Managing expectations

8 September 2015

I am sure many business owners have heard the phrase “under promise, over deliver” but how many people actually achieve this? Managing customer expectations is very difficult in any business, but even more so with as many unknowns as we have. Documenting the process of an intestate case claim from the outset would be almost impossible. How does a case come to be listed by the Government Legal Department? The list of possibilities for this part alone is endless before we even start the next stage of the process…. a case referral may be sent from a bank holding funds, an insurance policy, copyright/royalties, stocks, shares, ISAs…. and so many more.  After potential beneficiaries have signed with us, some expect that the matter will take a matter of minutes to resolve and their money be claimed. Yes, seriously – believe me, they do! We frequently receive calls saying “We haven’t heard from you in a week”! These are generally met with “That’s because we haven’t heard any further news in relation to your case.”


Communicate, Communicate, Communicate. One of the best ways to manage expectations is to make sure you communicate with everyone on a frequent basis. Not over the top though…. there is a fine line. Writing once a week to tell a client that there is no news for four weeks running is not going to instill confidence! It might be true but perhaps it does not need to be explicitly laid out with such regularity …. Longer running cases just need a quick ‘tap’ once in a while to say “We are still here, representing you, doing what needs to be done on this matter“, so that the potential beneficiaries know you still have their case near the top of your pile.

Expectations are deeper and broader than ‘requirements’. Expectations are our client’s vision of a future state or action, usually unstated but which is critical to our success: A client who “wants the project to be done quickly,” or who “wants to be involved in all the details” or “not involved at all”.

So, what is the crucial part of managing expectations? Tell your clients what you are going to do (leaving out a small – but important – part). Then, do what you say you’ll do, plus the extra part, sooner than you thought you could achieve it! Happy customers all round.

Source image: Managing Expectations

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