Video Cliffs Notes
The Core Issue
In a high-touch, customer-centric business it is essential to cultivate intimate relationships with your customers.
When you have a strong personal connection with your clients you:
- Have a deeper understanding of their needs and preferences
- Develop mutual trust
- Create long-term relationships
The challenge is that:
- It is hard to balance the professional aspects of your relationship with your personal caring and empathy.
- Without clear boundaries, there are bound to be missed expectations.
- One or both parties will often grow resentful when the relationship doesn’t honor the needs of both.
3 Steps to Setting Boundaries with Clients
1. First, get clear about your needs and boundaries.
- Make a list of what you are willing to do and not willing to do.
- Consider all aspects of your relationship: services you offer, how you’ll communicate, how you’ll get paid, what happens when there is a conflict.
- Communication is the most common area where boundaries are needed.
2. Set expectations early in the relationship
- Define expectations at the start of each new relationship
- Consider having a client/member handbook or written contract
- Be ready to negotiate (or not)
3. When a line is crossed, address it immediately.
- Use skills from Crucial Conversations
- Lean into these issues with curiosity and empathy
- The longer you wait to address the issue the stickier it becomes