Setting Expectations Early and Often
As the manager or owner of a business, it's extremely important that you know how to set and manage expectations for yourself and for your clients. This is a process that occasionally takes a while to truly master, but the earlier you start and the more often you set expectations with projects/clients or with aspects of your company, the better you'll get.
Here are some tips for how you can set realistic expectations early on, particularly with your clients:
- Know what your limits are as a company. There's only so much time that you can dedicate to every client that comes through. You should always be focused on delivering the best possible quality and creating a great relationship with your clients, but remember that you need to maintain balance as well. If you already have existing obligations with other clients, you should not feel like you need to accept a big project from a new one. Remember: it's better to do one job well than to do two half-heartedly.
- “Under promise and over deliver.” This old business phrase will help you to avoid making promises that you have no way of keeping. That practice can quickly create irreparable rifts in a business relationship. Don't rely on big promises to lure in big clients, especially if you can't deliver on them. Instead, make small promises and then exceed expectations.
- Explain challenges before they arise. Be upfront with all clients about any issues that may occur as you work with them. These challenges may or may not actually come up, but if they do, clients will know to expect them and how to deal with them.
- Be flexible with your deadlines. It's a lot more stressful for you to give one firm deadline that you may or may not be able to manage if you have other projects to work on. Instead, be flexible with your deadlines to prevent disappointment on the part of the client.
- Be available to talk at all times. Be proactive in alerting clients about project progress and any potential delays, and make sure they know they can contact you at any times with questions. This helps to set expectations for your working relationship.
These tips will help you to create better relationships with your clients based on truthful communication. Be sure to set these expectations early in your relationships so that you can work together much more smoothly.
Christine Kelly | Queen Bee | Viral Solutions LLC