MSPs should strive to add new services for existing customers whenever possible. But you also need to have a new customer acquisition strategy. Business growth depends on both, and if you don’t keep a list of prospects, you are potentially walking away from profit opportunities.

October 11, 2016

3 Min Read
Six Secrets to Onboarding Your Customers

MSPs should strive to add new services for existing customers whenever possible. But you also need to have a new customer acquisition strategy. Business growth depends on both, and if you don’t keep a list of prospects, you are potentially walking away from profit opportunities.

Most MSPs intuitively know this, which explains why nearly two-thirds (62 percent) say that acquiring new customers is their top strategic priority. This was revealed in CompTIA’s Fifth Annual Trends in Managed Services Report, published in June. Second on the list of priorities was “growing share of wallet with existing customers.” This was cited by 58 percent of MSP’s as a burning issue.

“A combination of net-new customer growth and existing customer scale is the right balance to strike to help ensure steady revenue increases,” shows the CompTIA report.

Increasing share with existing customers and onboarding new ones require different levels of focus and energy. It’s a good practice to keep your skills sharp on both. When onboarding new customers, it’s important to have a consistent strategy. You need a tried-and-true approach that you can apply from one account to the next. With that in mind, here are six best practices to follow when onboarding customers:

  1. Conduct an Assessment

Once you get your foot in the door, and the prospect appears interested in your services, the first step to take is an assessment of the company’s current IT environment. This means going through all the hardware, software, networking gear and security to figure out whether any changes and upgrades are necessary.

  1. Have a Plan

The assessment tells you what you need to know about the customer environment. It also tells you how to prepare a service plan that takes into account the customer’s needs. When presenting the plan, be prepared to defend your recommendations. You need to make a case for any new IT services or changes that would improve the client’s business operations.

  1. Sign a Contract

No MSP should enter into a customer relationship without a contract, especially when recurring-fee, long-term services are involved. Your service contract should specify the work you will do for the client, support levels and service charges. Spell out yours and the client’s obligations regarding systems maintenance, security and data backup. The clearer you make the contract, the less likely you are to get into a dispute later on with the customer.

  1. Set Expectations

Clients sometimes will gloss over details that seem unimportant at contract signing but that can be a sticking point later. Leave nothing to chance, and be sure to properly set expectations by explaining any and all changes to systems, applications, security protocols and data backup processes. This goes hand in hand with signing contracts that define the provider’s and client’s responsibilities.

  1. Maintain Communication

Lack of communication silently kills managed services relationships. Because you’re performing services remotely, the client may conclude you’re doing nothing. Be sure to communicate with monthly reports on the work you’ve done and network health and by meeting periodically face-to-fact to review progress and discuss future strategy.

  1. Know Your Objectives

From your own business operations standpoint, you need to set objectives for your relationship with the client. Select some key performance indicators, such as customer complaints and satisfaction rates, as metrics to track regularly. These can be your guide to improvements on business operations and service delivery. A self-assessing business is a better-managed business.

Once you put these best practices in place, customer onboarding will become a more predictable and smooth process. It will help avoid poor communication or divergent expectations between customer and provider.

Marvin Blough is StorageCraft’s Vice President of Worldwide Sales, where his focus is on expanding the company’s global reach by establishing channel partnerships that enhance  profitability for the channel partner.

Guest blogs such as this one are published monthly, and are part of MSPmentor’s annual platinum sponsorship.

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