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SetuplyNov 28, 2023 1:00:00 PM5 min read

Smoothing Over the Implementation to Customer Success Handoff

The passing of the baton from implementation to customer success is a key transition point in the client journey. While implementation sets the client up for solution adoption, customer success works with clients to make sure they keep getting value from the solution in the long-term. A smooth handoff ensures post-implementation needs are addressed while proactively nurturing the client relationship. This inevitably leads to renewals as well as upsell and cross-sell opportunities.

Let’s pause to consider what a large chunk of business revenue upsell and cross-sell opportunities are. Studies show that roughly 36% of SaaS companies’ new annual recurring revenue (ARR) comes from existing customers versus new customers.

Unfortunately, friction often colors the implementation to customer success handoff. Critical information about the implementation process or client nuances isn’t always well-documented for or communicated to customer success teams. This can leave customer success less prepared to handle client inquiries, and also lead to missed opportunities to add value to the client experience. Meanwhile, misunderstandings over responsibilities and client expectations can cause gaps in delivery of service, and leave clients who perceive the lack of coordination frustrated.

Wondering what you can do to combat this friction? Here are five measures that make a difference.


1. Clearly document the process for structured knowledge transfer

Think of comprehensive documentation as your roadmap for a smooth implementation to customer success handoff. While providing a detailed account of client objectives, the documentation should also account for configurations made in implementation and any outstanding client needs or considerations. Comprehensive documentation helps hold implementation teams accountable for tracking this information, while ensuring customer success teams have all the details they need to meet client expectations.

Let’s dive a little deeper into the configuration example. When customer success teams have access to information about specific configurations, they can better understand a client’s environment and troubleshoot issues more efficiently. With this knowledge, they can also create targeted training materials that focus on features relevant to the client.


2. Encourage cross-training between the two teams

Cross-training helps to break down the silos that can exist between implementation and customer success teams. During joint training sessions, the two teams can participate in talks about effective client communication strategies and common post-implementation client challenges, to name a few potential topics. These sessions are also a great time for implementation and customer success teams to collaborate on documentation. That way, customer success teams know they’ll have all the critical information they need.

Cross-training could also come in the form of a shadowing program. As part of their employee onboarding, you could have a new customer success team member shadow an implementation specialist — and vice versa. While customer success can enhance their product knowledge and have more context for client interactions, implementation can gain user adoption insights and better understand post-implementation issues that arise.


3. Support good, consistent communication with shared platforms

When implementation and customer success teams use the same communication portal, collaboration becomes easier and more consistent. With an all-in-one client onboarding tool like Setuply, both teams have real-time visibility into the status of onboarding projects, from when configurations are completed to any outstanding issues. Centralized documentation, meanwhile, makes sure everyone works from the same set of information. Together, these elements ensure that no client expectations go unmet, with expectations revisited frequently throughout the onboarding process. With this clarity and transparency, implementation and customer success teams can also help clients adjust to change more efficiently and with less resistance.

In some cases, customer success teams may want to go back and look at past discussions and decisions made throughout the implementation phase. With Setuply, they have that context. A historical log of communications makes it easy for customer success teams to review conversations and find the context they need to guide clients.


4. Realign expectations with your clients

A client’s journey from implementation to customer success is dynamic. At any point in the client onboarding process, it’s possible that the initial expectations can evolve. As clients gain a better understanding of the system, they may want to make refinements or make use of other features. Alternatively, market changes may shift a company’s priorities during an onboarding process, and the implemented solution needs to account for these new strategic objectives.

Whatever the case may be, open and transparent communication is key. On one hand, implementation teams can help clients understand how these changes will impact project timelines and ensure their final product effectively meets their needs. Then, when it comes time for the handoff between implementation and customer success teams, customer success can seamlessly pick up the relationship where it left off. They’ll be armed with the most current insights to deliver on promises made in the onboarding process.


5. Introduce your customer success team to clients early

Customer success teams may not directly connect with clients until the implementation process is complete. But there are benefits to introducing the team to clients at the outset. When clients meet with customer success professionals early on, it helps to build a foundation of trust and rapport with clients. Clients can be confident that when they close a door with a point-of-contact person from their onboarding team, they’ll open a new but familiar door where they’ll continue to receive tailored guidance and support.

The best time to introduce a customer success team is during a kick-off call. This helps establish a collaborative partnership from day one, setting clear expectations for clients and making them aware of the ongoing support they’ll receive. At the same time, customer success teams can use this as an opportunity to better understand a client’s challenges, goals, and expectations.

At the end of the day, organizations can bridge the gap between implementation and customer success teams. It’s a matter of pairing the right strategies with the right solutions — with Setuply being on that list. Learn more about how we help businesses reimagine the client onboarding experience.