Small Business Tips: How To Manage Your Clients & Their Expectations

 

You know the deal. You’ve been dreaming about owning your own business since you can remember. You want to be your own boss and call your own hours. And then you do it, and you get your first clients. Maybe you’re lucky and maybe you get some easy clients where the relationship between you grows easily and organically. Where communication is seamless and without blame.

But eventually you will come across clients who need some management. Where the communication may not exist and you may find yourself chasing them week on week to no avail. Where there is blame laid at your doorstep for something that had not been asked of you.

After almost five years of having my own business I have had my share of problematic clients but I see them as a learning curve. Without these clients I wouldn’t have implemented certain processes in my business that now assist me to manage my current clients. Managing clients and their expectations comes down to doing two things well (and yes, they both involve communicating).

Collect A Clear Brief & Keep A Record

In your initial meeting, make sure you get a very clear understanding from your client what they expect from you. It’s also important that they understand what you do and the services you offer. I’m operating on the assumption that you’ve already provided a quote and they’re happy to go ahead with your services. If,in your meeting,  your client is asking you to do something additional that you don’t do, let them know that it doesn’t fall within your service offering and you won’t be able to help with that area.

After your meeting, take five minutes to create a document or email clarifying the agreement and the goal that you are working towards. This way you have a paper trail of the original arrangement. You will be surprised the number of times you’ll need to refer back to this.

Stay In Touch Regularly

If you’re like me and you work offsite, it’s important to stay in touch with your client regularly. The frequency of this contact is something you can clarify in your initial meeting.

Ask your client how they would like to be contacted: email, text or phone? If they say email is the best, ask them how often they check their email (I’ve had clients who say they’re contactable via email but what they don’t tell you is they only check once every other day).

Another thing to do is check if they would prefer you liaise with someone else in their team instead of direct to them.

You could also provide a monthly report either via email, phone call or text. You could take the opportunity in each report to reiterate the brief you have been given, so you can both be on the same page. I once had a real estate client ask me to create a community page for their suburb and the goal was to use this page to showcase the suburb, the local businesses and any events happening in that suburb. She wanted to create a page that fostered a community feeling. At one of our meetings she said “I don’t think this is working, we’re not generating any property sales from this Facebook page”. Internally I was thinking “whaaaatt?!” But externally, I took a deep breath and reminded her that the original request was to create a community page separate from her real estate business, so it made sense that her sales weren’t increasing. Frustrating, to say the least. But I had fortunately kept a record of our initial meeting that I could refer back to.

Also, I occasionally get emails or texts from my clients asking me to do/post things but they don’t give me a timeframe. Those are the times I have to go back to them and ask when they expect this to be done and I can give them a realistic expectation of when I can get to it.

Doing these things helps me manage my clients and their expectations. I hope it helps you with your business!  What else do you do to manage your clients and their expectations?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hardcastle Social Media is an independent social media consultancy based in Inner Brisbane.  We provide strategic social media marketing to organisations of all sizes and have recently started offering newsletter services too!  Specialising in Facebook & Instagram business page management we provide services from setting up your Facebook or Instagram business page through to total management of your current platforms.  Contact us today on 0401 505 423 or info@hardcastlesocialmedia.com.au.  We offer expert social media advice and look forward to discussing your business needs.

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