Are You Giving Your Clients What They Expect?

icedmocha by TechSavi on FlickrI was in a coffee shop today. One of those cool, Faux-Euro-connected-to-a-book-store-Starbucks-alternatives. It’s actually a nice little coffee shop with comfy couches, nice music, and relaxing atmosphere. I asked the young lady at the counter…

“Do you have blended mochas?” (I know from experience that places like this don’t like it when you ask for a “frappacino” since that’s a Starbucks-specific drink.)

“Yes, we can make a blended mocha.” She replied with a smile.

“Oh, great. I’ll have one of those.” I answered.

When she ย gave me my drink, I noticed that it was an iced-mocha that was shaken (not stirred, apparently.)

“Um. Excuse me.” I said with a furled eyebrow. “This doesn’t really seemed blended enough.” (It actually wasn’t blended at all, but I was trying to be diplomatic.)

“We put ice in it ย and shake it, so the shaking makes it kind of frothy.”

Confused, I say, “But I asked if you had “blended” mochas.”

She replied, “Oh, that’s how we make our blended drinks.”

Still confused, I reply, “Oh. So it’s called “blended” by it’s not really, um, blended.”

“Yes.” She answered.

“Um. Oh. Okay. Uhhh, I guess I’ll drink it like this then.”

She then smiled and returned to talk to the boy behind the counter with her.

The moral of this story… one of the primary reasons for client dissatisfaction is not meeting expectations. Are you meeting your clients’ expectations. Better yet. Are you exceeding them?

11 thoughts on “Are You Giving Your Clients What They Expect?

  1. Hey Ron. I get everything in writing when I book a client, even “portfolio building” shoots, so that expectations are clear for both me and the client, using elements similar to your “Video Brief” described in “Refocus”. After listing items on our contract, I usually try to include something extra for their final delivery that doesn’t take too much of my time, but I know they would like to have, (like a lifestyle shoot that includes a movie and 5 digital images will get 6 or 7 digital images, depending on what I already have edited and available when I’m putting their package together). Great story! ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. First, thanks for reading the book. ๐Ÿ™‚ And I love that you give your clients a little extra. So smart. The little extra time or insignificant cost to you (e.g. a few extra DVDs, and hour more shooting time, a couple extra digital images, etc.) can yield a disproportionately higher client satisfaction rate Thanks for sharing.

  2. Hi Ron, thanks for the post. As a new company my wife and I have been talking a lot about prices, shooting hours, etc., but in the end we always come to the same conclusion… We want to be known for great customer service. Obviously we want to provide a great product/service, but ultimately treating our customers the way they expect to be treated or better than they expect will lead to more customers and better customers.

  3. Hey, Ron, the RSS feed is only the headline on the new site. Any chance we could have the full feed still? Pretty please?

    1. Sorry… rude of me – forgot to say that I loved the thought on this one. Here in the UK there was a book shop that used to give free coffee to those that wanted to browse books. Sadly they added a Cafe Nero (like Starbucks) in the middle of it when the shop was taken over. I don’t drink coffee but for some reason that change ripped the heart out of the shop and I don’t go there much now.

      1. Thanks for the comment Mark. I tend to like the coffee shops in the book stores. Particularly if they let you read the books in the shop without buying. Kinda like a library. You’re able to do that at places like Barnes and Noble and Borders (hmmm. Maybe that’s part of the reason why they’re having financial difficulties. ๐Ÿ™‚

    2. I changed the feed delivery back to full text. We’ll see how it goes for a while. I can’t guarantee I won’t change it back some day. Maybe I’ll take a poll. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Ron, it depends on the clients expectations. Were the clients expectations unrealistic? Did the creative over sell and under deliver?

    If we as creatives don’t have good, healthy communication skills in asking the necessary questions to formulate whether we as creatives can meet the clients expectations, then we’ve failed in our craft.

    As creatives, we should not only be continuing the development of our creative sides, but also developing our communications skills, learning such material as 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Crucial Conversations, etc. IMO, also taking a DiSC personality Profile is critical in understanding how we are in negotiating with potential clients and having the skill sin place to read other personality styles so we can address their particular needs in relating.

    I’ve taken the DiSC analysis and having it broken down for me by a qualified person has helped me to understand how I relate to others who are of different personality styles and I’m able to adjust my relating style to meet their needs accordingly. It’s a worthwhile investment in developing the business negotiating side that can result in a Win-Win scenario.

    My $0.02 worth.

    1. Excellent points Cliff. I wholeheartedly agree. It’s up to us to make sure we adequately communicate to our clients and that we fully understand their needs. One of the things we do is use a video brief or some other similar document where the client outlines for us all the specifics of the project (e.g. objective, audience, look and feel, etc.)

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