Clients need to be reasonable and meet expectations too
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Clients need to be reasonable and meet expectations too

May 27, 2015

by Tony Vidler

It is not unreasonable to have reasonable expectations, is it?

Whenever we enter into an agreement with somebody else to work together on anything it is fair to say that we both have expectations about how the arrangement is going to work. That applies whether the arrangement is moving into a house together, helping each other along with a fundraiser, coaching a kids sports team, or doing business together.  Whatever it is we are about to do with that other person, both of us have expectations about how it is going to work, and generally speaking if both parties have reasonable expectations and are open about them there is a pretty good chance of things working out to everyone’s satisfaction.

One of the issues that comes up repeatedly in professional services is the tendency for relationships to get started the wrong way. One party sets the expectations and the other finds themselves running to obey.  To a degree this is natural, and there should be an overweighted emphasis upon meeting the customers expectations primarily seeing as they are paying for the professional service.  So it is to be expected that one party in business will have higher expectations than the other, and the other party has a higher obligation to serve.

But it is not all one-way traffic.

It is entirely reasonable for the service provider to have some expectations about how the business arrangement shall work.  It is reasonable (for example) that the service provider gets paid fairly and promptly for providing the service.

The most frequent reason why so many professional relationships get unbalanced and we find ourselves in a situation where we wish we’d never taken the client onboard in the first place is because both parties expectations were not made clear to begin with.  Clients need to be reasonable and business-like, and meet some basic expectations too.

In this weeks quick tips video we discuss what the reasonable expectations of a professional adviser might be, and how to position them at the commencement of an engagement in order to minimise the possibility of a client become that “account from hell”…

…watch the video to learn more… 

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