19 Mar Where Did That Expectation Come From?
Where Did That Expectation Come From?
Occasionally we’re asked: “Tell me about Clients for Life®”? One answer would be to say that, Clients for Life is a formal process of client retention. At its’ heart, however, Clients for Life is an expectations-based, value creation model. We teach firms to create sustainable value, by understanding and meeting their client’s corporate expectations in a way that is specific, measurable and prioritized.
Expectations are highly important to the successful management of client relationships. They are the key drivers of value. Did you know that there is a psychology of expectations and how they are formed?
Expectations come from two sources, communications and experience.
- Communications: These are the messages we see, hear or read about something. If we were going out to a new trendy restaurant, we would very likely be somewhat influenced by advertising we had seen, reviews in the media, recommendations of friends, etc. All of these inputs create a certain level of expectation in our minds and it is against this expectation that we judge the success of the culinary outing.
- Experience: Once we’ve dined at the restaurant, our expectation of the next visit we plan will be almost solely based on the experience we had the first time. This experience is powerful and now it largely overwhelms the original expectations we had formed. The degree to which the experience consistently meets and exceeds the value we expected to derive, is the degree to which we are satisfied – or hopefully even thrilled – by the encounter.
When dealing with clients, it is important not only to understand their expectations but also to manage their expectations. It is helpful in managing expectations to have a good idea where they came from. Do they trace back to communications (from our sales force, referrals or references)? Are they from experience with past providers or others? Managing the client’s expectations to align with the capabilities of the firm, the scope of work proposed, and particularly the financial resources available, are central to managing the client experience and sustaining the relationship.
The key tool for understanding and managing client expectations, from the very beginning of the relationship, is the discipline of the Transition Meetingsm. For Tenacity’s clients, it’s unthinkable to start a contract without clearly knowing what the client expects, how they’ll measure success and how they’ll prioritize expectations. Of course, we must also have confidence that we can meet and exceed them. Finally, we need to have certainty that the client understands our expectations of them.
Haven’t you found that getting off to a positive and fully aligned start is better, easier and more profitable than trying to recover from misunderstandings caused by poorly defined expectations? We have – we’ve already been to that painful and expensive seminar.
John & Steve