“Under promise and over deliver” – these are the very wise words of Tom Peters. It’s such a simple concept but in practice so few businesses manage to do it.

This baffles me.

If we manage our client’s expectations, if we let them know exactly what they can expect and then deliver on, and if possible over that expectation – every one is happy. And we all want happy clients, don’t we?

When we promise something and then fail to maintain that promise… well, as a supplier you get what you deserve. That client goes elsewhere (maybe not right away but eventually) and becomes somebody else’s happy client.

Your failure to deliver can be as simple as not replying to an email, saying “I’ll get back to you today” and then not doing so, or promising anything that is not then followed up.

Hang on a minute, I hear you say. Not responding to an email is not breaking a promise. Well, I say it is. This is all about that other person’s perception.

The implication when you ask someone for something by email is that they will have received that email, and read it. We all carry smartphones and tablets, we are plugged into the web all the time, we have no excuse.

You know it, and your client knows it too.

Getting it right

Getting this stuff right is so easy, but it does take a small change in mindset: that is, from one of me, to one of you. Your client isn’t interested in anything apart from their issue, query or problem. They want to feel looked after, important and loved.

This is just human nature.

So take a moment to think about how you communicate with your clients. A simple holding email or phone call, a simple “Hi, just received your email and I’ll get back to you shortly” makes an enormous difference.

Letting a client know what you can do, and when you can do it makes an enormous difference.

Managing that other person’s expectations, and then smashing those expectations with amazing performance, makes a world of difference.

Delight your clients. Over deliver. Every time.

Views: 210

Comment by Keith D. Halperin on February 20, 2014 at 1:44pm

Very sensible and true, James.



Comment by james nathan on February 21, 2014 at 5:45am

Thanks Keith, glad you liked it

Comment by Keith D. Halperin on February 21, 2014 at 12:50pm

You're very welcome, James.

I try and do much the same.

Comment by Mitch Sullivan on February 23, 2014 at 9:42am

James, when you talk about managing the client's expectations, I'm assuming you're not just talking about returning emails.

That being the case, do you mean that the agency recruiter should tell the client that statistically, there is only about a 20% chance that they're going to find them the right candidate?

Comment by james nathan on February 24, 2014 at 9:18am

If you only believe that you have a 20% chance of finding the right candidate, should you really be taking the business?

Comment by Mitch Sullivan on February 24, 2014 at 9:41am

Hi James

Sure, belief is one thing, but 20-25% is what ratio of jobs get converted into placements amongst specialists recruitment agencies.  In generalist agencies, it's more like 15%.

There's a big gap between what the agency is hoping is going to happen and what does actually happen statistically.

How might a recruiter manage that expectation gap?


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