How to Align Client Onboarding Expectations and Reality
By Peter Ord
Feb 24, 2021
A man holding a picture in frame while a girl pointing square

When you buy something—from a sweater to a new TV—you have an expectation of what the product will be like. So, when your new blue sweater turns out to be purple instead, or when your new HD big screen has a grainy picture, you’re justified in feeling disappointed. Your expectations didn’t match the reality.

The same disconnect between expectation and reality could happen during your new client onboarding process. You have expectations about the client relationship—what they want and what they value—and so does your customer. But those two views aren’t always aligned.

Or, you may start out on the same page but find expectations and the reality of the onboarding experience move you further and further apart. When client onboarding doesn’t live up to expectation, it opens the door to a lot of anxiety and frustration on both sides.

A transparent client onboarding process that gives everyone access to the information they need can eliminate anxiety, build trust, and help reality match expectations. We’ll share a few examples of common misaligned expectations and how to fix them.


Expectation: People Are Going to Buy My Product or Service and Be Happy Customers for Life

Reality check. We wish it were that simple. With every purchase—no matter how outstanding your product—your customer is balancing fear and value. It’s neuroscience. They are worrying:

  • Did I buy the right thing?
  • Did I spend too much money?
  • Is this going to be as good as I think?
  • Are my colleagues going to like it?
  • Is my boss going to think I made a mistake?

Throughout onboarding, they will be assessing what they expect your product to do and whether or not it is delivering.

How well you onboard your clients, how easy and transparent you make the process has everything to do with how they will feel about their decision and your product. To alleviate fear and demonstrate value you need to understand the person you are working with—not just the company but the individuals as well. Make sure you know what success looks like to them specifically. And then, of course, deliver it.


Expectation: My Internal Processes Are What Make Onboarding and Implementation Successful

Reality check. Your customers don’t care about your internal processes. Ok that’s harsh, but it’s true. What matters to them is the experience they are having day-to-day during the onboarding and implementation process.

If your internal processes are running smoothly but your customers have no idea what’s going on with their implementation, you’ve got a disconnect.

“I think a lot of implementation managers get frustrated when their customers call them asking where they’re at and who is responsible for what. Those are two questions that shouldn’t have to have phone calls attached to them,” said Peter Ord, Founder and CEO of GuideCX®. “The project manager shouldn’t have to tell the customer what’s next. That should be automated. Project managers are meant to manage the experience, not to be the technicians and the mechanics to fix everything.”

Give your customers visibility into your onboarding plan. Show them how long the process will take and the current status. Make sure they know who is responsible for tasks and what the next step is. Remember, if your implementation process isn’t working for your customers, it isn’t working.


Expectation. If I Just Conduct Another Status Meeting, I Can Clear Up Confusion

Reality check. More meetings, spreadsheets, and standard project management tools are not the answer. Believe us—we’ve tried. Most of the GuideCX team has been in your shoes. We’ve worked the late hours trying to do the impossible—keep everyone updated and every project on schedule using basic tools and manual processes.

We needed a project management tool that was purpose-built for client implementation and onboarding. We couldn’t find one so we built it.

GuideCX is a client onboarding software platform designed specifically to automate the client onboarding process and meet the needs of implementation and project managers. GuideCX can help you automate updates, easily track down the information you need, and let your customers self-serve and take control of their own implementation experience.

Meet—and Exceed—Client Onboarding Expectations with GuideCX

The final key to aligning expectations and reality for your implementation team and your customer’s team, is to make sure that your people, processes, and technology are all working together seamlessly.

“If those three things aren’t aligned, your life is hell,” Peter said. “When those three things are aligned, when you have the right people involved in the process, and the process is now enabled with the right technology, then it’s a symphony. Everything is in tune and you become the all-star.”

Get started hitting all the right notes with a free 14-day trial of GuideCX today.


Peter Ord

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