Managed Service Providers, or MSPs, tend to onboard clients in different ways. But for any MSP, building trust here is a big factor, and part of that is making sure that your onboarding practices are efficient and effective.
Before you get to dive into the exciting stuff with your clients, you’ll need to go through some routine onboarding motions, and we know this can be a bore. To help the process along, we’ve created an MSP onboarding checklist to make sure you don’t miss anything. Having a complete onboarding framework to work from can be a huge help for MSPs, as it streamlines the process and ensures nothing gets overlooked. We hope our MSP onboarding checklist template will help you have a smooth onboarding process for every new client.
Before you’ve even submitted a proposal, the onboarding process is underway. When providing technical support to your clients, it is critical that they can reach you easily. Your client needs to know that they are being kept in the loop and that you are there to walk through this process with them.
An MSP spreadsheet checklist makes the onboarding process simple and easy to follow. Having expectations, communication, and plans laid out in advance will all aid in the success of your onboarding process.
Checklist for MSP Onboarding
1. Get to know your client
Any experienced MSP provider knows that every client is different. Before signing any new clients, sit down with them to discuss basic details about their business and what they’re looking for from an MSP. You may want to do this by providing the client with a questionnaire before meeting with them. This will ensure no important information is missed, and may help prevent surprises from popping up down the road. Completing this step will allow you to plan effectively and start off on the right foot with your new client.
2. Execute a quality network assessment
If you’re using this MSP checklist template, now is the time to perform a quality network assessment. This is crucial in the sales period, as it allows for a good understanding of the customer’s network and operation.
All in all, this step aids in understanding the environment the client operates in, which is necessary to be aware of in case there is a disruption in the onboarding process. You may want to give your client a questionnaire about their current infrastructure to get a full picture of what you’ll be working with before any agreements are officially made.
3. Create your contract
Getting to know your client is a necessary step for creating your Service Level Agreement or Managed Services Contract. Because each of your clients will inevitably have different needs, it is important to have a unique contract for each. Keep in mind that this task should always be left to a legal professional.
4. Send a welcome booklet
Provide your client with a booklet of information about your company, including the services you provide and contact information. This can also include a brief description of what your client can expect in the beginning of the onboarding process, like future communications you’ll be sending in the coming days. Remember that this booklet should act as a way to introduce the client to your business without making them feel overwhelmed; you don’t want to throw too much at them at once.
Some MSPs also choose to include useful reading material or links about their company, like blog posts or articles featuring them, along with customer testimonials. These additions to your welcome booklet can ease any client concerns and make them feel confident in their choice to work with you.
5. Select a project manager and introduce your team
A strong project manager will act as a point of contact for your clients. This streamlines communication, as they know who to turn to if they have any queries about the process. Your project manager will also be able to let the client know of any disruptions, whilst making sure that the onboarding process—and the project in general—is running smoothly.
Be sure to introduce your project manager to your client, as well as to introduce any of your team members that will be working closely with your client. This will help everyone feel comfortable around one another and pave the way for clear communication throughout the project. You might consider doing this through a brief team meeting, either in person or through a web conference.
6. Create a plan to go live
When planning to go live with the services, creating both a plan and a chart of all the necessary tasks will be to your advantage. An excel spreadsheet laying out each step of the plan will allow you and your client to see the full picture. Communicating with the customer is very important in this phase, as you’ll need their approval on the plan.
This might take a while, as your plan may not get approved in one shot. You might have to go back to the drawing board and look for an alternative. However, it’s an important step and the client can’t rush into something they are not completely happy with. Expectations also come into play here—it’s important to know exactly what you’re expected to do.
7. Build an onboarding roadmap and task scheduling
For MSP onboarding best practices, setting out a roadmap is critical. You need to identify a plan and lay it out clearly to see what you need to accomplish for the process to be successful. Using all the information you’ve received from your client so far, and building off the plan you’ve created together to go live, you should have no problem laying out each step your team will need to perform for a successful launch. Once you have a complete task list, setting up a task schedule should be your next step.
This full breakdown of tasks will boost efficiency,allowing you to delegate tasks effectively among your team. Additionally, sharing this roadmap and schedule with your client will ensure you’re both on the same page throughout the project.
8. Communicate and set expectations
Communication is the foundation of all projects. It’s key to success and critical in the onboarding process. Your customers need to feel valued, and a relationship that is built on trust is important. They should be continuously updated on the process and informed of what is expected of them.
Setting clear expectations reduces the potential for conflict, and increases your chance of success. This is a point to keep in mind before the process has even begun. Your clients need to know that they can always ask for clarification and support.
9. Load remote monitoring agent and install antivirus
Although it may sound obvious, MSP onboarding software is an easily overlooked component of the process. Examples include your remote monitoring and management (RMM) agent and antivirus. These will work in harmony to ensure your computers are working efficiently and without any threats to the system. Antivirus, in particular, protects the computers used in the process from viruses and so on—and should not be forgotten about. Don’t forget to test your monitoring and alerts to ensure everything is working properly.
10. Train your client’s employees
After the MSP onboarding checklist has been followed, and the onboarding tasks have been completed, you should set up a meeting with the employees. This step is crucial in building a relationship with the people you’re going to be working with and making them feel supported through the transition to the new technology you’re introducing.
You may want to include some form of content that will give them information on how to get in contact with certain people on your team, such as IT support, and what they can expect from those communications. You’ll also want to provide your client’s employees with all necessary training materials on the new infrastructure. One preferred method of doing this is through webinars.
11. Use correct metrics
Making use of correct metrics is an important part of your MSP onboarding checklist. These need to be gathered so that they can be shared with the customer at critical points in the relationship, such as business review meetings. These will show that your customer’s business has improved, and it will allow them to evaluate your services more efficiently.
It’s a good idea to perform regular check-ins with your client, especially at first. This will let them know you’re willing to do what it takes to give them an outstanding experience working with you, and will help you stay on top of any problems that arise.
When meeting about your client’s business, it is also good practice to ask for feedback from your client and their employees through the first few months to ensure there are no outstanding issues that have not been addressed.
12. Document all relevant information
A checklist for MSPs always includes this step. The larger the amount of information gathered during the onboarding process, the better prepared you are. If a customer contacts you with a problem, your first-call resolution will be more accurate and effective if you have documented as much information as possible.