So much time, money and energy goes into winning a new customer. The process gets even more difficult when the “happy” customer turns into a “hard to please” customer or the project hits some unexpected complications that are out of your control. This is why we suggest you take steps to manage client expectations to help keep these temperamental issues to a minimum. Here are three smart steps for you to follow:

1. Communicate clearly what a customer can expect from you. Whether in an email, a contract, and on your website, it’s important to spell out in writing, not just verbally, exactly what you will and won’t do and what’s covered in the proposed cost. If you encounter changes requested by your client that were not included in your agreement, be sure to communicate verbally and in writing any extra costs that the changes will incur.

2. Develop a plan with details, goals, and date targeted for project completion. Present this to your customer with the complete overview stating the objective(s), the budget details and goal date for project completion. This not only allows your customer a guideline with which to manage their expectations, but more importantly assures them that you have every intention to meet their expectations in a strategic and timely manner.

3. Don’t be afraid to discuss the budget throughout the life of the project.  In a healthy customer relationship, “money” shouldn’t be a dirty word. Otherwise, you put yourself at risk for major budgetary miscommunications, an unhappy client, and most likely some lost revenue.

How you manage your client expectations begins on day one of the business to client relationship. Be direct, transparent, and dependable, and you will build a sense of trust with clients that keeps them coming back.