The Importance of Setting Client Expectations Up Front!

The Importance of Setting Client Expectations Up Front! 900 600 Kari Switala

A year ago, my husband and I were walking through land we own in Northern Minnesota when we came to my favorite spot. As we stood there admiring the tall white pines and the blue skies, I said, “I have an idea!” To which my husband groaned, did a little eyeball roll, and said, “This should be good.” (insert sarcastic look here).

I then proceeded to tell him about my vision to build a treehouse in the tall white pines. This would be a place where we could come and relax, read a book, write a blog, etc. I was envisioning a treehouse similar to one of the projects on the show Treehouse Builders. If you’re not familiar with that show, picture the treehouse from the movie The Swiss Family Robinson. You get the picture right? Big. Elaborate. Expensive.

After I laid out my vision, my husband said something I’ve heard only a few times in our 15 years of marriage. He said, “I think that’s a great idea!” After the initial shock wore off and I checked to see if he was feeling all right, we began walking back to our cabin while creating a mental checklist of all of the items we would need.

The next weekend, my husband began building the treehouse. After several weeks of hard labor, he asked me to come and check out his progress. I was ecstatic and instantly saw myself drinking a glass of Kendall-Jackson Chardonnay while reading my new Lorna Landvik book and enjoying the gentle breeze of the white pine trees.

We finally get to my favorite spot and my husband says, “Ta-Da…what do you think? It’s awesome isn’t it?” I was rendered speechless. You see, my husband and I apparently had very different visions and expectations about our treehouse. While I imagined an amazing gazebo in the sky, my husband saw an elaborate deer stand.

As a deer stand our treehouse is incredible (just ask any hunter!).

As a treehouse . . . not so much.

What happened, and how can you apply this to your interactions with your clients?

Here was our issue: neither of us clearly communicated our expectations for the treehouse. We both had very different visions and expectations. My husband is thrilled with the “treehouse”, but I was left dissatisfied.

This same scenario can happen when you onboard  new clients, too. Do you clearly communicate what your client can expect from you (and vice versa)? Do you share the timeframe in which they can expect to see results from your products or services? Do you share this information EVERY TIME you bring on a new customer? Is there a SPECIFIC time in your customer’s journey when it is best to communicate this information?

Let’s unpack these questions a bit.

  1. Do you clearly communicate  what  your client can expect in terms of results and a timeframe for completing them? First, write down  the steps you follow when bringing on a new client. Are there any holes or gaps you see? Second, determine the expectations you need to communicate with your new client and write them down. Finally, write down the expectations you have for your client; after all, it’s a two-way street!  You often can’t do your work without information or feedback from the client.
  2. Review the steps you wrote down and ask yourself if you follow these steps every time. If not, highlight the ones you’re missing and ask yourself why you’re missing them. Is it because you don’t have enough time? Maybe you are just overwhelmed with taking on more clients than you can handle at one-time?
  3. Take a look at your notes and think about how you could streamline how you communicate expectations. Is it a process you could automate to ensure new clients are well taken care of without you tracking all these steps in your head EVERY TIME

If you cannot answer a resounding YES to thisquestion, then I would definitely recommend exploring how marketing automation can help you retain your customers and turn them into raving fans by clearly communicating expectations up front!

We practice what we preach…  Here’s how Wild Fig Marketing communicates client expectations and key information with marketing automation.

  1. Once a prospect converts to a client, we send them a welcome email with a payment link to start the onboarding process.
  2. After they’ve clicked the payment link and successfully paid, a thank you page appears with a request to schedule our first strategy session and a link to our calendar.
  3. Once a client has scheduled the strategy session, we send a sequence of automated emails to the client at KEY times during the beginning of our relationship. The first email in this sequence addresses expectations for both the client and for us. It also asks them how they’d like to be communicated with and what’s most important to them in a vendor relationship. The following emails help prepare them for our first strategy session and educate them on the marketing services we’ll provide.

This onboarding process took us about 6 hours to build. But it has saved us hundreds of hours so we can focus on what we do best: marketing!

To schedule a 15-minute exploratory conversation to discover if marketing automation can help you increase client retention and save you hundreds of hours, click the following link and find a time that works best for you:

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