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Managing Client Expectations as a professional services business
Working with clients can sometimes be a difficult task, especially if your client is “hands-on” or likes constant updates. An important part of dealing with clients in managing their expectations regarding timelines for work, your availability and the type of services they should expect from you.
1. Be Honest
This might seem a little too simple, but is it the most important aspect of managing client expectations. For example, part of my role is to request remission of late lodgement fees from the ATO. I always tell clients upfront that I will do my best for them but ultimately it is the ATO that makes this decision. While it can be daunting to tell your client you can’t do everything they want, it will avoid disappointment or anger if you can’t deliver what you promised.
2. Never over promise
Closely linked to being honest is never over promise. It can be very tempting to promise your client you will get that work done for the same day or you can get them that huge discount. However, it is always better to under promise and over deliver. Not only does this alleviate pressure on yourself to deliver results that you may not be able to create, but it also means your client will be even more appreciative when you’re able to do more than stated.
3. Write it down
Every conversation you have with your clients that involve expectations should be written down and sent to the client. If you have a phone call with your client, follow up with an email outlining what you discussed and what was decided. Not only will this avoid both you and your clients forgetting what you discussed, it allows both you and your client to confirm that you both understood what was said. This will avoid miscommunication and disagreements further down the track.
4. Communicate Often
A simple way to keep your clients happy is to communicate with them and do it often. If you think that a project might take you longer than anticipated, a quick email or phone call to let the client know will do wonders. If you need more information from them, pick up the phone and let them know. Everyone appreciates being kept in the loop and, perhaps more importantly, feeling like they are dealing with a real person who is accessible to them.
5. Get to know your clients
Not all clients are the same. Some will be happy with emails, some will want phone calls. Some will be happy for you to get on with the work, some will want constant updates. In order to keep your clients happy, you need to know who your clients are and what their preferences are. This will ensure that your clients are communicated with effectively, but also know that you value them as people, not just money makers.
Dealing with clients isn’t always the most simple task to manage and handle. However, if you are patient, empathetic, and honest, you should be able to win over your client most times.
Check out another recent blog in this category.
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