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The other day on my way to work, I took a short detour through a park. When I sat down on a bench by a lake there,
this happened …

Right away, all the ducks, birds, and geese startled waddling right up to me, clearly expecting some breakfast! It
seems that these avian creatures had been given some Pavlovian training. While they weren’t dogs salivating at the
sound of a bell, they were ducks who responded to the sight of a person on the bench by their pond. And they
expected handouts. Unfortunately for them, I had come unprepared. Luckily for me, they were disappointed but did
not heckle or harass me!

I realized that the next time I go to that park for some pre-work head-clearing quiet time, I need to bring a bag of
bread scraps along to meet their expectations.

The whole scene made me think about interactions with clients (not that I’m comparing anyone to ducks!). When a
business works with clients, we need to be prepared to meet their expectations. What I want as a service provider is
meaningless if I can’t give my clients what they actually desire.

While service providers are not mind readers, we CAN predict and prepare for client expectations as best as possible,
giving them the best we can.

Some of the most common things clients expect from me (a bookkeeper) are:

  • Understanding their business and their goals and challenges, especially in the financial arena. This means listening actively and asking the right questions to tailor my services accordingly.
  • Knowing what the clients want from the business – growth, work-life balance, exit strategy, etc. ​
  • Communicating clearly and regularly, and providing progress reports when needed. This also means setting clear expectations and discussing my working processes, timelines, and deliverables. Providing regular updates is essential to success.
  • Being organised and efficient with a clear and understandable system for tracking their finances. A clear workflow
    goes a long way in managing expectations.
  • Being proactive about identifying potential issues, discussing them with the client, and taking steps to resolve them
  • Being responsive to the client’s needs and working to help them achieve their goals: in short, providing excellent customer service.
  • Proactively bringing to the attention of clients potential solutions (funding, software, etc) before they ask.

Of course, the best is when I can go the proverbial extra mile and exceed their expectations by sharing cost-saving
solutions and advice, demonstrating new, cutting-edge software that may assist them in their business. Doing these
things can help build and maintain excellent long-term client relationships, which is really beneficial for everyone!

Next time I visit the pond, I’ll bring the bread!