Expectations and communication are key components of every relationship. Whether you are engaging with a customer, coworker, or a relative, setting expectations early on can help avoid miscommunications and trouble for everyone in the future.
Let’s use the example of a customer, or in our case as a web design company, a client. When first speaking with a client, we are both getting to know each other, and understand what each side requires in order for this relationship to be successful.
Depending on your business, you can decide if free or paid consultations are something you can offer.
For us, it’s necessary and extremely helpful to make sure that we fully understand a client’s current situation, what they are looking to accomplish, and what their parameters are before an accurate estimate can be provided.
We also like to take this time during the consultation phase to verify that we all get along. If we are all on the same page, and the client is comfortable moving forward, we prepare our agreements.
Read the Contract
Everything that a client expects to be included in the project needs to be spelled out in writing.
If an item is not included, but a client inferred that it would be, we want to make sure this is discussed now instead of down the line when they are wondering why that item has not been completed yet. It’s imperative that a client reads the contract because it is the last necessary step to ensure we are all on the same page before we jump in and get started on the project.
Part of our design process is to provide our clients with a Creative Brief to review and fill out. We do this because we want to confirm that everything that was discussed previously is still relevant, (people can always change their mind) and we want to verify that a client understands just how much participation we need from them in order to meet the goals for the project.
Frequent Updates & Communication
We have a dedicated project coordinator here at Border7 who takes on this role, and she works to make sure that our clients receive frequent status updates, and know what we need from them in order for us to complete work on our end.
Setting expectations might seem like a massive undertaking, but it does not have to be. The best thing you can do is organize the information you would like to present/discuss, explain what this information means to you, any parameters that you might have, and make sure it is in line with the other person. If they agree, then everyone is on their way to a successful work environment, relationship, project, etc.