Mismanagement of client expectations could really damage your business name and its repercussions might be detrimental to your long term growth. Let me stress out a few key steps in managing client expectations.
1. Say it loud and bold
Be upfront. As long as you maintain your sincerest courtesy, being candid will for sure work for the benefit of all parties. Never leave anything ambiguous, it is much safer if you lay out your terms in the simplest manner possible. Also, be specific with you coverage including its corresponding boundaries.
2. If you said it, do it
Never even attempt to sugar coat your words, it will back fire in the end. Make your life simple, if you say things, and then mean it. Don’t go around announcing some promises when you do not even have the slightest idea how to go about what you have promised. It is plain foolishness to promise anything you cannot deliver. If someone approaches you for work and it happens that apparently you cannot guarantee a quality job, then at least have the decency to mention someone who could make a good work out of it. Being audacious will make you grow, but please do not do it if you will jeopardize other people’s business.
3. Show samples of your work
If you buy things from someone, you do not rely merely in his words right? For sure you will ask for a portfolio of his work so as to pacify your doubts. Clients certainly feel the same way. They would ask for the best samples of your work as a guarantee that indeed they have the right man to do their job for them.
4. Talk and work in your client’s language
When you work according to your client’s communication method, you are paying them the highest compliment you could ever offer. You are showing courtesy that are rarely seen nowadays. Clients will love the idea that the work you are doing for them speaks after their own manner and style because it captures their own identity. Do not go overboard though; just do in a way that is amenable to you.
5. Document everything
It won’t hurt to document everything, writing down anything necessary regarding the project. A follow up email with a brief summary of your discussion is a good idea of documenting and confirming of what you have discussed.
6. Be honest
Do not hide anything. There is no point of mentioning only your good points and not the shortcomings. Whether you like it or not, they will still find it anyway sooner or later. Tell your clients honestly of your actual capacity, capability and limitations. Speak to them about your victories and your challenges.
7. Establish boundaries
It’s okay to go extra mile in servicing your clients. It is even commendable to go out of your way to help them once in a while. But since you are in business, you have to set certain boundaries and limitations.
8. Draw an agreement and stick to it
Start only any project when you already have a signed agreement. Your agreement will serve as your binding contract and your guide as to the coverage and limitations of the project all the way through.