The Art of Managing Client Expectations
More often than not your new client will already have preconceived notions and expectations of how things should be even before working with you, which is why managing expectations is so important in developing healthy client/vendor relationships. From daily observations to experiences of my own, here are tips on how to manage client expectations.
- Identify client goals – What does your client want to achieve? When do they want to achieve these goals? Are these goals realistic within the timeframe that you’ll be working on the project? Will you be able to deliver on each account? Ask these types of questions (and any other questions you may have) in the very early stages to help you identify what it is your client is looking for. It also gives your client the opportunity to ask you questions.
- Fill in the details in writing – Agreeing on strategies, tactics, and timelines is key to understanding what success is and how it should be measured. This should be written in a document that details the program or campaign, how much time will be spent on each project, and how the budget will be used. In the midst of busyness, it can also be difficult to remember what was promised to be delivered by both parties. Having everything written down in detail helps to remind you and your client of what you agreed to accomplish.
- Communicate – Whether it’s a weekly call, a monthly report, a quick email, or even a meeting in person, be active in communicating with your client – good news or bad news. Open and honest communication helps to build credibility and establish trust. Regular check-ins also open the dialogue for your client to share their thoughts and questions with you.
- Share your expertise! – Your client is working with you for your expertise! It’s okay to not always be the “yes man or woman” to their every request (which is something I’m still learning). Share your expertise and knowledge of your industry and give feedback to help your client better understand how to reach their goals.