It is essential that businesses start a relationship with a client by understanding their expectations. Discussing expectations right out the gate is the best way to prevent future disagreements. If you would like to better manage your client expectations, it is recommended that you follow the below five steps:
1. Start early
Business owners should establish guidelines with a customer before they even officially become a client. This can be done by setting up an introduction appointment or a free consultation. This allows businesses to provide more details about their company, their process and provides the client time to ask questions. Another way you can easily set expectations from the start is by sending customers an engagement letter. The letter can outline billing procedures, deadlines, responsibilities of your business, as well as how customers can contact you.
2. Be transparent about fees
During a consultation or introduction meeting, be sure to provide your potential customers a ballpark figure or quote for your service. Once the individual decides to move forward with your business, be sure to write out clearly what your fees are. This helps ensure that there are no surprises for the customer and you will in turn have no complaints.
3. Keep communication open
Customers want to know that they can easily access someone from your company. Although businesses cannot be open all times of the day, it is still important that you share with customers how they can reach out and when they should generally receive a response. It is also important that your business provides consistent communication with your clients so that they know that you are thinking of them. You can do this by sending informational emails, posting video blogs, or updating clients by using social media.
4. Share deadlines
At the beginning of your relationship with your clients, you can also provide them key deadlines that they should be aware of so they know when to expect your service to be completed. For example, you can share this information during a consultation with a client, however, it is best to have a letter informing new clients of deadlines on paper so they have a hard copy.
5. Let clients know what’s coming
Circumstances can change without warning, so it is essential that you continue to communicate changes with clients. If you are experiencing staffing shortages or are having a difficult time ordering important materials, be sure to let your customers know so they are aware of the situation. Also, if you make any changes to your procedures that impacts clients, you should also communicate this with them so there are no surprises.
Overall, your business should strive to be the company that your clients are seeking. Customers want someone who is professional, responsive and actionable. If you want to be a business that they are seeking, the first step towards this is by establishing expectations and creating a relationship that is transparent and has open communication.