Dealing with clients on a regular basis helps in understanding the pain points. The need to set and manage client expectations starts with this. Organizations have standards based on which decisions are made to set the expectations.
Let us look at what those are: size, wants and needs, client type and willingness to pay.
When I say Size its about the volume of business that they would bring in. Does your organisation have what the client requires? if not have you promised them that you would deliver after they have signed up. If you have promised deadlines are you able to meet them and have you communicated the same to other departments in your organization?. These are a few instances where managing client expectations become helpful.
When we talk about a client type I am referring to it being strategic in nature. It just simply means that this is a potential client who could bring you bigger customers, big brands which would turn heads in your industry. Your competitors would start watching you closely. The last but most important thing is the willingness to pay. If they aren’t willing to pay the right price for your services then no matter what you sell them on it isn’t going to be enough.
Why has it become so important to manage client expectations in the digital age you ask?
Everybody has access to social media and the industry is always watching which means so are your competitors. The reason the client is looking at the options that your organization provides is because you have certain features which might solve their pain points. Client reviews are inevitable. Once it’s on social media forget about damage control. What exactly you need to do to prevent it.
- Have a checklist: Make a separate checklist for different types of customers. Majority of companies use the subscription model. Make this information available to all the necessary departments so that they are aware and have the information to answer any questions from the clients in the later stages.
- Timelines: As we all know adherence to this is of utmost importance. Failure to do so is going to leave a bad taste with the client.
- Promises: Regarding timelines, feature requests,bug fixes and awesome customer support.
- Account management: Ensure that they stay with you. Find out constantly if they are satisfied or not and see what can be done better.
- Follow ups: This has to be done no matter what. The context can be anything here but it is one of the most important things that would factor into the client expectation part.
- Documentation: Have quick reference guides for you clients which you can share with them instantly when they are stuck or in need of quick resolutions.
How to be more customer centric while managing client expectations?
- I am going to lay it out to all of you out there that the only way to be more customer centric is to experience the pain points and work backwards from there to help your organization build customer centric products and services.
- I believe that when working backwards you understand the pain points of the customer first hand and you realize what the expectations might be and so in turn you end up with a plan or strategy on how to manage your client expectations.
- This way you don’t end up wasting resources and time on things that aren’t necessary for your customers right now. Things may always change in the future, let’s worry about that when we need to cross that bridge. Right now, what are the pain points and how are you going to be more customer centric? It is a lot to think about but it isn’t a waste that I can tell from personal experience.
- Everything that I have mentioned above about managing customer expectations will only have a maximum impact when your organization becomes more customer centric.
Being more customer centric? What do I mean by this. Your support team would be of great help here to drive insights. They are in constant contact with the customers. They would be the first to know what the customer really wants, be it feature requests, bug fixes or just listening to them. This makes the customer feel that you are customer centric.
- White papers would help you gain an advantage in your industry. Other businesses would look up to your company blog on how they can do better.
- From my experience nothing says it more than testimonials from your clients. This is the the best possible thing that can happen to your organization. Earned media is truly effective on social media. It’s a voluntary review given by a client who uses your products and services. All the potential clients would feel comfortable in approaching you and learning more about you. A collection of testimonials means greater are the chances that your organization comes across as customer centric.
On a final note managing client expectations and being customer centric have one thing in common ‘pain points‘ . How do you manage them with the resources at hand to either eliminate or mitigate them is the key to a successful relationship.