In business, expectation management is the formal process of gathering, integrating and measuring the expectations of a stakeholder or client during the life cycle of a project. It is a very powerful tool that is very essential during procurement, building and phases of business projects. All expectations should always be set before the project begins and all members taking part in the project should agree with it.
In a wider scope, a majority of people will claim whether a project has either failed or succeeded depending on whether it met its expectations. It is very possible for a project to fail regardless of whether it has met all its objectives depending on client’s perception. This might be as a result of failing to meet individual expectations.
The expectation process will vary from one project to another depending on the nature of the program. Some of the important components of expectation management include:
- An efficient communication framework;
- A status reporting mechanism;
- Tool for assembling client’s expectations and perception;
- Stakeholder repository;
- Expectation repository;
- Template for expectation management process.
In business, expectations can be categorized into two:
- They are the core measure of your success – They determine how close you were in meeting your client’s expectations. They are not dictated by your performance.
- They drive your client’s actions and decisions.
As observed, a client’s expectations are one of the most important elements of any project. This is why you should know how to develop an outstanding relationship with your client by managing their expectations. The following tips will assist you in developing great client expectations:
- Establish a strong relationship – This relationship should go beyond the business relationship. Knowing your client personal life is a great key in meeting their expectations as you will know his/her family, how they spend their leisure time, their interests, and their motivation. By mastering such small elements, you can directly translate them into the business relationship.
- Ensure there is a regular and reliable communication – Both the client and vendor should be able to communicate whether there is good or bad news. If there is no communication, there is bound to be lots of setbacks and problems in the relationship.
- Come to an agreement on strategy, goals and timelines – Until you agree on these three things, you are at a risk of not knowing what to do to succeed and how to measure the success if attained.
- Be the counselor – Your client is supposed to see you as the compass for the project. Don’t hesitate to offer advice, direction and business counsel. This makes you a very valuable partner in the relationship. Remember, a client will always come to you for outsourced or different ideas.
- Always listen – Since most clients are not always certain of what they want, you should be attentive at all times. For instance, if a client has poor communication skills, you should try repeating what he/she has said and request them to affirm the accuracy of the key takeaways that might have a negative impact on expectations.
- Be honest on the budget – Always let the client know how much money is required to execute the project. Most business relationships fail when the vendor is not clear and honest on budgets.