Managing Client Expectations

5 Steps of Managing the Customers Dream

Over the years, I’ve seen a fair mix of customer engagement—from escalation calls to quick check-in calls—with clients.

All in all, it is a great privilege to being able to represent the company during a product call or potential discussion related to visions. I’ve learned that every touchpoint has potential to improve the relationship.

It all comes down to capturing the customer needs, brainstorming, and opening up the conversation to achieve a glimpse into the customers goals.

These are some parts I would like to cover in today's blog.

 Two hands connecting two pieces of a puzzle.

1): Nurturing and Capturing the hidden needs:

Where to begin, it all comes down to setting up a relationship with your counterpart (Client).

Generally, in Europe, we take the time and try to have some small talk about breaking the ice before we go into business. It opens the discussion to focus on further business development, or they could talk about a vision or passion they see their company going in the upcoming five years?

Everything starts at this point. The customer begins sharing their ambitions of what could be or should be their companies future state. Ensure you record the meeting because it is crucial to capture the verbal and non-verbal communication. In my opinion, making notes of the conference is difficult to get an accurate capture of the message customer was sending.

If there is any one secret of success, it lies in the ability to get the other person's point of view and see things from that person's angle as well as from your own.

Henry Ford

A woman looking at a board with different styled graphs.

2) Brainstorm and The way to Great ideas:

Now we get to the exciting stuff, brainstorming. There are many ways of effective ways, the key is to be open-minded and allow anyone—I mean anyone—to add value. An intern could provide you with insights that a busy C level exec forgot to mention for example.

So what now? We have some great ideas from top to bottom of the organization. We need to test them and start asking ourselves, is this what the customer is looking for, or are we over-engineering the idea? I always tend to keep close to down below general rules.

  • Who is your customer?
  • What problems are you solving?
  • How does your product solve those problems?
  • What are the key features of the product?

Does it make sense, and are we adding value?

If we overshot, do we need to start from scratch?

It comes down to did I understand my customer correctly? Go back to the recordings if you are unsure, give them a quick call and get to business and circle back.

3) Building the Grand picture:

I am the type of person that likes to create visual overviews by whiteboard or digital software (digital whiteboard). This gives me the power to go granular into a process without losing the big picture.

We are currently working with Miro (Love It) tool, which allows you to build process flows and allows you to do some design work (Yes, it will be a rough draft). The rules I usually apply:

  1. Focus on the Problem
  2. Walk-in Someone Else's Shoes
  3. Get Feedback
  4. Ask the Right Questions

4) Test & Check:

Whenever you got all the ideas together and start thinking of the picture, test, test, test, and test, try to pitch the idea to direct or indirect colleagues. They will most likely appreciate the fact that you see them as a valuable contributor to this project. Try to keep it diverse, check with the Sales rep, check with Engineering or Operations, pitch the concepts internally.

5) Effective Communication:

Now we get to the Creme de la cream. Which I also believe is one of the hardest parts to do, but practice makes perfect.

It all comes down to whether I capture the customer's needs and sell it concretely, time effectively will and throw you off the guard.

Also, decision-makers mindset would be something like this.

  1. Decision-makers will cut through the bullshit and get to the point and will challenge you.
  2. Decision-makers, especially C-level, are limited on time. If you cannot sell it in your time frame, go back to the drawing board.
  3. Decision-makers naturally want to understand bottom-line results.
  4. Etc.

Focus on the WOW factor. This will help you seal the deal or get excellent customer satisfaction.

Drop the 100 pages of PowerPoint to present, keep it short and to the point.

Why do I say so?

Sensory Memory- at this stage, the Memory is fleeting or quickly forgotten. It only takes as little as half a second to 2 seconds until your brain forgets it if the Memory is not reinforced in such a way that it would proceed to the next stage. Short-Term Memory- at this stage, if the Memory is repeated verbally, it can last up to 15–30 seconds in your brain. This is why you often forget the names of the people you meet at parties because you don't repeat them. Long-Term Memory- for your short-term Memory to become long-term Memory, it has not only to be repeated but should also be stored in the existing knowledge (or schemata) that you have.

According to Atkinson and Shiffrin (1968)

A great product manager has the brain of an engineer, the heart of a designer, and the speech of a diplomat - Deep Nishar, VP of Product at LinkedIn

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