Guest Column | January 7, 2019

Best Processes For Onboarding New Clients

By Thomas Fox, Tech Experts and member of The ASCII Group since 2012

Partner Onboarding

You’ve closed that managed services deal you’ve been courting for weeks. Now, the real work begins — you need to professionally (and efficiently) onboard your new client to your managed services practice.

The onboarding process is your new client’s first true exposure to your firm’s support process. If done successfully, it cements a productive and profitable relationship. If done poorly, it makes your firm look disorganized and unprepared.

Reinforce The Decision To Hire Your MSP

As soon as you have the signed agreements back from your new client, the onboarding process begins. Step one is to thank the client for choosing your firm and explain to them you have an organized and systematic process to bring them on to your support system. This includes letting the client know to expect several emails requesting information and contact from team leads in your business. Along with the thank you email, you should send an alert to your entire team that says, essentially, “Heads up! We are welcoming a new client.”

Behind the scenes, day zero of our track is prompting the controller to review the client’s setup in our PSA and make necessary adjustments to their account type, marketing groups, and their postal address, all in preparation for the next steps in the process. Our admin team is prompted to send a new client welcome package, and an activity is created for me (the president) to make a personal thank you and welcome call.

Information Gathering

Day one activities also include an email requesting a list of the new client’s team. We provide a spreadsheet to gather this information and make is easy to import into our PSA.

In the background, our admin and finance team are building the new support agreement, verifying billing and A/P contact information, and preparing everything that’s needed administratively to bill the client. Our track is creating a week one onboarding ticket, along with tickets for RMM agent deployment, offsite backup deployment, network discovery, domain registration transfers, and a generic procurement ticket for any equipment included as part of the support agreement

On day three, an email goes out requesting vendor information. To provide top-notch support to the client, we need to know the contact information for any line of business applications, any specialty equipment they might use (such as diagnostic or security devices), and contact information for their ISP.

In the vendor email, we also include a template for a vendor authorization letter. This is a simple letter that the client copies into their letterhead that explains that the client has hired us to manage their network and authorizes us to speak to the vendor on their behalf. This is especially important when working with ISPs. It is often useful to have a copy of the client’s ISP bill to have on file, and we request it as part of this step.

Train The Client In How To Engage With Your Support Team

Often, one of the biggest challenges with a new client is getting them to use your services. This is particularly true if the client hasn’t used a professional IT firm in the past, relied on an internal IT “volunteer,” or was poorly served by a trunk-slammer or break-fix provider. The staff is conditioned by their prior support to not call when there’s trouble, or worse, save up issues for the next time they see one of your team members.

We want to encourage new clients to report all issues right away, and the best way to do this is to gain the endorsement of your primary point of contact. Our track sends an email to our POC around day three that explains this and offers an email template for our POC to send to their team. It says “Our door is open, our phones are waiting, and our team wants to help. Open service requests as soon as you need help, and here’s how to do it.”

Tool Installation And Other Onboarding Tasks

As part of our onboarding track, we create tickets for the installation of our RMM tool and the other applications we need to support the client and monitor their network. We’re also reviewing any IT related tools the client may already be using, such as backup applications, firewalls, UPS devices, and AV. We’ll generally remove anything that isn’t in our stack; however, we like to have a conversation with our POC at this stage to make sure there aren’t business reasons they may have deployed something.

In the middle of week two, we’ll send a welcome email to all members of the client’s team. We’re running network analysis reports, penetration tests, and taking care of things like getting site photos, documenting the LAN, and working with the client to put together an AUP.

The final two weeks of onboarding involve regular checkups with our point of contact to make sure things have started out well and catch anything about which the client has concerns. We’re also adding the client to other tracks for things like monthly maintenance and quarterly business reviews and making sure their company is listed in the correct groups for users of Office 365, QuickBooks, and other specialty applications.

The final steps of our onboarding track extend out to 30, 60, and 90 days to prompt internal reviews of asset life spans and initiate follow-up “check-in calls” from our technical lead and myself.

Having an organized process for onboarding new clients that leverages the capabilities of your PSA provides a professional and competent first impression that lays the foundation for a long-term engagement. A successful onboarding experience cements client loyalty, reduces churn, and demonstrates the value your IT services firm brings to the table. Successfully on boarded clients are happy clients … and happy clients generate referrals!

About The AuthorMSPi Thomas Fox, Tech Experts

Thomas Fox is president of Tech Experts  and has been a member of The ASCII Group since 2012.

About The ASCII Group, Inc.

The ASCII Group is a vibrant reseller community of independent MSPs, VARs, and other solutions providers. Formed in 1984, ASCII has more than 70 programs that provide turnkey cost-cutting strategies, innovative business building programs, and extensive peer interaction. ASCII members enjoy benefits such as marketing support; educational information; group purchasing power; increased leverage in the marketplace; and multiple networking opportunities. These programs enable ASCII members to increase revenue, lower operating costs, and grow service opportunities. ASCII is the oldest and largest group of independent information technology (IT) solutions providers, integrators and value added resellers (VARs) in the world. Learn more at www.ascii.com.