In the first stages of a client relationship, we may be tempted to impress a client by promising exceptional performance and by overstating the amount of deliverables which they will receive.

In our desire to impress from the get-go, we set ourselves up for failure by setting unrealistic expectations which in turn will lead to poor client satisfaction.

Client satisfaction relies entirely on the perceived value of service and this is determined by comparing the client’s actual experience of the service (perception) to what the he/she had expected initially (expectation). The idea is to set realistic yet ambitious goals at the beginning while leaving some space for improvement, and finally going the extra mile towards the end of the project to exceed those expectations.

Therefore to achieve client satisfaction, focus less on promising to deliver and more on actually delivering – say less, do more. And avoid promising something which you are not certain you will be able to deliver:  better understate and impress than oversell and disappoint!

Find out more about servicing clients in BCW’s latest edition of “The New Sports Organisation: Eight Essentials for Renewing the Management of Sport”.

 We are the sports practice of global advisory firm Burson Cohn & Wolfe. We provide strategy and communication advice for sports clients around the world. For more information: