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

Book Description

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

Table of Contents

  1. About This eBook
  2. Title Page
  3. Copyright Page
  4. Also Available from DORSET HOUSE
  5. Dedication
  6. Acknowledgments
  7. Contents
  8. Foreword
  9. Preface
  10. Introduction: The Expectations Challenge
    1. The Expectations-Managing Framework
    2. Involving Customers
    3. Formulating an Action Plan
    4. Getting Started
    5. Taking the Challenge
  11. Section 1: Communication
    1. 1. Guard Against Conflicting Messages
      1. Communicating Conflict
      2. Circumventing the Conflict
      3. Notes
    2. 2. Use Jargon with Care
      1. Miscommunicating with Technical Terms
      2. Miscommunicating with Familiar Language
      3. Misinterpreting Customers’ Language
      4. Jargon-Checking Kept in Perspective
    3. 3. Identify Communication Preferences
      1. Communicating Status Information
      2. Communicating Ideas
      3. Accommodating Differences in Preferences
      4. Gaining Consensus and Achieving Buy-In
      5. Learning from Preferences
      6. Notes
    4. 4. Listen Persuasively
      1. Appearing Not to Listen
      2. Demonstrating Listening
      3. Listening Actively
      4. Helping Customers to Listen
      5. Speaking the Way You Listen
      6. Observing Cultural Differences
      7. Learning to Listen
      8. Notes
  12. Section 2: Information Gathering
    1. 5. Help Customers Describe Their Needs
      1. Analysis with Focal Points
      2. Techniques for Describing Needs
      3. Types of Focal Points
      4. Pitfalls of Focal Points
      5. Thinking with Focal Points
      6. Notes
    2. 6. Become an Information-Gathering Skeptic
      1. Learn From a Model Skeptic
      2. Clarify Service Requests
      3. Challenge Your Assumptions
      4. Allow for Inaccuracy
      5. Pose Strategic Questions
      6. Learn to Think Like a Skeptic
      7. Notes
    3. 7. Understand Your Customers’ Context
      1. Categorize the Context
      2. Case Study: Peak Workload
      3. Focus on the Customer
      4. Gather Information Regularly
      5. Notes
    4. 8. Try the Solution on for Size
      1. Finding the Perfect Solution
      2. Becoming Immersed in the Solution
      3. Reflecting on a Job completed
      4. A Jacket Analysis
      5. Notes
  13. Section 3: Policies and Practices
    1. 9. Clarify Customer Perceptions
      1. Differing Perceptions
      2. Performing for Satisfaction
      3. Discussing Customer Perceptions
      4. Gaining Feedback from Customers
      5. Creating a Service Guide
      6. Explaining Your Decisions
      7. Involving Customers
      8. Interpreting Complaints
      9. Saunafaction Guaranteed
      10. Notes
    2. 10. Set Uncertainty-Managing Service Standards
      1. Standards for Communicating “When”
      2. Categories of Standard-Setting
      3. Strategies for Standard-Setting
      4. Standards for Services That Go Awry
      5. Solutions Guaranteed (Or Problems Returned)
      6. Notes
    3. 11. When Appropriate, Just Say Whoa
      1. Saying Yes and Saying No
      2. Saying Whoa
      3. Putting Whoa into Practice
      4. Seeking no Help
      5. Notes
    4. 12. Build Win-Win Relationships
      1. Customers as Allies
      2. Techniques for Relationship Building
      3. Relationship Pitfalls
      4. All’s Well That Mends Well
      5. Notes
  14. Conclusion: Formulate an Action Plan
    1. Develop an Action Plan
    2. Review the Three Central Issues
    3. Create Your Strategy
    4. Become an Expectations Manager
    5. Start Anywhere
    6. Notes
  15. Related Reading
  16. Index