Agency vs. Client Expectations

So, you just signed a new client. Time to celebrate! After all, you just spent weeks (if not months) taking meetings, determining marketing goals, and learning everything there is to know about your new client. However, while starting a new partnership can be exciting, it can quickly become frustrating if you don’t set your expectations, and your client’s expectations, early on.

So, what’s the point of setting these expectations? To start, your client already has tasks that they expect you to complete based on your meetings and their marketing goals. However, one important note that often gets overlooked is that your client has responsibilities that they need to stick to in order for you to do your best work. Outlining these expectations, and adhering to them, will not only protect you and your clients but will also help make your work process simpler and less stressful.

Below are five tips to help you set expectations with your clients!

1. Determine your tasks

First thing’s first, establish what your clients expect of you and what responsibilities you have to their company. These tasks obviously include the work itself but even go so far as to list when you will respond to their emails and what happens in the case that you need to cancel a meeting. Other important notes to mention include how you will honor their ideas, how frequently you will be providing updates, and how your clients should approach you with feedback and requests. Feel free to get creative here. You know your needs better than anyone!

2. Make a list of what you expect from your clients

Next, you will want to make a list of everything that you expect from your client. Needs may differ between clients, so it is okay to keep things broad but make sure you cover your bases. This should include the basics, such as showing up to meetings on time, sending you updates in a timely manner, and paying invoices by their due date. However, the expectations should also include previously agreed-upon responsibilities. Is the client in charge of approving all content before it goes out? Make sure to include a timeframe for edits. If they have complaints, who should they reach out to? Additionally, it is important to clarify that while they may be an expert in their field, you are the expert in marketing. Reiterate that they should trust your judgments, and kindly remind them that your goal is to help their business grow!

3. Be firm but not off-putting

It can be tricky to create a balance between standing your ground and creating a welcoming environment for your clients. However, setting these expectations, and sticking to them, will only help you grow your business and improve customer satisfaction in the long run. When you’re outlining these expectations, make sure to be firm with your boundaries as well as what you expect from your client. However, it’s also important to ensure that your client knows that they can come to you with any question, problem, or concern. After all, they are trusting you with an important aspect of their business. When they feel comfortable and confident, you can do your best work!

4. Ensure that the client understands these expectations

So, when should you present these expectations to your client? Generally, we recommend presenting your expectations document after they officially sign-on. However, this will depend on your personal work process! At Muse, we outline our expectations with each client after they sign their contract to ensure that they understand their responsibilities versus ours. Not only does this help the client understand our work process, but it also helps us start their project with confidence!

5. Be open to changes

As your business grows, you and your clients’ needs and expectations will evolve. That’s ok! In fact, it’s a good thing. As these changes start to take shape in your business, check in on your expectations guide every once in a while and make edits as necessary to protect yourself and your clients.

Additionally, be open to any feedback that your customers may have. If you start hearing the same critiques from different clients, use that to determine how you can offer a better experience. After all, these expectations are here to help create trust and build a strong foundation for your partnerships!