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Managing Expectations: Working with People Who Want More, Better, Faster, Sooner, NOW!

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Managing Expectations: Working with People Who Want More, Better, Faster, Sooner, NOW!

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  • Copyright 2014
  • Pages: 248
  • Edition: 1st
  • eBook (Watermarked)
  • ISBN-10: 0-13-348836-5
  • ISBN-13: 978-0-13-348836-4

This is the digital version of the printed book (Copyright © 1994).

People have expectations. Your clients, for example. Sometimes their expectations of you seem unreasonable. But sometimes your expectations of them seem just as unreasonable (in their eyes).

The problem is that these mismatched expectations can lead to misunderstandings, frayed nerves, and ruffled feathers. More seriously, they often lead to flawed systems, failed projects, and a drain on resources.

Managing Expectations
shows how to identify expectations and suggests ways to gain more control of them. In today's turbulent business world, understanding and meeting your customers' expectations is indeed a challenge, and it's not hard to understand why: Expectations affect a range of interactions, including service responsiveness, service capability, product functionality, and project success.

Expectations are difficult to control and impossible to turn off. However, by learning to identify and influence what your customers expect, you can dramatically improve the quality, impact, and effectiveness of your services.

Contents include sections on communication skills, information gathering, policies and practices, building win-win relationships, as well as a concluding chapter on how to formulate an action plan.

A Step-by-Step Guide to Managing Expectations

Guard Against Conflicting Messages
Use Jargon with Care
Identify Communication Preferences
Listen Persuasively
Help Customers Describe Their Needs
Become an Information-Gathering Skeptic
Understand Your Customers' Context
Try the Solution On for Size
Clarify Perceptions
Set Uncertainty-Managing Service Standards
When Appropriate, Just Say Whoa
Build Win-Win Relationships
Formulate an Action Plan

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Managing Customer Expectations by Understanding Your Customers' Context

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Table of Contents

Foreword xvii

Preface xix

Introduction: The Expectations Challenge 1


Chapter 1: Guard Against Conflicting Messages 11

Communicating Conflict 12

Circumventing The Conflict 22

Notes 22

Chapter 2: Use Jargon With Care 23

Miscommunicating With Technical Terms 24

Miscommunicating With Familiar Language 27

Misinterpreting Customers' Language 36

Jargon-Checking Kept In Perspective 37

Chapter 3: Identify Communication Preferences 38

Communicating Status Information 39

Communicating Ideas 42

Accommodating Differences In Preferences 44

Gaining Consensus And Achieving Buy-In 46

Learning From Preferences 48

Notes 49

Chapter 4: Listen Persuasively 50

Appearing Not To Listen 51

Demonstrating Listening 53

Listening Actively 56

Helping Customers To Listen 58

Speaking The Way You Listen 59

Observing Cultural Differences 60

Learning To Listen 61

Notes 61

Section 2: Information Gathering 63

Chapter 5: Help Customers Describe Their Needs 65

Analysis With Focal Points 66

Techniques For Describing Needs 68

Types Of Focal Points 70

Pitfalls Of Focal Points 72

Thinking With Focal Points 73

Notes 75

Chapter 6: Become An Information-Gathering Skeptic 77

Learn From A Model Skeptic 78

Clarify Service Requests 78

Challenge Your Assumptions 79

Allow For Inaccuracy 82

Pose Strategic Questions 84

Learn To Think Like A Skeptic 87

Notes 88

Chapter 7: Understand Your Customers' Context 89

Categorize The Context 89

Case Study: Peak Workload 93

Focus On The Customer 97

Gather Information Regularly 102

Notes 103

Chapter 8: Try The Solution On For Size 104

Finding The Perfect Solution 104

Becoming Immersed In The Solution 106

Reflecting On A Job Completed 116

A Jacket Analysis 117

Notes 118

Section 3: Policies And Practices 119

Chapter 9: Clarify Customer Perceptions 121

Differing Perceptions 122

Performing For Satisfaction 123

Discussing Customer Perceptions 124

Gaining Feedback From Customers 127

Creating A Service Guide 132

Explaining Your Decisions 135

Involving Customers 136

Interpreting Complaints 138

Saunafaction Guaranteed 140

Notes 140

Chapter 10: Set Uncertainty-Managing

Service Standards 142

Standards For Communicating "When" 143

Categories Of Standard-Setting 146

Strategies For Standard-Setting 151

Standards For Services That Go Awry 154

Solutions Guaranteed

(Or Problems Returned) 157

Notes 157

Chapter 11: When Appropriate, Just Say Whoa 158

Saying Yes And Saying No 158

Saying Whoa 161

Putting Whoa Into Practice 165

Seeking No Help 173

Notes 174

Chapter 12: Build Win-Win Relationships 175

Customers As Allies 176

Techniques For Relationship Building 178

Relationship Pitfalls 186

All's Well That Mends Well 189

Notes 189

Conclusion: Formulate An Action Plan 190

Develop An Action Plan 191

Review The Three Central Issues 193

Create Your Strategy 195

Become An Expectations Manager 199

Start Anywhere 202

Notes 204

Related Reading 205

Index 209


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