Listening comprehension is a basic exercise in many foreign language textbooks. For us, project managers, this component has become a prerequisite for managing customer expectations and the success of any campaign. There is no formula to guarantee the success of any project, but there are some important rules in customer relationships that can take us a few steps closer to the goal or at least limit our obstacles on the way to it. In this article you will find tips that will help you manage customer expectations better and not feel lost in translation. 

Be honest and open from the beginning

Even before you start a game, it’s good to have the cards and the rules on the table. Therefore, be honest and open, defining the processes together with the client from the very beginning, sharing your approach and established structure of work, so that there are no surprises at the next stage. Then keep up to date with the project and agree on the strategic changes and steps you are considering. Even if the client trusts you and has given you freedom, do not overdo it. Keep him informed of the project by organizing short meetings to validate the direction in which you are working.

Discuss the next steps together and build a common timeline for the project. We at Xplora do the so-called “Sprints” and every 7-12 days from the start of the campaign we have meetings to discuss the status of the campaign and priorities. This process helps to distribute tasks in a timely manner, to manage potential crisis situations and provides peace of mind for both the team and the PM.

Delays often cause confusion and tension, so try to avoid them, and when you anticipate that they will happen – inform the client and give him a suggestion on what you need to change to achieve the expected result and re-enter the timing. We would advise you to talk to the client about your suggestions and show him how you will replan the next phases, without affecting the quality of the project.

Set expectations

At the beginning of a joint partnership or project, teams are often reluctant to point out problems or unrealistic goals set by the client, but later such topics become urgent to discuss. In such cases, the client may be disappointed that the team did not notify him in time. Each party must be aware of which goal is achievable and which is too optimistic based on the set timing, budget or potential of the project. By setting boundaries and forming realistic expectations in the client, you also gain his trust. Don’t be afraid to turn down a task or point out a problem. All you have to do is justify yourself.

It is important that the client is aware of the processes that your agency is working on, and it is good for the team to introduce those processes to them from the very beginning. Be specific about the way you work – for example, if you’re not ready to work on the weekends, let him know. You also need to understand the dynamics and the way the client works. Try to be flexible, and if you feel something is beyond your means, just
be honest and give a signal. 

Request more information

Do not settle for little or vague information. You need to get to know your customer and his business closely. Do not rely only on the brief – your conversations with the client will certainly give you even more clarity, and will melt the ice between you. Your curiosity and diligence to delve deeper into his business will definitely reward you. On the one hand, you will get a more stable foundation on which to step in your work, and on the other hand, you will show the client the attitude and depth of his project. Try to give clear signals that in order to do a good job and live up to his expectations, he must help you. Do not allow the client to abdicate his obligations to provide you with information and guidance. The most common discrepancies in the expectations in the final result of a project or task are the omissions in the briefing.

Summarize and analyze

Two of the important actions in the daily work of project managers is to summarize and analyze situations, meetings, projects and results. Often these two steps help the client to go beyond the operational work and look strategically at the project. In this way, he sees the big picture and can build clearer expectations or set priority next steps. These two approaches by PM can help to better understand the project and are also crucial in structuring it. Summaries sometimes sound like a repetition of a conversation or meeting that has already taken place, but their value is in setting priorities and managing customer expectations. When you analyze the situation and come up with clear conclusions, you set frameworks, expectations and give clear signals to the client, which in a way outline his views on the project. 

Project management is closely related to human relationships, in which expectations are always set. If you want to successfully manage customer expectations and at the same time build good relationships with your partners, keep in mind a few important points: 

  • Be honest and open 
  • Set clear and achievable goals
  • Maintain constant communication with the client 
  • Analyze and structure the project 
  • Follow well-established processes

We hope you found this article useful. For more practical tips and news in digital marketing, read the Xplora blog , follow us on social networks – Instagram , Facebook & Tiktok , and don’t forget to listen to our new podcast Xplore Marketing.