Congratulations!  You have signed a contract with a new client for your team to manage their services!  Now what? What is the best way to onboard your new client?

As a Managed Services Provider (MSP), this is one of the most critical moments that will make or break your success with this new client.  A positive onboarding experience will go a long way in providing validation to your new client that they made the right decision.  From your perspective, you need to onboard them in the most efficient manner possible.  Your margins cannot be maintained if you end up needing to double your labor and software costs each time you double your client base.  Economies of scale are extremely important to your success as an MSP.

New Client Assessment

If your IT Service Management (ITSM) tool supports a true multi-tenanted environment your efforts to add a new client will be tremendously simplified.  You will be able to add a new tenant to your existing system and re-use much of the configuration from existing clients – while still keeping each client’s data secure from all other clients.  This can result in enormous savings:

  • No need to implement a new instance of your ITSM system
  • Single system for all of your support staff to sign into
  • Use your existing ITSM processes and procedures

When you are onboarding a new client, you need to evaluate what services were sold to the client against your current service catalog.  Hopefully, you will be able to use existing Service Catalog entries as much as possible – this will also save costs in a couple of ways –

  • No need to go to the effort of implementing and testing something brand new
  • Time to value is met for the client – you will be able to get them running as soon as possible
  • No need to train your current staff on new processes or procedures in order to support your new client.
  • Future Service Catalog maintenance and support costs are diminished

Pay particular attention to tasks that are automated.  By reusing as many automated tasks as possible you will be able to dramatically increase the ability to scale your client base since automated tasks require little to no human intervention.

At the end of your assessment, there will most likely be a few specialized Service Catalog entries for your new client.  Hopefully, these entries will map to slight variations on existing entries allowing you to create these entries by modifying the existing entry as required for your new client.  This method will result in minimizing the amount of testing required to implement new Service Catalog entries.

Other areas to consider:

  • Branding- make certain that the ITSM solution is branded for your new client. This includes items like the main screen after login and communications from the system.  This will help the client’s end user’s feel comfortable communicating with the new Service Desk.
  • Dashboards and Charts – allow the client to quickly view the status of the Service Desk. The system should have the ability to create these for each client.  This will allow them to track the success of the implementation as well as the ongoing success.
  • Authentication of client’s end users – how will the end users be authenticated when logging into the system? Will a Single Sign On authentication be set up between the system and the client’s Active Directory?
  • Assets – Import assets or use a discovery tool? Using assets allows more granular approach to reporting which provides a better understanding of problem areas in the client’s infrastructure. In all likelihood, the client will be able to provide a database of assets that can be bulk loaded.
  • Knowledge Base – Using a knowledge base allows the clients user base to become active in using self-service. Much of the generic Knowledge Base will be valuable for your new client as well!

After the required services have been assessed, you should meet with the client team to validate that all services have been covered to their satisfaction.  A project plan for rolling out the services support to your client should be presented at this meeting.  These project meetings with the client are extremely important to make sure that they feel comfortable with the decision that was made to trust you with managing their services.  Transparency with the client throughout the process will greatly enhance their customer satisfaction. If the project is slated to take 2 months, be up front with them and let them know that.  Setting expectations and then beating those expectations is another great way to improve customer satisfaction!

Implementation

To begin onboarding a new client in ServiceAide CSM, start by creating a new organization.

 

 

You will want to complete the implementation as quickly as possible so that your new client will begin seeing the results they are looking for plus you will be able to begin billing them as soon as possible.  Depending on the contractual arrangements with your client, you might be able to roll out support over a period of time, beginning with services already in your Service Catalog and then moving on to new services as they are made ready.

During this phase, make sure to schedule regular meetings with your client to keep them informed of the progress via updates to the aforementioned project plan.  These meetings can also be used to gain clarification on any tasks that might need more information.

Review

Once implementation has begun, meetings with your client should be held fairly frequently (perhaps weekly) to make certain that you are providing the level of service that they expect.  There might also be areas where you can improve service for them based on new processes and procedures within your organization.

After the implementation has been completed, it’s probably appropriate to schedule the meetings monthly, quarterly or annually depending on how the implementation has gone.

Ongoing Operations and Maintenance

If your ITSM solution is a SAAS solution, much of the maintenance headache will be handled for you – you don’t need to concern yourself with OS patches, virus protection etc.  Your provider will handle all of that along with software updates to all of the software running on the cloud system.  In addition, you won’t be required to run a parallel system to test customizations you have made to the system since there aren’t any.  You will just need to concern yourself with maintenance of items like the Service Catalog, client users, reviewing new features added, and possibly updating automations to take advantage of new features.  All-in-all you will find maintenance of a SAAS based system much less expensive than should you decide to run an on-premise ITSM product – this lower cost will add to your reduced ITSM costs!