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10 Easy Steps to Onboard MSP Clients

If you’re new to the MSP field and you’re looking for new and improved ways to onboard your clients, then we’re here to help. We understand how difficult it can be to streamline the onboarding process, so we have curated a way to do just that in ten easy steps.

Take a look below to find out more about MSP clients, onboarding, and how you can ensure that your clients get the most thorough onboarding possible.

What Are MSP Clients?

An MSP client, or Managed Service Provider client, is a business that has contracted another provider for IT and support services. Businesses from small, independently owned businesses to large enterprises use MSP services to outsource specific IT functions as well as entire infrastructures, including network management, data backup and recovery, cybersecurity, help desk and tech support, and Cloud services.

What Is Onboarding?

Customer onboarding refers to the process of guiding new customers through your products or services to ensure that they know how to use them properly. It may involve in-person sessions, online tutorials, demos, documentation, and customer support services for further questions.

Key elements of onboarding include:

  • Training and development: This includes training sessions, resources, and more that ensure a client can use your services.
  • Mentorship and extended support: You may opt to assign a mentor or support services for questions and assistance.
  • Feedback: It is always important to gather feedback from your clients so that you can improve your services based on their experience.

The Importance of Following an Onboarding Checklist

One of the best ways to ensure that your clients get all they need from an onboarding experience is to follow an onboarding checklist. It ensures you’ve covered all your bases and haven’t forgotten key information. Below are some of the benefits of doing so.

  • Improved communication: Communication is key to a good working relationship, and a comprehensive onboarding plan can show your customers that communication is important to you.
  • Faster training: The quicker a client can get to grips with your software, the more they’re going to enjoy your services.
  • Increased knowledge of your clients: Spending time getting to know your clients during onboarding means that you know more about them and can cater your services to their needs.
  • A consistent, positive experience for clients: Onboarding presents an opportunity for clients to learn and to ask questions. This means that they’re not constantly waiting for replies or getting stuck using your services.
  • Increase in client retention: Onboarding makes a service more accessible to a client, which in turn makes them more likely to stay.
  • Coordinated transition for systems and vendors: Making a seamless transition happen for clients can make a huge difference in the way they view your services.
  • Conversion from free trial to paid: Often, a free trial consumer will move to the paid subscription if someone can show them how to use the software and offer a personalized experience.
  • Enhanced feature and product adoption: The more a client understands about your services and products, the more they’re going to use all features and may even add new products and services to their bundle.

Below is our onboarding step-by-step guide.

1. Gather Information About the Client 🤝

Getting to know your clients before you even meet them helps to present a well-informed front for customers in your first meeting. There are many benefits to getting to know your new customers, including understanding what they value, creating products that appeal to them, and offering a personal touch to your services.

Before going into any meeting with a new or potential client, we recommend getting to know as much as possible about them. Below is a focused list of what MSP businesses should know about their clients before meeting with them.

MSP Clients

2. Sign the Service Level Agreement 📜

A service-level agreement is a contract that you, the service provider, give to your customers to set out what services and service standards you will provide. Like any contract between two parties, it states the standards, services, and expectations that both parties must meet.

A service-level agreement (SLA) is important because it defines what you need to provide as well as covers you for things like outages and performance issues. Part of the contract will define the severity levels and circumstances when you are not liable for issues with your service.

Getting the SLA signed is a crucial part of the onboarding process for new MSP clients. It is best to create a customized contract for each new customer so that it addresses their exact service needs. Before having anyone sign the SLA, make sure to have your attorney look over it and ensure that everything is up to standard.

3. Give a Warm Welcome 🫂

A welcome package is a nice touch to any onboarding plan. It not only shows that you care about each client, but it also gives you the opportunity to personalize it and show how much you value them specifically.

Welcome Packet

Here’s what to include:

  • Organization details: This could cover your history as a company, your USP, and the benefits a client will get from signing on with you.
  • Summary of your targets: Summarize what you want to achieve through the contract and take the opportunity to personalize it if you can.
  • Service offerings: This can include both the services they are utilizing in their contract and any additional services you offer.
  • Project timeline: If you’re working on a project with a deadline, this can give clients milestones to tick off and keep track of.
  • Meeting schedule: Be specific about what you need from them in terms of their time. Include locations, times, and dates. You may even want to include what will be addressed at each meeting.
  • To-do list: Do your clients need to set something up in advance of training? Is there anything you still need to do for them? Be clear in your to-dos.
  • Related information: Include any product guides, articles, and blogs that they might need.

Customer testimonials: This can show why your clients should trust you and may even push them to add services to their package.

4. Have a Kick-off Meeting 🧑‍🏫

A kick-off meeting gives you the opportunity to meet your clients in person (or over Zoom) to build trust and healthy communication between the two parties. At this meeting, you can establish a point of contact and discuss overall project management. It will give you a chance to meet their internal team, introduce them to team members they may deal with, and enhance your overall client relationship.

Meeting

5. Import Client’s Data 📈

Various tools need to be connected to data sources or require importing the client’s data for usage.

Client Data

Importing data is a complicated process, so you should transfer information using various workflows that work best for the data being imported. You should also do a security assessment and apply multi-factor authentication where you can. 

If you want to strengthen the security model, separate the security configuration for every entry mode and data integration. Automating the process can also minimize errors and other issues, improve accuracy and efficiency, and be more cost-effective in many cases.

6. Sync Systems 🧑‍💻

This is another critical part of the onboarding process. You must carefully plan and monitor this process. You must also understand your client’s applications and their system’s library structure.

When you run two systems in parallel, change-control best practices are necessary. If you can, limit the changes on the client’s existing system while you are synchronizing.

7. Set Up Remote Monitoring and Management 💻

Remote Monitoring and Management (RMM) is essential for checking your client’s infrastructure and responding proactively.

Remote Monitoring

8. Organize Training 📞

Your training plan is crucial to the success of your client/provider relationship, so plan it carefully. While you want your training to be comprehensive, you will also need to make sure that it isn’t too long, or clients may get bored.

A few things to consider about your approach to training include:

  • Where will it be? Are you going to provide on-location training where a member of your team is present? Are your clients overseas, and would video tutorials be better?
  • How will it look? What format will you use? Will training be interactive? Will it be web-based, video-based, or something else?
  • How will clients ask questions? With in-person training, this is easy, but if you’re using an online course, can they reach you easily?

We recommend going back to the information you gathered about your client and looking at their needs. What training do you think will suit them best? While it might be difficult to personalize every training program, you may be able to tweak certain aspects.

9. Go Live 🚦

This step is pretty simple. Once training has been completed, you will need to notify your client that it is time to go live. Whether this is via email, a phone call, or a surprise muffin basket 🧁, it is entirely up to you.

10. Follow-Up 📲

The final step in the client onboarding steps is to follow up with them. You can check in, see how everything is going, and ask them to fill out your client onboarding questionnaire. This will give you the feedback you need to see how a client feels the onboarding process went, and it sets the tone for open communication and feedback.

Take the customer experiences that are shared in this evaluation and use them to enhance the customer onboarding process for the next client.

Conclusion

Following each one of these steps will ensure that the onboarding process is completed swiftly and comprehensively. Make your own version of this checklist to ensure you cover all bases and get your clients up to speed as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Remember that the onboarding process can set the tone for your entire relationship.