Whether you are a full-service MSP or a dedicated backup company a solid customer onboarding process can start a new customer relationship off on the right foot.
Below we'll cover 6 key areas of a basic onboarding process.
1. Customer business goals
At the start of the relationship it’s important to take the time to understand the goals of your customer in relation to your service. This is so not only can you align to meet them but it also works to help you define and lay out your internal processes, such as what reporting you need to meet them.
2. Standardize the internal process for your own team members
When time = money, efficiency is key. You can start to promote this type of thinking by evaluating your own internal systems and processes with the goal of standardizing for your team. First stage standardizing may simply be creating a checklist of the processes and setups that your team members can follow each time for configuring a new customer.
Not only does this promote consistency across your customer base but when trying to identify or resolve problems it can lead to a much quicker diagnosis.
3. Setting customer expectations
This is as simple as running through the service they are engaging you on, what they receive in it and how things will operate. This action looks to manage and properly align the customers' expectations of you which subsequently allows you to ensure that your internal systems and processes can match the outlined expectations.
4. Educating your customer
One thing that often gets overlooked when onboarding a new customer is educating them on what you are doing and more importantly why you are doing it. If you are configuring a backup service for a customer, explaining how it will work is another avenue of setting customer expectations. It also ensures that the customer understands the value of your service and what you are doing for them. This direct type of education can be another avenue for demonstrating your expertise.
5. Ensure reporting is in place
Depending on what service you are offering for your customer, the ability to regularly report to them about what you provided or achieved helps to solidify the relationship. If you are only communicating with your customers when it’s time to pay your invoice what does that represent to the customer?
It’s easy for a customer to take for granted what you do behind the scenes so being able to demonstrate weekly/monthly/annually exactly what you have been doing and how they have benefited from you is a strong way to demonstrate your value.
6. Uncover the gaps in their business
When you are onboarding a customer it’s easy to glaze over that you’re hearing a lot of additional valuable information. You’ve probably heard their:
Overall business goals Their working environment What is critical to them
The opportunity here is to add further value by providing additional services to fit the gaps that you have heard. Alternatively this gives you the opportunity to recommend or introduce them to other businesses/people/services that would fit.
This type of action for a customer not only demonstrates that you were listening to their requirements but also puts you in the position where you could be looked to for further value than just your initial contract.
Summary of the 6 steps you can start to work on today:
- Understand your customer goals
- Standardize your own internal processes
- Set your customer expectations
- Educate your customer
- Ensure that there is regular reporting/communication to the customer
- Listen for gaps in their business that you can assist with/recommend
Question for you - What's your thoughts on the onboarding processes? Is it something that is an essential part of your business?