The management of client expectations is a crucial part of any company, as ensuring the expectations of clients are met will ensure the company’s future viability and profitability. These expectations and how they will be met are usually communicated at the business relationship’s onset and form the basis thereof.

Employees play a pivotal role in meeting the expectations posed by clients, and it is often said that the employees of a company are its most important assets. This is especially true where time and resources have been invested in equipping an employee with the necessary skills and knowledge to assist the business in propelling forward.

Investing in employees to acquire new skills and broaden their knowledge will not only positively affect the overall performance of a company but will also assist in attracting high-calibre applicants for future vacancies.

If the employees of a business can be seen as an investment, the relationships and trust they build with clients during the course and scope of their duties can be seen as the employer’s return on investment. It can therefore be said that in addition to employees being the most important asset, the most valuable asset to a company is the trust a client places in one or more of the company’s employees.

It is, therefore, crucial to have a set plan in place if a trusted employee leaves the company, as they will, by extension, be leaving the clients they personally service. To avoid clients experiencing feelings of doubt or uncertainty, informing them as early as possible is advisable. Transparency and open communication are key.

Clients need to be assured that the level of commitment to them will not be compromised upon the employee leaving and that the individual taking over responsibility for them as a client will be brought into the fold as early as possible to ensure that all parties are informed and comfortable regarding the business relationship going forward.

It is of utmost importance that the needs of the client in such an instance should be prioritised. To this end, it would be in the best interest of all parties concerned to revise and formalise the client’s expectations, how and if the said expectations can be met, and the processes involved. Clients should be requested to clarify any preferences they may have regarding communication, the first line of contact and the like.

The company should by no means make promises that it cannot keep merely to keep the client on. This will only worsen the situation and completely break down the trust relationship, which might already be highly fragile at this point.

To ensure continued business from the client, there needs to be a continuity of trust between the client and the company. It might be fragile at first, but with effective processes in place and showing the client that the company can deliver on its promises, it will go from strength to strength.

The effective management of client expectations is at the heart of any successful business enterprise. Meeting clients’ expectations can make or break a business, and it is therefore of utmost importance that there are formalised processes in place. These processes should include maintaining client trust during the transitional phase when an employee leaves and a new employee needs to be brought on.

Article By: Ilze Erasmus
Dispute Resolution Official – Gqeberha