I wrote this article because I have recently experienced the same headache, managing customers’ expectation and thought to share some insights that I got from this case.
If you do business for a long time already, you probably know that customer comes first “if you don’t believe in, I beg you to close the page, this article is not for you”, so dealing with customers and managing their expectations is one of the most important operation within any company, most companies already have account management, Project management or even the sales departments to handle or communicate with their customers, if you are a small business owner or working in any of the departments listed above, the next few lines will definitely help you to manage your work.
1- Does my company fit the requirements?
I see it many times, you got a call with a potential client who is ready to pay you, asking for some jobs that your company isn’t specialized in, but you still insist that you can do them by a way or another. However, it’s NOT that simple! Things are not smoothly as you imagine specially if you are not professional in the subject matter. Therefore, from the very beginning you have to make sure that the client requirements are perfectly matching your company scope.
2- Measure your resources.
OK, now we got a perfect client, but wait, time for a commission has not come yet, Is your company big enough to handle big or multinational companies? Measure your resources carefully, going big is great when you can afford it, if not it becomes the worst thing you can do to destroy a business.
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3- Set expectations
Do not ever promise if you cannot deliver, from the first meeting with your clients, listen carefully to their requirements, be a good listener, misunderstanding of your clients requirements will lead to uncontrolled expectations. Set clearly what you will deliver with a time frame and never assume you explained everything clearly to the clients, believe me when you think everything is ok, you are in troubles, write down everything you talked about in the first meeting.
4- Be honest and problem solver
Clients will appreciate you if you are honest with them from the start; people appreciate their relationships with people more than their relationship with a company “tell me how many times you go for a place just because you love the people working there?”, when you listen to your customers’ requirements, guide them what’s wrong and what should be amended to maximize the benefits, clients will feel special if you discuss their requirements with them, discovering the clients’ needs even before they know they are exist is something great to start a business relationship.
5- Never ignore talking about the money
Any business is built on the idea of exchange; clients are willing to pay “money” to have something in return “product or a service”, both of you have the right to accept or reject the offer, so it is essential to set a budget clearly to let clients know what they are going to pay to receive the products/services, I know this sounds like a basic thing but I swear I have seen it happens many times specially with small businesses.
6- Keep the clients up to date
Most clients are busy to keep tracking of the project progress, once they signed off the project, they start to dream about the output, keeping them informed about the stages the project comes through, would help you manage their expectations more effectively and help you fix issues “if found” in the early stages.
7- Keep something hidden to wow your clients
After all, we want to keep our clients happy, who don’t? They will appreciate it a lot!
If you have had any fights with your clients, please share with us and let us know how you handled the situation J