Managing Client Expectations: 8 Essentials.

May 25, 2016 | Salman Akhtar
Managing Client expectations II


Everything is going wrong, nothing seems to encompass the bearings of what is about to happen; between managing the budget and the team, the winning idea seems to have disappeared as if it never existed;

The client is waiting, its two hours before the final deadline that she loses patience and picks up the phone.

The conversation is history, it revolves around how badly “You” have failed as an agency, your service delivery standards are poor, you fail to deliver on service standards and there is absolutely no quality in the work that has been delivered.

You are in shock. The whole explanation that you had of everything every step of the way has been destroyed. Your image in the market, your career and your repute all of it seems to be stumbling faster than a stack of cards arranged into a pyramid.

You try to investigate what went wrong, but most of it was just that in order to manage expectations between the client and your own team the end result was a compromise which was ugly and purpose less.

But was that not the main problem, the problem lied essentially in how communication was not fluid, in a quest to keep the client happy, by adjusting every minor detail they wanted to be incorporated the original winner was lost in the wilderness.

This is a situation that is faced by all and sundry in an official environment. Today’s blog will reflect on essential tips and tricks that can be used effectively to manage client expectations.

Client Expectations

Maintaining a healthy and happy relationship with the client is essential for the survival of any business, it means that not only the principal client is happy but through word of mouth and appropriate visibility of the delivered work a good will or repute is created for any business.

Managing the expectations of someone that you are working for is a tricky task, let us see what can a potential pathway could be that can instill an environment where the situation described in the start of this peace does not happen ever again.

Ace II

Hold the Ace


There is so much that can be delivered by you because you are the professional and the client is not. Detailing everything that could be delivered based on certain factors playing out well is a tricky task. Don’t indulge in what can be done, only detail what will be done, ensure availability and no lag in communication but hold what can come if all goes according to plan. If it falls through it will be considered a huge bonus and can lead to a mutually beneficial working arrangement.



Every step of the way, keeping in view every minor detail and how it will impact the whole situation without the fear of failure is what keeps the communication process alive. The client knows what is going to happen when each of their seemingly tiny suggestions are incorporated.



Provide a detailed timeline and work sheet to the client so that the client knows that designing a simple image can take so much time. The client needs to know the effort that you are putting in to get the work done, respecting a profession that one knows nothing about can be a seemingly complex task, and it is complex until You simplify it. Also educate the client about how the industry works and the work ethic your business/agency follows.


Focus on Goals/Priorities

Separate the quint essential from the unimportant, the good from the evil and the important from the unimportant. Most of the mistakes that are made on the agency’s part stem from a sheer inability to communicate effectively and losing out on priorities. The catch is to be goal oriented as well as to have priorities listed and agreed upon with the client and not to waive from them.



In this day and age, any business that does not have established Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) is losing out on business repute and profits. With the most modern scrum and sprint techniques being used in the outsourcing industry, its only normal for a rational business to adopt some of these practices which detail every aspect of communication windows, timelines and reports for better harmony whilst working for a client.


DONOT Assume

Assuming is something that is considered bad, so bad that the word has been broken up into ass-u-me which means that if you assume you will make an ass out of you and me. This entails that if there are any significant developments which may not be so pleasant than just praying for it to become better or fixed is something that can find you in deep trouble sooner or later.



The term report here refers to how reporting is considered a rather unnecessary thing, do not make that mistake. Having every minor detail written down in pen and ink can serve as a reminder to both parties about what was discussed and finalized at an earlier date.


Budget (Talk about it)

Talking about the budget and knowing the willingness of the client to spend on different sub-sets within the allotted budget can result in defining and redefining set priorities, weighing the extent of effort or work forgone due to a small budget cut and a discussion upon it maybe the best thing that You have not tried out yet.



On a final note, understanding the client needs and making the client understand your needs is a process that goes hand in hand with all the essentials mentioned above, communicating as equals whilst keeping your integrity intact so that there are no situations which are too difficult to handle.

Author: Salman Akhtar

Salman Akhtar likes to portray brilliance into whatever he wants to do, in this undying quest heirarchy and structure dies and is taken over by a euphoric feeling of doing everything right.

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