Seamless Onboarding for MSPs: A 4-Step Guide to Efficiency

Post Date: 01/26/2024
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Managed Service Providers (MSPs) are increasingly becoming the go-to solution for businesses seeking to streamline their IT operations. However, the success of an MSP’s relationship with a new customer begins with its ability to onboard new customers seamlessly.

The onboarding process sets the tone for the entire relationship; it can significantly impact customer satisfaction and retention. It’s crucial to get it right since poor onboarding is one of the top three factors that contribute to customer churn, Precursive’s Customer Onboarding Report found. And 74% of potential customers will transfer to a different solutions provider if they experience a complicated onboarding process.

Furthermore, according to a 2023 Canalys report, companies are experiencing budget pressures due to the weakening economy, which impacts their IT spending. This landscape puts more pressure on MSPs to deliver good service and present the value they can bring to companies from the beginning of the customer journey.

Moreover, a partnership that gets off on the right foot can translate to customer loyalty and more profits. A mere 5% boost in customer retention can assist with a 25% increase in profit. To keep a healthy and lasting customer relationship, MSPs should consider the best approaches and use the right tools to allow an effective onboarding. This should involve understanding the needs of customers, putting a solid plan in place, and carrying out the plan effectively.

Here are the ways MSPs can employ to ensure a smooth onboarding process:

1. Understand the Customer’s Needs

According to Adobe’s The State of Digital Customer Experience report, for 70% of customers, an organization must provide a seamless experience at any point of interaction.

To begin a smooth-sailing onboarding, MSPs must first get a grasp of the current operational landscape of their clients before offering any product to customers.

Establishing an open, two-way communication should be a good start. This is vital since any onboarding should begin with a kickoff meeting, which allows clients to discuss their needs and goals.

During this phase, MSPs should ask the right questions to uncover the customer’s pain points and expectations. This should be followed by a thorough assessment of the customer’s current IT infrastructure, identifying gaps, and understanding their business objectives.

This assessment period should be collaborative, ensuring the customer feels heard and understood. Information gathered from this phase will guide the MSP in designing and implementing IT solutions that respond to the needs of the customer.

2. Develop a Customized Onboarding Plan

Once the customer’s needs are understood, the MSP should develop a customized onboarding plan. This is where the services and products of MSPs will come into play.

Providing services and tools tailored to the needs of customers is critical since 40% of buyers prefer personalized product demonstrations, according to Gartner. In line with this customer sentiment, MSPs must clearly communicate and have an agreement with the client about the specific solutions they intend to deploy into the client’s infrastructure.

Relationships of MSPs with clients are built on trust, transparency, and the assurance of delivering quality services. MSPs should officially outline the steps to be taken, provide a clear timeline, and set realistic outcomes. One of the most effective ways to establish this foundation is through a Service-Level Agreement (SLA).

As part of the SLA, MSPs must also outline the scope of their services and define the roles and responsibilities of both parties. It should also include contingency plans to handle any potential issues during the onboarding process. The plan should be communicated clearly to the customer to ensure they understand what to expect and will help prevent any misunderstandings or conflicts.

3. Leverage Technology

MSPs using the manual process could spend about 40 to 80 hours to log customer details into databases during the onboarding process. Using effective digital tools can significantly enhance this process.

Still, only 13% of organizations have a customer onboarding solution, and most only use spreadsheets. In addition, 88% don’t use automation for other key onboarding processes.

MSPs can use software solutions to track the onboarding process and ensure it is done swiftly. They can also use project management tools to coordinate tasks and ensure everyone is on the same page.

With the AvePoint Elements portal, MSPs can invite and manage new customers and activate services with a two-step setup. Upon assigning licenses to customers, they can be up and running instantly.

MSPs can even launch cloud services to multiple customers simultaneously through Elements, making it a quick and seamless experience for both the MSPs and their customers.

AvePoint Elements provides a frictionless onboarding system to MSPs by allowing service providers to automate a regular, critical practice without losing sight of the quality and control needed.

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4. Implement the Onboarding Plan

The relationship of MSPs with clients doesn’t end with creating a plan; the real challenge lies in its implementation and the steps taken thereafter to ensure its success.

In this phase, the client would typically give MSP access to its systems, allowing the latter to set up the necessary systems and processes.

MSPs should consider a phased approach to allow the client to adapt to the new system and minimize disruptions gradually. It also provides an opportunity to identify and rectify issues early, preventing them from escalating.

MSPs should provide adequate training and resources to the client’s team before, during, and after the implementation. This ensures clients are comfortable with the new solution and can use it effectively. It is vital to remember that each client has different needs and expectations. Some may require more training, while others may need more technical support. Fifty-five percent of clients will stop using a product or service they don’t understand; hence, a one-size-fits-all approach won’t cut it.

Post-implementation, MSPs should continuously monitor the systems and applications, track key metrics such as product usage, and provide ongoing support to the customer whenever they need it. This includes regular system updates, troubleshooting, and addressing any issues.

Through Elements’ Risk Management Package, MSPs can also understand the overall risks and compliance posture and respond to any security concerns of MSPs’ customers. This solution allows MSPs to scan workspaces, configure systems with appropriate policies, monitor environments, and remediate risks.Risk

AvePoint’s Approach to Efficient MSP Onboarding

A smooth sailing onboarding process is crucial for MSPs to attract and retain customers. By effectively communicating the plan, providing personalized support and training, and monitoring progress, MSPs can ensure a successful onboarding experience for their customers.

The AvePoint Partner Program is designed to be scalable, easy to use, and enable MSPs to work as true partners so they have what they need to seamlessly onboard customers and grow their business. Along with our program are modern solutions like AvePoint Elements, which helps MSPs simplify and scale customer onboarding.

AvePoint Partner Program has 3,500 partners across the globe – and growing! Learn more about the AvePoint Partner Program.

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Phoebe Magdirila is a Senior Content Marketing Specialist at AvePoint, covering SaaS management, backup, and governance. With a decade of technology journalism experience, Phoebe creates content to help businesses accelerate and manage their SaaS journey.

View all post by Phoebe Jennelyn Magdirila

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