Creating happy clients and customers is the key to growing your business. Happy customers are loyal customers, and they become the most powerful ambassadors of your business. So, how do you make and keep your customers happy?
It comes down to a simple formula: Happiness = Expectations
In any given situation your happiness is dictated by the reality of the situation stacked up against your expectations.
If you expect a movie to be OK, and it turns out to be great, you’re happy. But if you expect a movie to be great, and it’s really just OK, you’re disappointed. It’s not the reality of the situation that creates happiness, it’s the reality compared to the expectation.
Expectation management is key in order to create happy clients. This can be a challenge and sometimes even a point of contention between your sales team and your marketing teamm. Your marketing team wants to make the biggest, boldest promises possible in order to attract possible clients. But if they make promises that your sales team can’t live up to, you end up with disappointed customers.
So, to maximize referrals — and for the long-term health of your business — it’s important to manage expectations carefully. For example:
Define and limit the ‘results’ your marketing and sales team can promise!
If your product or service takes six months to create noticeable results, your sales team shouldn’t be telling people that it will happen in three months. As an example, in my business, it takes us about 3 month to build new Lasertag guns. But we once had a salesperson telling clients that we could probably have them done in 30 days. At the end we had a disappointed costumer, which wasn’t necessary at all.
Lesson learned: Script and enforce the promises our sales team can make.
The cliche here is to always go the extra mile for your clients and customers. But that’s not always realistic. And honestly, it’s not smart. Good enough is good enough.
However, even within the real-world time constraints that you and your team have to face, you can find time to strategically go above and beyond to create a “wow” moment for a client. For example, when a customer or client asks for help that goes beyond your scope, don’t just apologize and say you don’t do that. Take a few moments to find somebody else who can help them, and point them in that direction. If possible, throw in a few words of advice and perspective to help them out.
Tell the truth, do what you say you’re going to do and look for opportunities to surprise and delight your clients. None of this is revolutionary. In fact, it should be common sense. Yet, I’m constantly surprised by how often businesses fail to meet these basic expectations.
The good news is that if you and your team can communicate well, act with integrity and generally get the job done right, you stand out in a sea of mediocrity. Focus on the fundamentals. Manage the expectations of your customers and clients carefully and strategically. If you do this consistently, you’ll have loyal customers and raving fans of your business. And that is the formula for real, rapid and sustainable business growth.
I have define some thoughts to manage your business expectations
Set expectations from the start
Although many businesses fall into the temptation of making promises to customers, this is not exactly a good idea. After all, we know that any project could face unforeseen events that would push back the deadline or even compromise its completion.
It’s important to value transparency from the beginning, so as not to cause expectations that you can’ t meet. Therefore, communicate with your customer and make it clear to what extent your service or product can help. Together, you can set achievable goals and ensure that everyone is on the same page.
Be transparent about processes
Just as you want to follow the consumer’s journey, they want to follow the development of your company’s processes. Adopting a transparent posture is fundamental to obtain the customer’s trust and manage their expectations. So, offer constant updates on their different requests and resolutions.
To improve consumer satisfaction, establish the objectives that the project must achieve. Setting clear goals is useful to stimulate the productivity of your team and can also serve as a basis for customer expectations.
You must only work with realistic targets, to avoid unnecessary frustrations. If you are to conduct the process of setting goals, a good idea is to rely on a guideline.
It’ s an action plan specifically used to set constructive goals for your business.
Create official records about any deals
Nothing is more important than to remain true to your words. Unfortunately, however, it’s not possible to know whether everyone enjoys the same honesty.
Nothing prevents someone from claiming that your company has not fulfilled its commitments unless you can count on official records.
So, document all deals made by your company, making the specifics of each situation very clear. Documents should be unambiguous in stating what the initial terms of an agreement were, besides clearly indicating whether both parties respected them.
In addition to being vital from a legal point of view, official records are documents that can be used to provide updates to the customer. After all, they indicate what the expectations were when signing the contract, showing when and where they were met.
Learn how to say no
I know it’s hard to turn down an opportunity when it knocks on your door. Still, one of the most important tips to manage expectations from clients is knowing when to say no.
Accepting projects and requests that go beyond your capabilities at the moment will generate nothing but problems.
The reasons for rejecting a new client or project are varied. You may not have enough staff to handle more than a certain number of accounts without overwhelming your teams. By doing so, you would put productivity and brand image at risk.
The point is: if you think it’s not feasible, you must say no.
If you are not clear when setting goals that can be achieved, the consumer may submit unrealistic requests. If this happens, you should politely inform them that you are not able to perform what is being asked and, if possible, present alternative solutions.