One of the most difficult things about running a small business is managing client expectations. If you don’t manage expectations well from the outset, working relationships can quickly turn sour, leading to customer disappointment and a damaged reputation. The following are six key points to remember to ensure you manage client expectations and build stronger working relationships in the process.


Put Terms and Conditions in Writing

Clearly outline the expectations of your business in writing, preferably in a written contract, but at the very least in an email. Areas covered should include:

  •  Payment conditions
  •  Any cancellation or late payment fees
  •  Project turnaround time or delivery times
  •  Scope of work conditions

Defining these areas early on in the process ensures you and the client are on the same page before going forward. When the client knows what to expect, you can minimize difficult conversations later on in the process.

Educate Your Clients

Find out what the client expects from your business and then make it clear they understand your processes. Use your website and social media channels to explain your business capabilities through articles and videos, and provide examples of previous work. When clients have a clearer understanding of your products and services, relationships should run more smoothly.


Set Clear Boundaries

If clients know you work from home, they may be tempted to call you outside office hours. If you consistently answer their calls after normal working hours or during lunch, you set a dangerous precedent. When you first meet your clients, clearly define your hours of operation and then avoid answering calls or responding to emails outside those hours.


Communicate With Transparency

Poor communication can lead to confusion, disappointment, and a loss of trust. Always try to respond to questions within a reasonable time frame. On larger projects, keep your client informed about project progress and any issues that arise. If there is any uncertainty, instead of making assumptions, contact the client to clarify their position. Also, if there are any delays, be upfront about it – most clients will appreciate the honesty.


Build Relationships


Holding regular face-to-face meetings or making periodic phone calls helps to remind your clients that you care about their needs and you’re not just a faceless organization. Knowing your clients more personally can help take the edge off any future conflicts that may arise. A better understanding of your clients will also reflect in your work.


Build Team Consistency

When possible, make sure everyone involved in your business is clear about your expectations and familiar with clients. Keeping other team members informed about client project details and expectations will strengthen working relationships, minimize misunderstandings, and improve your credibility as a business.


In Summary

Following these guidelines can have a substantial impact on the way your clients experience your business. You can build better client relationships, consistently meet their expectations, and a satisfied client is more likely to recommend your products and services to others.




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