How are you managing client expectations in the age of Corona?
This can be a tricky question, even when business is booming.
Yet, now that your clients will also be feeling the financial pinch, they may try to squeeze even more out of you / your company.
Sometimes, you may be in a position to say yes.
But what if your answer has to be “No”?
Here are 3 classic Business English tips to managing client expectations – and retaining critical goodwill:
- English-speakers never want to hear the word “No”.
Instead – use words like “However” or “while” to soften an unwelcome message. For example:
“At this point, we’re somewhat limited in our options. However, I can certainly try to ….”
Notice the near-absence of negative words here? And the clear willingness to be flexible?
“While that’s not a point we signed on; I’m more than happy to revisit this in a separate discussion.”
Neat deflection here – a clear “No” without saying it, but leaving the door open for further negotiation.
- Use “actually” to help qualify and soften a refusal.
If there’s a “misunderstanding” (let’s say the client wants something not covered in the contract):
instead of saying:
“No – we didn’t agree to that” (this can spell the end of a beautiful business relationship with English-speaking clients), try:
“I’ll just point you to the contract, this is what we actually agreed to. However, I’m happy to set a time to discuss further.”
- Showing a willingness to find a solution you can afford can be worth gold – it will help defuse the situation, the effort will be appreciated and it could well salvage (and even strengthen) the relationship.
“However, we can quote you for this additional service at a special rate” / “While this service isn’t featured in the contract, we might be able to offer you a simpler alternative at no added cost”.
By using these techniques with your English-speaking clients, you’ll not only deftly manage client expectations – but may well boost your business prospects down the track.