Manage your client’s expectations

The key is classifying your clients according to the level of service they expect, the level of service they need and the level of service they are prepared to pay for.

Managing your client’s expectations, a kind of triage, is critical.

You must be able to quickly assess the level of service they expect, and then match this to the level of service they need.

Some clients will expect more than they need. This can usually be dealt with, and the client will be happy. Other clients will expect less than they need. This can usually be dealt with too, but the client will usually be less happy as they will have to pay more.

Agreeing the level of service the client is prepared to pay for should happen early in the conversation, ideally in the first meeting or soon thereafter. It should be recorded in your SOA and supported by other written evidence such as file notes and e-mails.

If agreement cannot be reached you are better off ceasing to act and letting your client find an alternative service they are prepared to pay for.

Learning how to diplomatically manage your clients’ expectations is a key part of creating a professional practice.

An ASIC example of managing a client’s expectations and scaling the advice

Example 13 in paragraph RG 175.276 is an example of revising the scope of your advice based in the client’s preparedness to pay.

This example is not based on risk insurances but nevertheless shows what you should do when faced with a limited budget client. It’s a short example and bears reproducing in full.

The Dover Group