Help your clients fall in love with your business 3

In other to make your client fall in love with your business, learn to manage customer’s expectations. Far too many negative experiences with customers actually boil down to unmet expectations. The customer expected something, but you didn’t deliver — perhaps the expectation never even occurred to you, or maybe outside factors you couldn’t control got in your way. It happens to us all. The good news is that you can fairly easily solve this problem to a large extent simply by managing expectations from the beginning.

Here’s how to do that:

First step: Find out what the customer expects as soon as possible. Talk to them, but most importantly, ask open-ended questions during your earliest conversations and listen to understand customer perception.

Open-ended questions are those that require something more than just a simple “yes” or “no” in response. Some examples of questions you could use for customer feedback in managing expectations are:

  • Where does what I do/sell fit into your overall goals?
  • What kinds of results do you expect?
  • What else has to happen in your life or business in order to meet your goals?
  • What’s your ideal timeframe?

And then? Listen to what they tell you, as this customer feedback will help improve customer life.

If speaking directly with your customers isn’t feasible, consider conducting a survey with the same kind of open-ended questions and ask your prospects and customers to respond. You might want to offer some kind of incentive — a discount or loyalty card for instance — to get more responses.

Second step: The key to managing expectations with a new customer or client is to be thorough and honest before purchase regarding all even moderately important terms.

Think “full disclosure,” keeping in mind that what’s important to them may not be important to you. So you want to approach this from your customer’s perspective to ensure customer satisfaction.

Another crucial technique is to under-promise and over-deliver.

It’s really tempting — especially for new small business owners/consultants — to expect too much of yourself and be highly motivated to “do whatever it takes” to close the sale.

But if you do that, you very well may end up not being able to finish on time or as promised and the customer will be disappointed.

So, instead, do the opposite. In other words, if you think you can deliver a finished product or service in two days, promise they’ll have it in four days.

Then if you do manage two days, they’re impressed! This can go a long way towards improving customer retention rates. But if something unexpected pops up — which it often does when you’re the boss, trust me — you’ve got a built-in safety net.

Third step: Communicate well and often with the client or customer.

Often a situation goes bad only because the customer doesn’t know what’s going on.

Remember, they can’t see behind the curtain. They don’t see you working for hours. They don’t understand what goes into delivering the product and service.

And they get more nervous as days tick by with no word from you.

From your end, things may be going perfectly — but the customer is growing more anxious every day. Then, when you finally deliver as promised, they’re not delighted. They can even be a little grumpy.

That means you’ll have to work extra-hard to keep their business and persuade them to come back again and again and the journey to help them fall in love with your brand and build customer loyalty will be much more difficult.

Do whatever you can to stay in touch with your customers. Communicate with them as promised and expected, especially for complaints or service questions.

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