How Can You Manage Client Expectations?

How To Manage Client Expectations

To help you better manage client expectations, we asked business leaders and PR experts this question for their best tips. From setting up a timeline to being prepared for roadblocks, there are several ways you can better manage client expectations.

Here are ten ways you can manage client expectations:

  • Start With A Kick-off Call
  • Outline Expectations On Company Website
  • Set Up A Timeline
  • Be Realistic
  • Regular Communication Via Multiple Channels
  • Take Ownership
  • Constant Contact
  • Be Prepared For Road Blocks
  • Make It Clear
  • Repeat Information Back To Clients

Start With A Kick-off Call

The best way to manage client expectations is to be very clear from the jump. Whenever we welcome a new client onboard, we begin with a kick-off call where I walk them through the first four weeks of their account, the approval and communication process, and provide visual timelines so they can get a better understanding of what to expect in the journey. This is a crucial step to managing their expectations and starting our partnership off on the right note!

Nikitha Lokareddy, Markitors

Outline Expectations On Company Website

Clearly outline expectations on a company website. For example, our business offers online faxing services for small to large businesses. On our site, we do our best to communicate our customer experience by highlighting the availability of our support (24/7/365), costs (no overage fees or hidden costs), and flexibility with plans (upgrade or downgrade anytime). By addressing customer questions up front, expectations are clear, and there is less room for unpleasant surprises. 

Eli Patashnik, iFax

Set Up A Timeline

To manage patient expectations, be clear about your process up front. When dealing with anything medical related, it can feel scary and intimidating if you don’t know all the ins and outs of the process and what to expect. Setting up a timeline and walking your patient through the entirety of the process before they get started will help them visualize what will come next and better manage their expectations. 

Henry Babichenko, DD, Stomadent Dental Lab 

Be Realistic

Before kicking off a client, I find it very helpful to have an initial discussion about their goals and what they are hoping to achieve through our partnership. This is a great way to determine how they view success and be honest about whether their goals are achievable! If you find that their goals are lofty and unrealistic, you can be up front and say that you may not be able to accomplish that in the short term but that it is a great long-term goal or something of that nature.

Blake Murphey, American Pipeline Solutions

Regular Communication Via Multiple Channels

The best way to manage your client’s expectations is to communicate on a regular basis and keep them up to date on you and your team’s progress towards their goals. These updates can happen via email, Slack, Zoom, or whatever platform you prefer! The more you communicate, the more your client will understand the value you are providing.

Carey Wilbur, Charter Capital 

Take Ownership

At Arrow Lift, our core values include building trust. One of the key ways that we achieve this is through honest, up-front, and consistent communication with our customers. By approaching each customer interaction with truthful communication, we avoid most missteps. This, in turn, creates attainable expectations for the client and us. In the event of a misstep, we take ownership of our mistakes and follow through on promises made to deliver for our clients.

Liz Riggleman, Arrow Lift 

Constant Contact 

As a personal injury lawyer, to manage expectations, we must be realistic about the likelihood of success. It is critical to be honest with our client from the outset. We explain what to expect, including the best and worst case scenarios. Clients must understand that some aspects of their case are outside their attorney’s control. Since cases progress with new information, we always keep client’s informed. Even if we get bad news, we inform our clients immediately so they are prepared to move forward. Managing expectations requires constant contact from the start. 

Hunter Garnett, Warren and Simpson

Be Prepared For Road Blocks

Project managers are wizards at setting and managing client expectations. They agree to the scope of work up front, develop clear project charters and timelines, and consistently communicate what will happen by when. If a customer has a change request, they simply refer back to the charter and say, “Yes and…. here are some options for making that happen.” This allows both parties to gain a clear understanding of risks and dependencies as well as the time, cost, and quality implications of adjusting deliverable expectations.

Tim Toterhi, Plotline Leadership

Make It Clear

Managing client expectations really comes down to clear communication and that requires effort from both sides of the equation. As a provider, you need to be clear about what your product or service can do AND what it can’t. But you need to listen to the client, too, and understand the challenges they are facing. When you know that, you can be very clear about the outcome you can provide.

Peter Adams, Sol Minion Development

Repeat Information Back To Clients

Whenever your client explains something to you, repeat it back to them in your own words, so they’re sure you understand them. This is a very simple technique that clients appreciate very much. Everyone wants to be heard and understood, even in the business world. Once you have listened and shown your understanding of their expectations, you can begin to set your own expectations and manage theirs. For example, if they have a timeline that’s unrealistic, they will be much happier to listen to why it might take a bit longer if they feel like you care and understand where they’re coming from.

Paw Vej,

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