Everyone who provides a product or service is bound to cater to the requirements and expectations of their customers. But, of course, the idea is not to follow them blindly, nor is it to fall short on them. Both parties should know from the beginning what they should expect and what they have to provide.
Whether you are starting up your business or looking to enhance the relationship with your clients and customers, these 5 essential tips will help you manage their expectations amazingly.
1. Provide clear timelines
This sets the base for effective communication going forward. If you give your client or customer a clear date (as accurate as possible, depending on the situation), the result will be that they will be much less likely to ask you things like “How are we doing?” every other day.
If the deadline or completion date is in a somewhat distant future, you can set up milestones, that is, dates for when a certain part of a project will be ready.
2. Follow up regularly
Setting a timeline does not mean that you and your client never speak again until everything’s done or the product is delivered. Make sure to check in regularly. This way, not only is the client kept in the loop, but you are up to date too in case there is something you need to adjust to your work based on something your client brings up.
This can be done by setting up regular meetings, or simply via email or phone call. Just remember to be organised in this front: make sure you don’t miss or mix up messages; to this aim, you can use tools such as email labels or sms tracking.
3. Make sure you are aligned on the goals of the project
This one is crucial, though we often forget about it. Make sure that, from your first meeting, you and your customer are both clear on what the aims of the project are. Ask questions like “Why did you decide you needed this product or service?” “What is the specific use that you are going to give this product or service?” “What necessity are we supplying with it?” “Is it tied to other products or services?” And so on.
If the goal is clear, it will be virtually impossible for you not to reach an agreement on the details you discuss throughout the project.
4. Be honest about your abilities
From the start, clearly state what you can and cannot do. This way, your client will simply not have unrealistic expectations. In other words, when providing the outline for the work you are about to do, make sure you are explaining what your limits are as well as all the things that you do best. The other party will know what they can and cannot ask of you and your work, which speaks of mutual respect and it will save you and them a lot of potential frustration!
5. Highlight how you are unique
Also, ensure that you not only mention but also give details about how you are different from the rest. The very common question “Why should I choose you?” will come up, if not explicitly, at least in the customer’s mind. Know the answer, and don’t keep it to yourself.