial Planner who says they can get you a ridiculous (like 22%) return on your investment. Express to your client exactly what you will do for them, without embellishing, then sweep them off their feet by delivering even more than your promised!
Identify Potential Challenges.
If a client knows what potential problems to expect, it will reassure them when they actually do happen arise. It will alleviate any anxiety and give them even more confidence in the fact you know what you are doing. This should prevent any minor disputes from escalating.
Communication: Bad News Never Gets Better.
This is the motto I live by! My clients can always expect to hear about any negative situation that might arise right away. They will never feel that I am avoiding them or have a feeling that I am withholding information. When setting client expectations, it’s critical to keep them in the loop at all times. If you run into an issue that could delay a project, it’s best to alert your client right away. Even though they may be agitated, it’s better than telling them at the last minute. Which includes to always be truthful and own when you have made a mistake. Clients know you are human and will respect and appreciate your honesty.
Client Expectations of Timing.
Timing is a big area that most entrepreneur’s over promise, “I can have it turned around in 24hrs” when the industry standard is 14 days. Then, they rush trying to make it happen only to disappoint themselves and their clients when it takes 48hrs which is still more than 10 days ahead of the industry standard. If they would have just told them from the start, my goal is to get your layout, design, creation and printing to you in the quickest amount of time. We pride ourselves in having the quickest turn times in our industry and can expect to have your completed work in hand within 10 days. “Now, your client knows what to expect and when you turn around and give it to them in 48hrs, they are ecstatic and you are their hero!
Also, set client expectations in service based industries for when your client can begin seeing results. For instance, “Most of my clients start seeing results after about 3 months and I just want you to know this is common”. Then, when you have been working with them for 2 months and they start saying that they are not seeing results, you can remind them that you said in the beginning it might take at minimum of 3 months to see results. This will result in less conflict because you don’t have to defend yourself. And, once again, you show that you are the professional and you have the project all under control.
Take these simple steps and implement them in your new client on-boarding process. You will find you’ll begin to love working with your clients, you and your clients will know exactly what to expect every step along the way and you will exceed their expectations every time!