7 Tips on Managing Client Expectations

Blog / March 21, 2017

Russ Ruffino | Client ExpectationsUndue unhappiness and dissatisfaction from clients can throw a wrench into a somewhat successful project. Even when you may seem to be on task, mismatched or undefined customer expectations can result in you receiving a hostile or angsty phone call. The best way to combat dissatisfaction or confusion is to answer any and all questions during the onboarding process. More than that, document expectations –making sure nothing goes unchecked.

Following that initial phone call, and make sure you and your client know all the goals, the detailed plans, and explanations of your agency works. There’s also a number other things you can do to manage client expectations:

Establish Expectations

You have to set expectations to achieve them. Determine deadlines, desired results, business objectives, communication preferences, staffing preferences, and budget constraints. Know when to meet and exceed expectations.

Develop A Strategy

Walk your clients through a gameplan. Spell out an individualized approach, taking into account expectations, budgets, and potential outcomes. A part of preparation is designing contingency plans.

Be Realistic

Rather than telling your client anything they might want to hear, you should update your client as often as possible. Being proactive helps to strengthen business and personal relationships. That transparency can be substantial for your client in the case that there are disappointments. You gain credibility when you’re open and honest.

Earn & Keep Trust

Beyond being realistic, give your client consistent and unfading attention throughout your entire partnership. If your client feels understood and heard,  and if you meet deadlines, your clients will have faith in your ability.

Maintain Boundaries

Some clients don’t know when they’re stepping over the line, so it’s  important to offer a reminded. A significant part of setting expectations is letting your client know when you’re willing to go above and beyond, and when their micromanaging is derailing your or broader customer success. Clients need to understand the importance of minor developments and distance.


Don’t fail to communicate and track the work that you’ve done so that your client isn’t surprised when they receive a sizable bill in the mail. When setting expectations, identifying a budget should be a part of that conversation. Your client should never be surprised by a bill.

Set Timelines

Communicate schedules,  agendas, and resolutions. Ease stress by always giving clients what they need to reach goals.

Some additional words to live by: always underpromise, deliver unexpected results, and overcommunicate.

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Russ Ruffino
Founder & CEO of Clients on Demand. Helping coaches, consultants, thought-leaders and service pros attract the right clients, at the right price, anytime they want.

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