Setting Expectations with Customers - Docket

Setting Expectations with Customers

In the current era of technology, there has been a change in consumer expectations so managing customer expectations can be challenging. And for those companies that offer services with low to no-touch contact, this is typically handled through automated technology with the risk that not everyone gets the best message or can be misunderstood.  While direct relationships between a customer and sales through a client meeting are still possible, the importance of managing customer expectations should be clearly articulated to employees at every level so that they can understand why setting expectations is important in balance with how to manage customer needs.

From managing customer expectations in professional services to managing customer expectations in healthcare, managing client expectations and professional risks should be of the utmost importance of arming your staff with all they need to know to take care of your customers.

Why is setting expectations with customers so important?

Think about a time when you signed up for a credit card at a great rate. Typically, those rates have a short term making way for a new, much higher rate so that the managing bank receives a higher yield. While some read the fine print, many of us do not and wonder why our fees jump. Expectations of these special and temporary rates are typically set in the fine print which can frustrate the person who is caught off guard by the fee jump, tempers flare, calls are made, and many times, the customer cancels and moves on to the next bank with low rates. 

When it comes to setting client expectations, meaning, advising your customers on what they should expect from your company from pricing and payment, to services, to product downtime and development cycles, this starts with employee training so they understand why setting expectations is important. Handling/managing client expectations and problem resolution as a customer service training course is useful to anyone in any role within your company. Client service training for those with a client-facing role may seem automatically relevant but what about those that are not client-facing? If a non-client facing employee understood customer expectation and perception, perhaps they would think differently about their work and those that are directly affected by the resulting effects of client expectations vs reality.

How do you set customer expectations?

Customer service training curriculum should not only comprise customer complaint training.  The key is to be able to manage client expectations upfront as learned in managing customer expectations training or during client service training. A company should articulate the components of customer expectations, whether it be 5 customer expectations or 10 customer expectations,  as learned from past client interactions. Providing them with a comprehensive list of customer needs and expectations examples, customer service training for IT professionals or any industry will help strengthen your employees to be more well-rounded, considerate, and supportive to your customers.

Balancing expectations against performance

When managing client expectations vs budget, understanding how to manage sales teams, inside sales expectations, and outside sales rep expectations,  defining what to expect from your sales team is key. If leadership expectations for employees are not clear, how can they have confidence in the expectations they need to set for customers? And how will they act in regards to determining whether their goals are more important than how they prepared their customers? 

Run expectation setting activities and work cross-functionally as a leadership team, to discuss and document examples of setting clear expectations to help with managing expectations, sales, and process. For those companies that are built on significant compliance rules, educating managing client expectations law from a layman’s perspective is also a great way to ensure your employees are as educated as possible on what both they and the customer should expect from your products and services.

Expectations by example

The best way to educate both employees and customers is with clear information and example. For employees, an expectation setting template and setting expectations examples will be most helpful as a guide. For those in sales, providing sales accountability plan templates or sales  expectation templates are a great way to provide clarity as well. And with other roles, when setting clear expectations activity or training, providing employee performance expectation examples or setting expectations with employees template as a guide for will arm those who need to train or convey these expectations consistently.

Communication is key

When sharing expectations, find a way to handle this as personable as possible so the customer feels informed and understood. If a direct meeting is an option, use a meeting tool like Docket to share any and all information through a professional agenda that offers templates to help your teams share consistent, yet personalized information from client to client. This will make expectations setting a more natural part of the process while showing your customers what they can expect from you and your company with greater confidence.

About the Author

Heather Hansson

Heather is VP of Product and Chief of Staff at Docket. She enjoys leading cross-functional teams to work together on vision, strategy, and implementing solutions that help people work and live better. When she isn’t helping rid the world of wasteful meetings with Docket, Heather likes to run, take violin lessons with her son, and spend time with her family.

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