Navigating through new or different situations can be unsettling and even worrisome for many people. Their minds can fill with questions as simple as, “Where are they located?” and “Where will I park?” to “What will I have to take with me?” and “How long will I be there?” to “What questions will they ask?” and “Can they really help me better than my previous adviser?”
Here are some ways you can create consistency and effectively manage your clients’ expectations.
- Use agendas and checklists. Since many people need visuals to help them more easily understand processes, providing agendas, checklists, flow charts, and even a map to your office can help them better understand what to expect as they prepare to meet with you and you take them through your planning process.
- Confirm next steps. Spending some time at the end of each meeting setting expectations about next steps will help them understand the thought and purpose that you have built into what you do.
- Document action items. Make certain your client leaves with a list of what you will do and what he or she will do, and by when these action items should be completed.
- Define and communicate your service standards. Clearly communicate your standards for client service, such as how and when phone calls and emails are returned, or how they will be notified about the completion of various types of service requests.
The best way to effectively manage your clients’ expectations begins with thinking from their point of view. Once you take the time consider things from your client’s perspective, you should be able to identify the questions in their head, and answer them even before they ask.