One of the most common questions we field is how to onboard new clients successfully as a managed service provider. Whether it’s identifying and managing pain points, communicating expectations in a transparent way, or providing smart advice to inspire trust and loyalty, each MSP has its own goals for those first few weeks and months.
Understanding what these goals are is the first step to ensuring your new client feels comfortable and is onboarded successfully. Here are three suggestions that we at Atera advise MSPs to put at the top of their to-do lists.
Gain Access to your New Client’s Systems
The quicker you can show that you’re providing value, the quicker you will gain a new client's trust. It’s important to start as you mean to go on, by ensuring you can monitor and support your client’s systems as early as possible. Collecting the system information you need means that when IT support is called for, you’re ready to go. Data you should ask for as soon as they have signed on the dotted line includes domain names and IP addresses, as well as login details for VPN, VoIP or other third-party software.
We built the Atera agent with this efficiency in mind, as it can be deployed on end users' computers in moments, and will instantly allow you to monitor performance of both the workstation and the server. Using either a local network or an IP range, multiple agents can be deployed at one time--making setup seamless for new clients. The Atera Logon Script means that all new workstations and servers that later join the network will automatically be monitored for performance and availability without IT needing to add them manually.
Start Collecting Data and Analytics
Data is one of the most important assets a company can have in 2018, and, as an MSP, taking advantage of this can be the difference between failure and success. Reporting and data analytics are how you show your client the difference that you’re making. Actionable reporting can also allow your new client to share your worth with other key stakeholders in the company, with easy-to-read insights on what changes you’ve made and results you’re creating. Give your new client the information they need so that they have transparency around your operations. How are you going to back up their data, and where will it be stored? What is your disaster recovery plan? Proactively providing the answers to these questions will ensure that your client sees how professional your services are. Atera makes this easy with Online Backup integrated directly--supporting hybrid cloud recovery and continuous backup in case of any emergency.
Early on in the onboarding process you should also carve out some time to discuss how your new client wants to approach customer data. Ensure that they are ready to start using a strong professional services automation tool that can handle all their customer information in one place, supporting best-in-class compliance and organizational efficiency. Data that you should discuss includes:
- Service history
- Billing or payment information
- Encrypted passwords
Suggest to your new client areas that you can automate to streamline their business process. This could be anything from automated billing solutions to time sheet management or invoicing and taxes.
Think About How to Standardize Hardware and Software
Most MSPs want to standardize their new clients onto their existing systems, whether that means moving them to new hardware or transitioning them onto cloud-based software solutions. Remember that you don’t want to rush to do too much at once.
Firstly, familiarize yourself with what hardware your client is using right now. Take as much information as they have to offer on their servers and routers, as well as firewalls and switchboxes. You can then work out a plan to encourage them to move over to your preferred choices.
The same is true when it comes to software adjustments. Think about a client who is used to using Microsoft Exchange and isn’t sure about moving over to Office 365. Being transparent about the security risks they are currently under, as well as the benefits to cost and scale that they will experience, can make a real difference. An open conversation can help you package a big change into an example of the benefits you’re going to be providing as their new MSP.
In order to encourage trust and loyalty from the outset, remember that this doesn’t need to all be done in one fell swoop. Try giving your client a rating system. The first category is essential changes you’d like to see happen within the next 90 days. Next up are the action points you aim to move on during the coming six months or a year. The last category is negotiable: You can explain benefits to your client for making the change, but ultimately it’s up to them. Discussing a mutually beneficial roadmap for transition and giving them some control over the process could create a better relationship overall.
Making or Breaking the New Client Relationship
For many MSPs, those first 30 to 90 days are critical in terms of proving your worth and establishing a good relationship going forward. Atera can help you quickly gain access to the data and visibility you need to hit the ground running. We can also give you powerful tools to offer automation and added features that can improve efficiency and show results from day one.
Alongside this, transparency throughout is one way to inspire loyalty. This shows your new client that you are on a journey--working together to improve their operational efficiency and overall bottom line as a team.
This guest blog is part of a Channel Futures sponsorship.