5 tips to manage clients’ expectations
There is definitely some truth to the age old ‘under promise
and over deliver’ philosophy, but we like to take this one step further by
ensuring that our clients are in the loop, always happy and know where the
boundaries are. Here are five tips that have worked well for us to date:
Explain what you do
Make sure that new clients understand the scope of work as well as your way of doing things. For example, at YDC we start by clarifying the difference between marketing, advertising and sales, and explain that our services don’t replace the need for a dedicated sales person or team.
Have regular meetings
We meet with most of our Cape Town based clients at least once a month and find this incredibly valuable in terms of managing the work flow and developing relationships. Face-to-face is always first prize, but Skype or a conference call can work well too. To make the most of each meeting, even if they are informal, we always create an agenda and set objectives for the meeting.
Create meeting notes
Jot down important discussion points during the meeting, carve out time to tidy them up and send meeting notes to everyone that attended (as well as anyone else that should be kept in the loop). We find that bullet point form works best, with sub-headings and a clear indication of what requires a response or action from the client.
Create a timeline
Whether it’s a website development project, management of an event or conceptualising a campaign, always map out a clear and realistic timeline, and share it with your client. Update them regularly on your progress and make note of any significant changes as you go along. We always explain what goes in to a task or campaign, so that the client understands why it will take the time and resources we’ve allocated to it.
Be firm and set boundaries
As much as we like to keep our clients happy, we also believe in balance, and encouraging our team to switch off at the end of a productive day. For example, we don’t set a precedent to return calls or answer emails outside of regular office hours. We also don’t give clients our personal cell phone numbers, but rather the Yellow Door mobile number that they are welcome to send real time updates and photos to.
At the end of the day it’s about finding what works for you, tailoring your strategy slightly to suit each client, and building relationships that will stand the test of time. We are incredibly lucky to work with a diverse range of people that we respect, admire and are proud to call our clients. Find out more about them here.
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