There was recently an incident in our office where the coffee machine was being replaced and there would be no water for two days.
This was discovered from a note on the kitchen bench on the day there was no water.
That was all the notice we received.
Why was I annoyed? Was it because I was thirsty? Could I not be bothered to go to another tap? Am I too precious about my first world problem?
Whilst all was true, my frustration stemmed from my seemingly logical expectation that I’d have access to water when I wanted it and it was a surprise that this was not the case.
Last minute surprises are a sure fire way to build unhappy clients.
If prior notice had been given this would not have been an issue, the problem was my expectations had not been managed.
Managing your clients expectations is essential to avoid these types of awkward situations. Its nothing new but its definitely one of the most important techniques for success.
Ensuring the clients expectations are aligned correctly is critical, failing to do so can lead to
- In the best case, nasty surprises can evoke undesirable emotions and you will be the one bearing the brunt.
- Be prepared for a tirade but remember that you caused it through your mismanagement.
- This can be temporary or permanent and is usually related to the impact of the misalignment.
- It’s no big drama if water isn’t available for two days, but if it’s blow out in budget or timelines it can be severe.
- Trust is very difficult to build yet can be lost in an instant and once trust is gone it is very hard to maintain the relationship.
- Some surprises may be so extreme that the relationship cannot be rebuilt.
- This can not only derail the project but also your career and business. I’ve heard of situations where GM’s have threatened to spread bad words throughout their network if the project/product does not hold up to the expectations that have been set.
- If the damages call for it, the client may pursue legal action. Best to check your records are sound and hope you’re communications were accurate.
Save the surprises for your significant other, it is extremely important that you manage your clients expectations appropriately.
My next post will talk about how you can take the bull by the horns with techniques you can use to control the expectations.