With the American public shocked that Congress has allowed the federal government to shut down and the debt ceiling looming, today seems like a fantastic time to review some tips for managing customer expectations. Follow these simple guidelines, maintain an open attitude and take heart in the fact that your business relationships could always be much more difficult…
1. Create and Understand Goals
If you have a working relationship with a client or customer, odds are it is based on mutual interest. Such are the ways of our society. Remember this and gear conversations toward highlighting your shared goals. We often take on clients with a high degree of civic engagement specifically because they improve community in which we live and work. By clearly representing our business as a Dayton marketing agency looking to better the Dayton region, we form more honest partnerships. Transparent and goal oriented discussions keep everyone focused and remind customers that each small interaction with your business is a step towards greater success.
2. Set Ground Rules
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Cliche yes, but (like many played-out sayings) it is rooted in truth. If there are times when you will be unavailable, tell your customers ahead of time. They may ask questions, but that is better than getting an angry Google review when you close up shop for a trade show or to celebrate an lesser-known holiday. This example also applies in a broader sense; telling your customers what you can and cannot do for them will go a long way to ensuring that they perceive your relationship as successful. There is nothing worse than losing an account or accepting a return because a client/customer didn’t know what they were buying.
3. Communicate Openly
Make yourself available to your clients and listen to their concerns. If there is a conflict, discuss it offline. Know that while the customer may not always be right, you will never convince them that they are wrong. Even the worst interaction with a customer is an opportunity to learn something. Often you will discover novel issues with your product, service or fulfillment practices. Sometimes you will only realize that you may not be serving the most amicable market. In a very small number of cases you will learn that some customers may not be worth the revenue they generate. All of these lessons are valuable. None of them are made better through confrontational tone or language. The key to transparent communication, counter-intuitively, is often just listening. This is especially true in difficult conversations and (as an added bonus) it often gets them finished faster.
Learn how to effectively manage the expectations of those you serve, and we guarantee that your approval rating will never fall below 10%