It is quite normal for client expectation to be low or high, but their happiness depends on how well study abroad consultants manage it. Whenever clients come to you, all of them will naturally have certain expectations from your agency.
Don’t lower your expectations to meet your performance. Raise your level of performance to meet your expectations. Expect the best of yourself, and then do what is necessary to make it a reality – Ralph Marston.
Is it possible for your client to be disappointed, even though the application was successful? It most certainly is and here’s why! When clients are dissatisfied with your service, it is usually because they were expecting something far different from what they eventually got.
However, the problem is that most people find it difficult to communicate their expectations clearly. Some are generally not good at expressing themselves, while others expect you to read their minds. Effective Client communication is key in such matters. So, how can you and other study abroad consultants effectively manage agency client expectation?
Be honest with your clients
Right from the time clients come onboard, be honest with them about what you can and cannot accomplish. For instance, if a client asks you to do a task, tell him/her clearly whether it is doable or not, and give good reasons why. This sets the client’s expectations. Here is how you can do so:
- Give clients a clear understanding of how study abroad consultants work, including their ethical standards, vision, and values. Outline the dos and don’ts.
- Provide details about how your agency processes work and the possible risks involved in using these processes.
- Share relevant case studies and examples of your previous work. Tell them about what previous clients expected and how you helped accomplish their goals.
Always under-promise & over-deliver
When you promise more than you can deliver, client expectation becomes very high and failing to fulfill it undermines your agency’s reputation in the market. Here are a few things every study abroad consultants should keep in mind:
- Should make a promise only if they genuinely intend to follow it through, not because they feel an obligation to do so. Consider what you are trying to achieve by making this promise and whether it is achievable or not.
- Estimate how long they think it will take you to fulfill a task and then double or triple that time when you mention it to the client. If you are unable to find out the time accurately, tell the clients your agency will revert back to them as soon as possible but make sure you do!
- Sometimes unforeseen circumstances may break the promises we make, but be up-front about it and immediately apologize. It makes a huge difference and will go a long way to enhance your client relationship.
Meet client expectation with clear communication
The most important service you can provide to your clients is easy accessibility. Good communication can do wonders for your business. It helps build trust and prevents client expectation from from reaching irrational heights:
- When clients pay for your services, they expect you to prioritize their work. Doing basic things like replying to their queries promptly or giving them a time-frame to expect a reply is a positive way to build client relations.
- Don’t be vague during client interactions by using uncertain words like “maybe” or “perhaps”. Instead, give them clear-cut answers with a “yes” or “no”. This makes the client expectations realistic.
- Communication must be prompt as well as consistent. Keep your clients informed about what is going on with their applications on a regular basis, including other agency news you may want to share with them.
Set achievable and practical goals
Without defining the rules of engagement, it can be difficult to satisfy client expectation. There must be absolute clarity on what is expected from each other. Here’s how study abroad consultants like yourself can get their agency and clients on the same page:
- Set realistic and achievable goals for each client. Have a conversation with clients about what they expect from your agency and set these goals mutually.
- Each time a client comes to you, define a set of goals for their application process. Break down the entire process in a timeline, along with what is expected from both parties at each stage.
- Create a plan of action or scope of work for every client. The clients should be able to receive status updates or notifications at each stage of the application process.
Be upfront about what happens if plans change
As with everything else in life, businesses need to adapt to their current situations. The education industry can be volatile, due to changes in government policies and other external factors. However, there are things you can do to stay prepared and keep client expectation rational:
- First and foremost, be thoroughly updated with what is happening in your industry. You can subscribe to reliable sources like newsletters and social media updates from specific government websites.
- Provide your clients with a brief history of the host country’s previous policies and what could be expected in the near future. Let them know how your study abroad consultants aim to deal with such situations. This helps build trust and confidence in your services.
- Prepare a contingency plan for each client on a mutual basis. The plan should include details about possible precautions that your agency will take, in case of unforeseen events. This helps you meet your client’s expectation and is also an education agency crm best practice.
While it’s great to have so many ways to manage client expectation, implementation will only happen if all of it is in writing, as part of your agency’s official paperwork. So, apart from explaining such details to the clients verbally, do make sure that they can read it too!