When bringing on a new client, the first 90 days is the most crucial period in ensuring their success with your IT services. If you’ve been following along with my blog series, you’re already well on your way to optimizing your MSP onboarding process. In my first post, you asked and answered five critical onboarding questions to provide important insight into your client onboarding experience. In post number two, we embellished on your learnings to create a client onboarding journey to help you visualize the end-to-end process and identify areas of improvement. Now, it’s time to talk about impactful touchpoints during client onboarding that are not to be missed.
Let’s take a deep dive into how you can properly set expectations for a successful start to your partnership—starting with these five important onboarding touchpoints.
1. Deliver a Memorable Welcome
After the contract is signed, you want to put your best foot forward and make your new client feel like part of the family. You can make good first impression by sending a welcome email to your client and express your business’s excitement. Don’t be afraid to let your company mission lead and your culture shine through. It’s all part of your secret sauce and how your clients will begin to know you, understand what to expect during interactions and build the foundation for a long-lasting relationship.
To help with this, I have provided a welcome email template that you can download and personalize as part of our new MSP Client Onboarding Success Kit. This welcome email is not meant to stand alone, but to be incorporated with your Welcome Packet that includes an Onboarding Checklist, Summary of Services and a list of who your client should contact throughout the onboarding process. The goal of this onboarding success kit is to onboard your new clients with ease expressing your company’s welcome, setting proper expectations on what will take place during the onboarding period and making clear what your services are and what they can expect to be provided.
2. Meet the Team
During the first few days of your onboarding process, the Client Onboarding Specialist (or employee managing the account) should introduce themselves via phone or on-site. The goal of this touchpoint is to make a one-on-one connection and reinforce expectations during your onboarding process. The Onboarding Specialist should offer to review the Welcome Packet, provide a “Meet the Team” guide and discuss the status of onboarding in reference to the Onboarding Checklist.
It is extremely important to know your audience in these scenarios and tailor the conversation accordingly. If you are speaking with Chief Finance Officer or any non-technical contact, the conversation should not enter technical territory and rather focus on the business benefits of your services. You can use the terms “we are evaluating your technical environment” or “we are gathering key technical information to insure you are set up properly for success moving forward” to ease the conversation. A large part of great customer experience is knowing what information is essential and how to share it to maximize transparency without overwhelming the client. This will set yourself up to be viewed as a trusted advisor who understands their business and individual needs, and not someone who should be tuned out from the beginning.
3. Training Day
Never miss an opportunity to go on-site and meet your clients face to face! Training should be part of your contract, and the expectation should be set early on that you will be delivering training to the entire user base. This is especially vital if the client will be utilizing any IT Help Desk services. Take this opportunity to introduce your team to everyone by providing a short training, answering any questions and setting those expectations for how to contact you when needed. Also, it’s never a bad idea to provide stickers for monitors, phones and laptops and laminated cards for cubicles, or even some snacks!
Before you leave, take a moment to connect with your client point of contact, thank them for their business and ask a few questions as to how you can better support their business. These actions signal you are listening and actively striving to understand their business and be a best in class IT provider.
4. 30 Day Check-In
Celebrate your client’s success with you and highlight the value your company has brought! Provide a check-in about 30 days into onboarding to review the transition process, report on any major milestones and ensure success moving forward. Some topics of discussion might include:
- Network Assessment – Deliver a report of your client’s network before and after they began using your services. Then, explain any significant changes to their business operations at a high level. This can help you immediately illustrate the value you have provided them.
- Milestones – If any specific milestones have not been hit, use this time to discuss the items that remain open and establish a plan for completion.
- The future – As a strategic partner, you can discuss your recommendations moving forward and include a documented plan if this involves project work or upgrades to equipment. Keep in mind that there should be no project work in the onboarding phase so you can focus on getting to know their business, equipment, and environment, along with getting them successfully set up on the basics.
- Questions – Finally, you’ll want to conclude with a few open-ended questions regarding their business and business goals. By having this conversation with the client or business owner, you will begin to lay the foundation of a trusted IT advisor relationship.
5. Gather Feedback
Make sure you’re closing the loop by putting together a simple Implementation Survey for your client to fill out and provide their feedback. You can do this using Survey Monkey or another free tool that allows you to analyze results over time and by individual clients. Email the survey link to your primary point of contact and any other contacts you feel are important, or ask your client to distribute link as they deem necessary. Stress the importance of honest input, both positive and constructive, in the overall delivery of your services and onboarding process.
You are striving to provide “best in class” IT services, and the only way to know if you are delivering on that promise is to ask. I have provided a simple template for you to use based on surveying best practices and my experience with what works best. Remember: you want to demonstrate that client satisfaction is at the core of your business goals. Offering this opportunity for client input ensures that they feel listened to and, most importantly, that you will take action on their concerns or pain points.
By understanding each of these important touchpoints and incorporating them into onboarding, you’ll be able to deliver value from day one, reduce client churn and avoid those hiccups along the way. If you truly want to master the client onboarding process, download the success kit below! Tune in next month when we’ll discuss common onboarding pain points, how they can hurt your business and my tips to overcome them.
BONUS: Looking to optimize your client onboarding program? Download Continuum's newest success kit to set the right expectations and build lasting business relationships with clients. Get the kit here!