How to exceed client expectations with effective feedback?
Reading time: 4 min.
1. Set clear and realistic expectations

1.1 There is something of both science and art in the right approach to managing expectations. The first step is setting expectations correctly.

1.2 In my opinion, a good approach is to promise only what you can realistically deliver and not promise what you are not sure of. It is precisely because of the incorrect passage of this stage that a large number of tragic results occur in business relationships: waste of time, nerves, money, reputation. No matter how much your desire to please may try to promise the unnecessary and impossible (this habit is often found among managers who do everything possible to “make the client happy”) - please do not give in. Be reasonable and adequate.

2. Provide regular and timely feedback

2.1 Stay ahead of your client's questions - keep them in the know about what's going on in your joint project so they have a clear understanding. If the client has questions, then most likely you are missing something. Take a leadership position rather than a follower position; an expert, not a journeyman. Don't react, but act proactively. In fact, it often happens that the client receives information only after kicking the manager - please do not form such habits.

2.2 Request regular feedback in a variety of ways. Constantly create opportunities for feedback. Make sure (and record) all key stakeholders are not just satisfied, but excited about your work. This requires attention and energy but produces good results.

3. Customize and personalize feedback

3.1 For a good relationship, not only a convenient feedback format is important, but also the entire format of communication. Remember that your goal is not just to deliver value, but to exceed it, so it is important to remember that the success of all collaborations depends on how you set the rules of the game.

3.2 The strategy of complete customization for the client is not always correct. Just like you come to the dentist: you don’t tell him what to do or how he talks to you, you come to treat your tooth, and he, as an expert, shapes the format of your interaction. The same is true in your case: study what feedback format the client uses, and if it is a good format for your project, use it. If not, correct it and explain the reasons.

4. Focus on solutions and results

4.1 Keep your focus on solutions, actions and results. Optimism + a confident outlook on the future is a good way to exceed client expectations and build strong relationships.

4.2 The more often you say and demonstrate that the work is going well (and sometimes even great), the calmer and more confident the client becomes, the higher the likelihood of fruitful cooperation. Nobody wants to work with people who are insecure and pessimistic, but everyone wants to work with a professional who can handle anything.

5. Ask for feedback and act on it

5.1 Continuing from the previous point, the more often a client leaves positive feedback about working with you, the more satisfied he is and the more often he will give good feedback about working with you in the future. It kind of becomes a habit. The client knows that no matter what happens, this guy (that is, you) has everything under control.

5.2 Record client feedback, save it as artifacts (screenshots, testimonials, videos, etc.). Let them all be in one place accessible to the client. In cases where his team has any questions for you, he knows exactly the big picture of working with you and can become your advocate.

6. Follow up and follow through

6.1 Create a permanent information bridge. At any moment, the client must know that everything is fine with the project and that his expectations are being met in the best possible way. Even if unexpected problems arise, he is confident that you will solve everything in the best possible way.

6.2 Follow-up is always important, but at key stages of a project its importance is enormous. Important and difficult sections of the project route (as in mountaineering) require special mutual understanding between teams, calmness, trust and lack of panic - this gives a high chance of success.

Key points

1. It doesn’t matter how much work has been done, how much resources and labor have been expended - if the client’s expectations are not met, if he is not satisfied, then everything was in vain. Expectations are what determine the future of your relationship with your client.

2. Please remember: promise what you can deliver, don't promise what you can't. It’s great if in the end you did more than you promised, bad if you did less.

3. Keep the client informed of what is happening. Make sure he really knows what's going on (there's a difference between formally sending a report, formally reading a report, and actually understanding what's going on).

Good luck!
Methodologist of Guidbase
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