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Managing Client Expectations

Are you creating unrealistic expectations? Can you actually deliver what you present? Client expectation management is one of the greatest challenges business owners face. Your competencies relative to completing the work is no longer the only factor for a satisfied client. Business owners are challenged with managing client expectations because they fail to address one key factor and that is the “expectation gap.” The expectation gap is the gap between what value the client perceives (s)he will get from your product or service and the actual value received. As a business owner, you must be diligent in your efforts and be absolute in your description of the products or services you provide. Why?

Customers do not successfully navigate the gap without your input. You must outline and be specific about what you are offering, so that the customer is capable of visualizing reality. The smaller the gap, the easier the navigation process. Your customers are seeking more than just your ability to successfully complete the job. Your customers desire a firm understanding of the quality of your products / services and that you have a grasp of their hierarchy of needs. Additionally, and especially in the age of social media, clients want to make sure you are open and honest about the services you provide or the quality of your product. When clients are satisfied, they will post various positive comments about your product(s) and service(s), thus enhancing your business growth. However, the opposite is also true for unsatisfied clients. The bottom line is if your clients are not satisfied with the quality of your service, they will take their business elsewhere.

Despite the industry your business serves, it is vital to your success that you are able to successfully manage your clients’ expectations and demonstrate to them you are in business to serve them. Take the time to learn your customers. The more you operate in tandem with the needs of your customers, the easier your task will be to shrink the “expectation gap.” Many businesses find themselves behind the proverbial eight ball because in their plight to increase their customer base, they create unrealistic expectations about their service or overstate the quality of their product.

As a small business owner, you must become more aware that potential clients are researching prior to having any contact with your business. Therefore, you must be more diligent with the content on your websites and other communication mediums. Businesses that service providers, must especially become more engaging because your client base is seeking your communication to be personalized, engaging and interesting. Today’s customers are easily distracted and seek immediacy. Your business expectations are being driven by client experiences. So, how often do you take an inventory of your client’s experience? Here are my top five steps for effective client management.

  1. Build a relationship grounded in trust, understanding and empathy.

  2. Set specific and reasonable goals.

  3. Maintain constant communication (oral and written).

  4. Be receptive to change (develop an effective change management plan).


As a business owner, you must know not every client will agree with you nor will you please every client. You cannot be responsible for the actions of others but you are responsible for the expectations and dynamics you set.

If you are a business owner and you are facing client expectation challenges, the time to take action is now. Contact me at You cannot be held responsible for what you don’t know, but your clients will inevitably hold you accountable for not seeking help to improve your client management skills. Don’t miss out because you failed to reach out… I’m here to serve you.

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