Have you ever failed to meet a client’s expectations? I can think of no worse feeling.
How do you avoid it? The key is to establish the expectations right from the start. When I practiced law, I met with clients for pre-project planning and did not charge for the time.
If you want to avoid the problem begin each project with a planning session. Here are some of the planning questions for the agenda:
- What is the budget for the work?
- Does the client expect the billing to be level during the project?
- How does the client want the project staffed?
- What client representatives will be working on the project?
- Are there any time sensitive issues?
- How does the client want its bill?
- How often does the client want a status report and in what format?
- What are the clients goals for the project?
- How does the project fit into the overall business objectives and strategy?
- Does the client want to take a hard line in the matter or not?
- Would the client like to have an extranet site set up for the project documents?
Over years of experience I learned what my construction clients liked and did not like about their experiences with law firms. I decided we would put together a Construction Law Client Service Goals based on what I had been told. After I drafted the document I had several clients review it and offer suggestions. Then I used it in my planning sessions.