Exceeding the client’s expectations is a worthy goal, but one that is seldom met. If you manage to exceed your client’s expectations, you still have only succeeded in meeting half of your obligation to the client.
Every client has expectations. A client may expect a number of things to happen during the course of the project: they may expect to be kept fully informed; they may expect any problems or issues to be eliminated quickly; they may expect certain things to happen at certain times; such as delivery or billing; they may expect notification and coordination; or any number of other expectations. Moreover, your client will probably have several expectations, not just one.
In addition to expectations, clients also want results–those things they fully expect your efforts toward their expectations to deliver. As with expectations, each client will have his or her own priorities for results. One client’s top priority may be efficiency, another sales and revenue, or any number of priority goals depending on their particular business needs.
When a project does not meet both the client’s expectations and desired results, the project is less successful. In order to be able to expect referrals, develop a reputation of excellence, and to be viewed by customers and clients as an expert source, you must make it your top priority to meet, and hopefully exceed, both your client’s expectations and results priorities.
How, then, can you make sure that you are fully aware of the client’s expectations and result priorities? You must sit down with every client and discuss in detail exactly what the deliverables will be. There isn’t any other way of making sure that you are both on the same page. Unfortunately, most companies assume they know what the client’s expectations are.
Once you have clearly defined what your client expects and what their priorities are, you can take dead aim at meeting their wants and needs precisely, without any doubt as to which activities and issues you must pay particular attention to in order to have fully met and hopefully, “exceeded your client’s expectations.”