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Setting Client Expectations: 4 Key Steps to Consider

Updated: Dec 5, 2023

We’ve all been there. You think you did an amazing job on a project. You share the results with your client… only to discover that they aren’t pleased with it.

So, what went wrong?

It turns out your client expected one thing and you delivered something totally different.

The question is: Is it your fault?

The Importance of Setting Client Expectations

Managing client expectations isn’t always easy. But, getting clear on what your clients truly need is very important.

The Importance of Setting Client Expectations

Running a business can be incredibly challenging, particularly for new entrepreneurs. The last thing you need is a disappointed client consuming what valuable time you have.

By establishing clear expectations from the very start, you can ensure that you meet your client’s requirements, deliver on time, and complete the project as expected.

But, how exactly do you go about setting client expectations? What do you need to do?

Setting Client Expectations

Not sure how to go about setting client expectations? Below, we outline some steps you can take to ensure that you and your clients are on the same page.

4 Key Steps to Consider

1. Listen.

Ask questions to understand your client’s business and pain points. At this stage, allow your client to do most of the talking. By allowing your client to express their needs, you’ll have a better idea of what their core expectations are.

Make sure you really understand what your client wants before you start strategizing on a project. Inquire about the timeline, brand messaging, budget – anything that might affect the way your client will ultimately feel about the project outcome.

2. Clarify.

After you have a better understanding of what they need and want from you, don’t just move ahead and close the deal. Instead, take the time to clarify any lingering questions or concerns. This is important so you can clear out any misunderstandings.

For instance, our virtual assistant team offers a broad range of services from content writing to basic video editing. Initially, a client may say that they only need some basic video editing… only to realize after being asked that they also need some captions or social media content for their videos, too.

3. Set Realistic Expectations.

Some clients have big visions and dreams, so temper their expectations with a dose of reality. Talk with your client and focus on setting realistic goals together. If you’re working on a specific project, really look at the project specifics to determine what’s possible. Make sure they understand they can’t go from 0 to 100 overnight.

Also, be completely transparent about what you can and can’t do. Make sure that your client is aware that you may encounter roadblocks and challenges as you’re doing the project. This will help avoid frustrations down the road.

4. Document.

Having a verbal consultation isn’t always enough – make sure to write them down! Many disagreements arise from misunderstandings of what was said during initial consultations. This is why it’s important to have a written document that clearly outlines your client’s goals and expectations.

Having something written down ensures that everyone is on the same page. Plus, you can use this document as a reference if anything comes up in the future.

The Takeaway

Your relationship with your client can turn out to be a minefield if expectations aren’t set properly. There’s a lot at stake for both you and your client. So, it’s important that a foundation for success is established from the very start.

Looking for an affordable virtual assistant? Book a Discovery Call today and let’s discuss what you can expect from working with a virtual assistant.


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