Why (and How) You Should Be Managing Client Expectations During Onboarding

By Peter Ord
Oct 7, 2020
Man thinking and looking on the laptop

At the beginning of any relationship, both sides have high expectations. That is true for many clients and SaaS companies as a sales team signs a contract and passes a client along to begin the onboarding process. On the client-side, expectations are high that the software will be able to meet their needs and solve their problems. On the company side, expectations are high that you can deliver a smooth and seamless onboarding process.

It’s during this critical transition as you are ready to kick off the onboarding that you can set the stage for success on both sides by properly managing client expectations.


The Perils of Not Managing Expectations

Any onboarding team you talk to that has worked in the SaaS field for long probably has a story about when they failed to manage client expectations. Spoiler alert – it probably doesn’t end well. Without the right expectations, the onboarding process can quickly get out of hand.

Some of the most common issues onboarding teams experience include:

  • Scope-creep – when client expectations grow over the course of the project to encompass more than what your contract requires.
  • Unrealistic demands – when clients expect you to deliver an end product that doesn’t resemble what was outlined in the contract or that exceeds the capabilities of your onboarding team.
  • Unreasonable deadlines – when clients expect you to meet extremely short deadlines or turnaround times in product delivery.

If you don’t take time to set expectations at the beginning, these things can quickly derail the entire process and leave your team feeling drained and clients feeling short-changed and disappointed.


How to Manage Client Onboarding Expectations

In the immortal words of Ben Franklin, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” When it comes to onboarding, setting a specific plan from the start and sharing it with your internal team and your clients will prepare everyone for what comes next. The plan should outline:

  • Contractual obligations
  • Deliverables
  • Metrics for measuring success
  • Calendar and deadlines for each onboarding phase

If your project management software isn’t designed to meet these needs, you are more likely to overpromise and underdeliver. With GUIDEcx®, the client onboarding process is transformed.

  • Customizable templates allow you to start with a universal onboarding framework, and incorporate specific factors unique to each client
  • Engage your customers and internal teams with templatized project plans that allow you to rapidly deploy and customize your standard process for each individual customer.
  • Unlimited user profiles allow you to add clients to the project management platform without any added fees so they can follow the project
  • Invite unlimited project participants so you can add anyone and everyone who needs to be in the know without juggling licenses.

To learn more about how our software helps you and your team manage client expectations, take advantage of our free 14-day trial.

Peter Ord


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