Most MSPs we work with have some type of process in place for onboarding new customers. Today I want to share some of those best practices that may help you create or improve your current onboarding process for new customers.
1. Create an Onboarding Roadmap
Implementing an onboarding roadmap not only helps give your customers an idea of what to expect, but it ensures you complete a smooth onboarding process. Additionally, creating a detailed schedule also helps break down everything that needs to be completed and who needs to complete the task.
Check out this great blog that goes into more detail on customer onboarding.
2. Set Expectations for SuccessOnce the roadmap has been set, make sure to set expectations for success. When the expectations are set and met, you end up with happy clients. It also helps reduce potential conflicts during the process. A key to success is to also communicate throughout the process. That said, open and honest communication is the best. It creates mutual trust and respect on both sides. Lastly, provide updates throughout the process so the client knows what to expect and where they have a role in the process.
3. Appoint a Project Manager
In the long run, this will save you time later on when there ends up being multiple moving parts. Having a project manager ensures everything runs smoothly and it gives everyone one point of contact they can communicate with, so no information is lost along the way. While you hope every process is smooth, some of them may have some challenges and this is where the project manager comes in. They are able to navigate the situation and keep moving the project forward. They also can keep everyone in the loop.
4. Create a Plan to Go Live
Creating a plan for everything that is needed to “go live” ensures all of the tasks are completed. Once the plan has been created, you’ll want to meet with the customer to review it with them and have them approve the plan. Since you’ll be making changes, you will want their approval for the changes to take place, so everyone is on the same page and it eliminates any confusion during the process.
In cases where you’re moving all or some of their data to the cloud, the migration plan is a big part of the go live. It may not have a big impact from a user perspective, but it does change things as a whole organization. Making sure they understand that it isn’t necessarily the flip of a switch is part of setting those expectation early on.
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5. Perform a Quality Network Assessment
A quality network assessment is critical during the sales process because it gives you a clear picture of what the customer’s network and operation currently look like. This comes back to the expectations and being able to set them ahead of time when it comes to downtime and disruptions. Knowing they may need to be down for 3 hours allows both you and them to plan accordingly.
6. Meet with EmployeesA “Go Live” meeting with all the employees should be scheduled after the onboarding tasks have all been completed. Providing all employees with a resource that walks them through who to contact and information on best practices for the changes will help them set expectations early and gives them someone to reach out to if something happens. Being able to provide additional resources such as videos and guides can be helpful in getting employees on board faster with the changes.
This is particularly important if there is software you implement for them that is new. Every MSP is different so this best practice will depend on your MSP practice.
7. Use Proper Metrics
Using proper metrics helps you optimize your onboarding process and gives you metrics to review against every quarter or so to help you improve your business. This also helps you evaluate your roadmap and find any potential inefficiencies you can address to continue to improve your process.
8. Document Information
Documenting is extremely important because the more information you gather during the network assessment and onboarding, the better your first-call resolution is going to be. Make sure to invest the time upfront to do the work and you will benefit from the results.
9. Build a Successful Onboarding Process
A successful client onboarding process starts before you ever get a signed contract, and even before you present a proposal. Expectations, communication, checklists, and plans all serve towards a successful client onboarding process. Be sure to remind your client that you’re here to support them and answer any questions they may have along the way as their trusted technology advisor.
These 9 MSP best practices are a good place to start whether you have a process in place or need to create one. At the end of the day, the goal of this process is to reduce ambiguity and increase clarity, so it is easier for your clients to get you what you need and for you to be able to serve them with confidence. This is also particularly helpful when moving a customer from on-prem to the cloud. Being as transparent as possible will help reduce their anxiety about the process and give them the confidence in the change.