Good customer service starts with managing client expectations. Helping clients understand what they should expect from your services and what they shouldn’t is a fine art. Communication is the key to meeting client expectations, but it’s a fine line between going the extra mile for clients and setting yourself up for failure. By following Spring-Green’s tips, you can keep your clients happy and consistent.
9 Steps For Managing Client Expectations
- Honesty is the best policy. A big part of setting client expectations is honest communication. From the beginning, communicating how things are going to go, what you will be doing 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. If you have an additional charge, mention it. If you can’t guarantee something, let your customer know. This is one of the key steps in helping customers understand what’s going to happen.
- Make sure you clarify. You are familiar with the way your business works but assuming everyone else understands it too may be a mistake. Make sure the client has clear communication of 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 and try to be out in front of every need. This objective point of view will help you clarify (see number two) your services as well as gain an understanding of where you might have work to do.
- Keep up communication. A solid onboarding process for new customers can keep them knowledgeable and informed. A constant flow of communication is important to managing customer expectations. Keeping everyone must be on the same page sets expectations and even allows room for exceeding them.
- Set goals and boundaries. Managing client expectations gets extremely 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. This is a good time to make sure your clients are aware of the scope of the project.
- 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 timelines can help clients plan for the future and sync up their mindset for optimal customer satisfaction levels.
- Don’t hesitate to say no. Starting the client relationship off with clear communication processes will help you manage client expectations, yes. But it is also the opportunity to get to know your client and see if there is a match between what your business has to offer and what your potential client wants. If this does not fit, it is okay for you to bow out of the situation. While it may be hard to leave potential dollars on the table, if what you can deliver is not aligned with what your client expects, it’s a recipe for problems in the future.
- 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, reputation issues like bad online reviews, and slumping sales. Staying on top of how customer expectations are being met is key to the success of your business.
Remember that the more the client feels they can trust you, the easier their expectations will be to manage. Leading with clear communication and honesty is the essence of managing client expectations. As a Spring-Green Franchise Owner, you will tap into the power of an established brand and gain access to a proven customer service method. All you have to do is take the first step toward Spring-Green Franchise Ownership today.