You’ve adopted a few tried and true lead generation methods. You’ve built a marketing list the Internet gurus would be proud of. If all goes well, your next big task should be onboarding – that is welcoming new clients into what both sides hope is a long, fruitful partnership. A simple matter of plug and play? Not so fast. You’ve got some work to do.
Now if you’re looking to get things rolling as quickly as possible, you could shove an SLA in the client’s face and call it a day. A strong SLA eliminates misunderstandings and protects you from legal issues by laying out your responsibilities, defining the client’s obligations, and making expectations clear before a partnership ensues. While it technically outlines how everything works, not even the best written SLA alone should be trusted to set the tone for new arrivals. You need a comprehensive onboarding program designed to simplify the process of welcoming each new client to the family.
Establish the Importance of Access
Some of your clients are stationed across the country. Others are situated down the block. You need direct access to their systems no matter where they’re located and they need to be okay with that. A good remote tool comes in handy here. Not only can you stay on top of the every day responsibilities you were brought “on board” to handle, you can quickly identify, troubleshoot, and fix issues when issues arise. A lot of business people these days are understandably uneasy about giving up control. However, most won’t give you a hard time once realizing it comes with the territory and that you travelling to their office comes at a premium.
Round Up Documentation
Building thorough documentation is the only way to get to know the client’s network infrastructure. This info must be easily accessible to all IT personnel assigned to the account. Instead of constantly enquiring about how a client’s router is configured or passwords to a certain systems, technicians can simply pull up a file and hunt down their own answers. Fewer questions throughout the process means fewer interruptions and higher production levels.
The ideal documentation scope is rather wide. Examples might include
- Remote connections: Take note of domain names, IP addresses, VPN logins, and any other details needed to remotely access client systems.
- Hardware specs: Document every piece of hardware you’ll have to interface with. Details such as the DNS settings for routers, servers, and firewalls will give you a basic understanding of the client’s infrastructure.
- Endpoint access: If it provides a path to and from the network, you need to literally understand the connection. You can optimize troubleshooting efforts by finding out which devices, systems, and applications are connected to a client’s network.
- Web apps: Email, web, and cloud applications are critical resources for many businesses. IT should know where these applications are hosted and have access to any control panel programs that may be integral to the environment.
- Backup plans: What data are you backing up for clients? Where to? How often? Your technicians need this information in order to streamline disaster recovery efforts.
Proper documentation is a matter of efficiency more than anything. The more intel you have at your fingertips, the better you’ll do at your job, so gather all you can as soon as new clients come on board. When all is said and done, any qualified IT person on the staff should be able to take the wheel and manage. For a thorough guide on documenting a network with backup and discovery in mind, see Making Disaster Recovery Easy.
Streamline Data Management
Getting new clients settled is a lot easier when you’re equipped to handle all the new data that accompanies them. This is an opportune spot for your IT software to pick up the slack. For example
- A good PSA tool will make it possible to capture and centralize data from multiple client networks.
- Staff can use an enterprise CRM to create profiles for each individual customer and track them over the life of the relationship.
- IT admins can use StorageCraft ShadowControl (designed to work with ShadowProtect) to monitor and manage network-wide backups for multiple clients from a single interface.
- Your basic spreadsheet program can help keep data organized while granting access from the office, client sites, mobile devices, and other supported endpoints.
If you can’t handle their data, then you can’t fully support the client’s needs. Make sure your IT tools are fine-tuned for the task at hand.
Cater to Diversity
So all your clients are in the healthcare industry. That doesn’t mean they have the same requirements or preferences when in your care. New partners will have an easier time adapting if treated like the individuals they are. Instead of sticking them 20 pages of boring FAQs, give them a mix of educational options to choose from. How-to articles. Short YouTube clips. Access to past webinars. That kinda stuff. This way you cater to the enthusiastic client who doesn’t mind reading as well the client with the short attention span and limited time. We have a great list of ways you can educate clients about these types of things.
Strive For Beyond Simple
I think it makes sense to apply the KISS principal in every facet of life and business. It’s already a motto in most MSP settings, but I know firsthand how simple is often becomes complex when IT is involved. Try to make things as simple as possible for newcomers at every turn. So if creating a user account is a six-step process, try to trim it down to four. It’s not always a matter of IT skills and complexity. Many people are just busy, and saving them precious time is something customers will always appreciate.
Be Super Supportive
Not all clients come in at the same skill level, nor do they learn at the same pace. It may take some users quite a while to get comfortable with select technologies and systems. In the meantime, the best thing you can do is provide additional support to the individual accounts that need it most. Clients have an opportunity to learn the ropes and sustain the productivity levels that are so critical to their own business performance. Give them that extra special care, and they just may hand you their loyalty on a silver platter.
I don’t care how tech savvy they are. You can’t expect new clients to just come in and figure out everything on their own. If you’ve ever been a new customer or new member of anything, you know that fitting into any new arrangement can be challenging. Make the preparations and remove some of the burden by becoming a dedicated resource your clients can count on for rock-solid support!