Expectation management during client onboarding in B2B SaaS

It is important to set the right objectives for your client from the beginning to avoid problems and gain their loyalty. This also minimizes customer churn.

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

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

Your team members need to be aware of the priority use case rather than working hard for all the tasks at the same time. This will manage their workload and enhance their efficiency.

Why is setting the right expectations important?

It is important to set the right objectives for your client before, during, and after your customer onboarding, since it will help set the right tone for your relationship. Clients may think of you as 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 in what ways 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 that you should follow to set the right objectives with your client

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

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

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 clients yet it is important to do it all over again with the new client 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.

Develop an operational structure

Have a set of working agreements that helps the client understand how you’ll work when it’ll be delivered, a channel for communication, how many times you’ll meet them, etc. It should give out the basic 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.

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 be a part of the discussion. This way you can add a feature that is actually needed by your clients. It also makes your customers feel valued. Next time, they want an added feature, they will come to you before looking at another product.

Set boundaries

Every project is important, every use case is a priority but it is your duty to balance your team members' workload and the client’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.

Keep your client informed

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

Always communicate

We are humans and mistakes do happen. So when it happens, it is your duty to find where, how, and why the mistake happened. It is also your duty to come clean to your client.

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

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 stages of the onboarding and implementation process. If your client has high expectations or you’ve overpromised then you are in big trouble. It is better to under-promise and overdeliver. If your client receives what they’ve been promised or more, then the chances of lower churns are guaranteed!

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