The way you on-board new clients can be a real differentiation for Managed Service Providers.
Being transparent about the process and how long it will take, managing pain points and expectations, as well as communicating and advising at each stage are all ways to inspire loyalty and trust with a new client.
Even though each client will have certain aspects about them which are unique, there are some common first steps you’ll need to go through with them all. Before you can outline the process to your customer however, you need to know what these steps are for yourself.
The quicker you can gain access to your client’s systems – the better. The first 90 days with a new client are essential for showing that you are making a difference, so you want to hit the ground running with IT support, automation and monitoring. When you start with a new client, you need to make sure you have all the information for access, from domain names and IP addresses, to VPN logins and various passwords or rights.
The Atera agent is seamless to deploy onto the end user’s computers, and immediately gives you the access you need to monitor the availability and performance of the workstation and server. The installation wizard even allows for multiple agents to be installed at once, by scanning either the local network or the IP range. By using the Atera Logon Script, any new workstations or servers who join the network later will be automatically monitored and managed, too.
The quicker you have access, the faster you can begin to build reporting and analytics that shows the value you’re adding to your client. The Forbes Business Development Council notes that data is one of the most essential ways to retain new clients. “Measurable analytics should be able to point to specific numbers proving your worth as an organization.”
This isn’t the only kind of data which you should be keeping your eye on. With new clients often comes huge amounts of customer data, and now’s the time to discuss with your client the automation and maintenance of this information. A good Professional Services Automation tool (PSA) should be able to manage customer information in one place, whether that’s contacts and service history, or more sensitive data like contracts or encrypted passwords. You can also impress a new client by offering and setting up services such as time sheet management and automated billing solutions, keeping track of contracts, invoicing and even taxes.
Information on company procedure is also essential. Data backups for example need to be set up as soon as possible, and your technicians will need answers to make this happen. What data needs to be backed up and where? How often, and what disaster recovery plan is expected? For seamless on-boarding for your client, Atera offers integration with Online Backup, giving hybrid cloud recovery, as well as continuous backup solutions.
For most MSPs, staying on top of varied technology and hardware is just not sustainable. Managed services focus on keeping track of an extremely complex environment for your clients, and this is impossible without some kind of standardization in place across the board.
However, you may not want to force your client to make huge changes immediately. First, be aware of your clients existing systems. Get information on everything from their routers, servers, firewalls and switch-boxes. You can then decide what the best process is for their on-boarding. You may encourage a better relationship by creating a transitional road-map for your client where you discuss what hardware they can keep for a set amount of time, before moving them over at a mutually convenient point, such as the end of the calendar year.
Set up Systems and Software
Just like hardware standardization, the more your clients share software configuration, the simpler it will be for you as an MSP. Giving your client an expectation of which new software and systems they will be transitioning to, the timeline for this transition, as well as the benefits can make a real difference to easing any bumps in the road.
One great example is a client who need moving onto Office 365. They may well feel loyal to Microsoft Exchange, and nervous about their new MSP making large changes, but if you explain the security risks they are opening themselves up to by not migrating, as well as the scalable and more cost-effective service level they will enjoy with Office 365, you turn what could be a stressful change for them into an example of the added value you’re providing instead.
Many believe that your on-boarding process as an MSP will make or break your client relationship, with the first 30 to 90 days being the most essential. Being clear and transparent about the process, as well as the necessity for hardware, software and system changes is one way to inspire trust. Making it seamless to establish access and compile data gives new clients a clear idea of your value from day one.