GET OFF ON THE RIGHT FOOT WITH NEW CLIENTS WITH AN ONBOARDING EXPERIENCE THAT DELIVERS THE “WOW FACTOR” EVERY TIME.
By: Kendrics Hawkins, Director of Product Onboarding at Liongard
AN MSP’S ONBOARDING EXPERIENCE SETS THE TONE FOR THE ENTIRE CLIENT RELATIONSHIP. DOES YOURS HAVE WHAT IT TAKES TO DELIVER A RESOUNDING “WOW” EVERY TIME?
Chris Long, owner of Computer Troubleshooters of North Phoenix, relishes hearing that three-letter word from new clients during the onboarding experience. In fact, delivering a customer experience that elicits that response is not only a goal, it’s an expectation: the company actively measures its success in delivering the “wow factor” to new clients within the first 90 days of the relationship.
With nearly 80% of MSPs predicting that they’ll add between 1 to 10 new clients in the next 12 months, a great deal of opportunity exists to surprise and delight. How can your MSP deliver an expectation-exceeding experience to new clients? It’s all about having a smooth onboarding process that focuses on four key actions: creating a plan, setting expectations, investing in customer satisfaction, and automating as much as possible.
When these actions come together, you can expect to start hearing “Wow!” from your clients, too.
CREATE A PLAN
Success in almost any endeavor begins with a plan, and onboarding a new managed services client is no different. Most of your new clients will probably already be working with another MSP, so this adds a layer of complexity to your onboarding plan. However, establishing some best practices for the transition can make things less bumpy for all involved.
- Establish a good rapport with the other MSP (if they currently have one). Focus on professional communication that keeps your client’s best interest at the forefront. As Long explains, “Always, always, communication is the pitfall in onboarding. We can automate a lot, but not the human aspect of communication.”
- Plan for a one-month overlap of service. Whenever possible, ask clients to pay the existing MSP for an extended month—ideally paying both you and the other MSP simultaneously. This overlap offers a financial incentive for the prior MSP to work with you to provide a smooth transition.
As customers, we all enjoy having our expectations surpassed. So, setting expectations from the beginning about how the onboarding process will work gives you room to over-deliver and get that “Wow!” response.
- Be realistic. The first month of servicing a new client will probably have a different feel than after onboarding is complete. Be upfront with them about this and let them know that the transition period is just that—a short timeframe during the changeover.
- Be professional. A document detailing your onboarding process, including what to expect, an introduction to the account management team and how to reach out with questions, will ease any worries your client may have and gain their confidence in your services from Day 1.
- Over-communicate. From status updates to general check-ins, it’s best to over-communicate with your new client. Misunderstandings and lack of communication are usually to blame for onboarding problems—not tools or technology.
INVEST IN CUSTOMER SATISFACTION
The onboarding process sets the tone for the entire customer relationship, so investing the time and resources upfront pays dividends down the road. On the flip side, a poor onboarding experience can forever blemish the relationship. Take a measured, thorough approach for long-term success and satisfaction.
- Don’t rush it. Following procedures and capturing documentation from the beginning, though time-consuming, will ultimately result in better service resolution times and more satisfying interactions for your client.
- Allocate significant resources. Don’t be afraid to schedule your techs to spend a substantial chunk of time with new clients to make sure everything is done right the first time. Aaron Huff, Operations Manager for ERGOS Technology, allocates two to three times the onsite hours during the onboarding phase.
AUTOMATE AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE
In reality, onboarding never truly ends. Your clients’ environments change, and so do yours. Employees come and go and solutions evolve, creating a fluid process.
Continuous automation is the solution to these never-ending changes. Without it, documentation becomes outdated and inaccurate; your techs spend their time on manual tasks instead of delivering proactive solutions; and your clients become frustrated with your behind-the-times technology and service. In short, the rate at which you automate onboarding and ongoing operations is critical to the continued growth of your MSP.
Leveraging Liongard Roar during the pre-sales discovery process, by capturing much of your new client’s information, aids in maintaining data accuracy throughout the onboarding process. In fact, Roar users report onboarding times of less than 60 minutes, on average. After that, automatic updates save MSPs time, money and headaches and allow them to start scaling their operations.
“Think about all the things you need to document when you’re bringing on a new client,” said Will Young, NOC Manager at CCS Technology Group. “All of the information you need to gather and manually enter, and then the next day that information is out of date. Liongard can do it all for me and then auto-update, and I don’t have to worry about having stale information in my documentation tool. It’s invaluable. My boss says I saved us thousands of hours with Liongard, and he’s probably right.”
Through planning, setting expectations, investing in the process upfront and automating discovery, your onboarding process, too, can be a “Wow!” experience for your clients.
Learn more about delighting your customers and how to deliver the “wow factor” in our e-book, Building a World Class Customer Journey, which features insights and strategies from more than 20 IT services executives.
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