Expectation Management During Client Onboarding In SaaS

Discover effective expectation management techniques to improve customer satisfaction and retention in B2B SaaS customer onboarding.


April 7, 2022

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    As a B2B SaaS company, ensuring a smooth customer onboarding process is critical to your success. However, setting realistic expectations during this process is equally important to avoid disappointments and ensure customer satisfaction.

    Customer onboarding is one of the crucial processes in the enterprise SaaS industry that helps in customer retention. It is the window through which your customer views your brand and operation structure. Hence, it is essential to make every step right all the way. Setting the right objectives is also a part of the customer onboarding process.

    In this blog, we'll discuss the importance of client expectation management during customer onboarding and provide some best practices for effectively managing expectations to improve customer retention and loyalty.

    What Is Expectation Management?

    Expectation management is a huge part of project management that results in customer success. As a project/account/customer success manager, you have a lot on your plate. There will be expectations from your clients, stakeholders, and team members. It is your duty to balance everyone.

    Try to set customer expectations on what you can deliver and not more than that. This prevents confusion, mistrust, and resource wastage. Your stakeholders must be informed about the customer's demand whenever they change or prioritize a use case. This helps your stakeholders to manage their expectations of achieving customer success immediately.

    Your team members must be aware of the priority use case rather than working hard on all the tasks simultaneously. This will manage their workload and enhance their efficiency.

    Why Is Setting The Right Expectations Important?

    Setting the right objectives for your client before, during, and after your customer onboarding is essential since it will help set the right tone for your relationship. Customers may consider you a one-stop solution that will solve their problems. They may go overboard with their expectations. It is your duty to inform them about your product and how you can help them. Make them aware of your features without overselling them. It is also important to educate them about

    • Unrealistic deadlines
    • Progress updates
    • Internal processes
    • Trust building
    • SSOT
    • Over expectations
    • Checking and optimizing goals

    7 Best Practices To Set The Right Objectives With Your Customers

    There are some of the best practices you can follow to manage and set the right objectives for your customers from the initial stage. These practices will help you maintain a smooth and compatible customer relationship.

    • Create a structured framework
    • Develop an operational structure
    • Involve your customers
    • Set boundaries
    • Keep your clients informed
    • Always communicate
    • Listen to feedback

    1. Create A Structured Framework

    Always work out a basic structure before you begin the project. You may have done it a thousand times before with various customers, but it is crucial to do it all over again with the new customer since their requirements might differ. Form a framework that includes what, when, who, why, and how. Acquire all the information and be prepared before you begin the project.

    2. Develop An Operational Structure

    Have a set of working agreements that helps the customers understand how you'll work, when it is delivered, a channel for communication, how many times you'll meet them, etc. It should give out the fundamental working structure of your organization and how it can impact the customer. This is just the initial workflow; any changes in this can be amended.

    3. Involve Your Customers

    Try to involve your customers in the creative process. Rather than surprising your customers with new features every time, ask them to participate in the discussion. This way, you can add a feature that your customers actually need. It also makes your customers feel valued. Next time they want an added feature, they will approach you before looking at another product.

    4. Set Boundaries

    Every project is important, and every use case is a priority, but you must balance your team members' workload and the customer's expectations. Set clear boundaries right from the beginning. You can also use automated tools for implementation wherein the customers decide the priority. This way, customers get to choose, and your team can work on that particular use case for now.

    5. Keep Your Customers Informed

    Transparency is the key. Keeping the customers blindsided by not informing the progress of the project is one of the major concerns expressed by industry leaders. So, you have to update them about the tasks regularly. Again, there are automated tools that allow the customers to know the status of the project whenever they want

    6. Always Communicate

    We are humans, and mistakes do happen. So when it happens, you must find where, how, and why the mistake happened. You also have to come clean to your customers.

    Customers might get angry about missed deadlines, but this option is better than lying or procrastinating. Feel genuinely apologetic for the mistake, try to make it right, and ensure it does not repeat. This shows that you truly value the customer and their needs.

    7. Listen To Their Feedback

    When customers are repeatedly saying something, it is your job to listen and rectify them. This should begin right from the onboarding process. Making changes based on customers' feedback will instill confidence and trust in your brand.  

    Final Words

    Setting the right objectives is an ongoing checkbox that should be ticked at all customer onboarding and implementation stages. If your client has high expectations or you've overpromised, then you are in big trouble. It is better to under-promise and over-deliver. If your client receives what they've been promised or more, then the chances of lower churns are guaranteed!

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