How to Meet Client Expectations
As web designer like a interior decorator, a home builder, a custom-anything builder or a retail store, you are faced with the ultimate challenge of meeting the client expectations of a project. You gather all the necessary information, the samples, the colors and more and you put it all together. You start the process of building what they want, you get feedback along the way. They offer this or that suggestion, you make the modifications and still stay within your personal budget for the scope of the job.
As the project moves along, you get the emails, “site/project looking good” and “thanks… can we also implement these changes”. No reason to be alarmed and you think to yourself, “site is looking good” and “these changes will be easy to implement”. So you keep on the game plan and plug away to finish up the project.
You get to 95% completion and the customer drops the bomb, “Well, it wasn’t exactly what we were looking for, we were hoping that the project would look more like this”. Heart stops as you look back on the hours logged for the project, the work put in to try to exceed expectations and a review of previous emails for clues to see if you missed anything along the way. No clues, nothing to lead you to think that you weren’t meeting the client expectations for the project.
What to do if you don’t Meet Client Expectations
- So now what do you do?
- Do you scrap everything and start from scratch?
- Do you show your client everything they gave you and point out how you met their goals of the project?
- Do you offer a new fee to totally modify the project to get them to where they want to be?
- Is there only one goal and that being the end result?
Meeting and/or exceeding client expectations is the most valuable part of client retention and client referrals. To do this requires delivering a consistent level of service and in some cases back-pedaling to meet those client expectations. The “wow” factor doesn’t necessarily have to come from when we present the finished product, it could come from their response when you went above and beyond the call of duty to deliver their ultimate goal, even if that goal wasn’t the original goal.
The best way to fix it or get back on track in meeting client expectations is to do a face-to-face and analyze where things went awry and try to reset the expectations. It will show that you really care about their business and you want to meet and exceed their goals. If you can accomplish their ultimate goal for the project, you will gain a loyal and hopefully lifetime customer. What do loyal customers do?
- Tell friends and family about your company
- Will go out of their way to buy more from your company
- Tend not to buy from other companies because you are their “go-to” guy
- Loyal customers aren’t as price sensitive
A big time company like Amazon strides at giving excellent customer service so that they maintain and retain their customer base. Amazon tries to delivery packages to your door step faster than the predicted date, exceeding your expectations. But you don’t have to be a big time company to be like Amazon. You can also strive to exceed expectations by delivering a bit more than the client wanted.
- Finish the project ahead of schedule
- Add some upgraded features
- Never argue about returns (Zappos philosophy) – as with a web design project, may mean starting from scratch again.
Here’s an example of how a customer wasn’t pleased with a wallet they had purchased, they didn’t return the wallet, but had commented on Reddit about it and then receive this letter and a replacement wallet:
The unit which we shipped out to you may not meet your expectations. And at the end of the day, those are the only ones that really count. If those expectation were met, that is great – but if they haven’t been, then please accept our apologies.
Based upon some very appreciated customer feedback, I have decided to replace your existing vegan wallet with a complete free upgrade. Out supplier let us down but that responsibility, ultimately, is our and ours alone. – Rogue Industries
A great example of exceeding customer expectations. Do you have an example of a potential failure, turned success story? I would love to hear about it.