Agency Challenge: Managing Client Expectations
Take a moment to imagine. You’ve spent all this time and energy working on a new campaign that you’re convinced your client is going to love. You walk into the next client meeting sure that they will immediately jump at the chance to start working on your budding ideas, but to your surprise, they don’t like what you’ve brought to the table. They may even hate what you’ve presented them with.
Surprisingly, this situation happens regularly in most agencies. What’s the culprit? Often it’s simply misunderstanding what your client wants, expects, or needs. While a good, defined on-boarding process can solve a lot of the issues that cause client expectations to go unchecked, there is still plenty of room for mistakes to fall through the cracks.
Without truly understanding your client’s needs, you can’t expect to create a satisfactory end product for them. Here are a few ways you and your team can get on the same page with your clients.
The first step to getting on the same page with your clients is to start by setting some goals. By setting mutually agreed-upon marketing goals that align with your client’s business goals, you can more effectively manage the success of future campaigns. Once these goals are established, you can point to these goals if they happen to request a last-minute project or want to completely re-start a campaign.
Have Detailed Plans for All Projects
It doesn’t matter if the project you’re working on is big or small, you’re still going to need a detailed plan of action that the client can refer to at all times. Having a solid plan can also help with managing expectations, as the plan also needs to outline what deadlines the client needs to meet as well as the deliverables your team needs to stay on track.
Always be Up front if Plans Change
This is a simple solution that can often get overlooked. Simply informing the client that approval dates have been missed and that their deliverables need to be moved accordingly to reflect the delay is enough. It’s ultimately your job to provide the client with results, so you should always consider what could be preventing you from getting the job done on time.
Increasing trust with your clients is one of the best ways to manage expectations. When you begin a relationship with your client, it’s important to communicate how your team works. Don’t be afraid to introduce them to the people who will be working on their account. This way, the client can put a face to the person who created their marketing materials.
Creating a list of promises that your team will keep is also ideal. Promises can include, responding to any email within 24 hours, or getting written approval before any additional costs occur.
Always Under Promise
While you may deliver a complete, lead generating website in less than a month, it is far from realistic. When you are sitting face-to-face with a client who states that a task needs to be completed in a small amount of time, it can be tempting to respond with, “Of course!” It’s important to give your team some cushion for the unexpected and then deliver ahead of time. If you happen to miss a deadline because you agreed to an unrealistic timeframe, then all the trust you’ve built with your client will quickly dwindle.
Understanding your client’s needs is the best way to provide them with a quality product that they will be excited about. Not only that, but they will also be more apt to want to work on even more projects with you and your team in the future.