MSP Onboarding Checklist: Tips to Improve First-Call Resolution & Managed Services Onboarding Process

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Sep 04, 2018

Video Above: Jeff Blount, vCIO at Cobb Technologies, shares how Collabrance helps them with their onboarding process for managed services customers.

Cobb Technologies Uses Proven Onboarding Processes to Save Time and Provide an Exceptional Service Experience to the Customer from the Start

Onboarding new clients for an MSP is often an overlooked as an optimization point for many managed IT service providers. However, a heavy focus on the best practices of onboarding clients can help set expectations and allow you to better provide and resolve client IT and technology issues.

Cobb Technologies, a Collabrance Master MSP Partner, has attributed this focus on client onboarding to their 61% first-call resolution rate (FCR). We had a chance to sit down with Jeff Blount, vCIO at Cobb Technologies, and learn more about how client onboarding has provided long-term managed IT services success for Cobb Technologies.

First-Call Resolution Rate and the Success of Cobb Technologies

Solving your end-user’s IT service issue on the first call allows your company to better manage on-going client communications and overall contract goodwill. The first response is critical to gathering relevant information, and guiding end-users to the correct resolution path. While it sometimes takes multiple points of contact to ensure an IT issue has been resolved, Cobb Technologies has logged a 61% resolution rate for users’ first-contact tickets and calls.

61% First-Call Resolution Rate at Cobb Technologies

Jeff Blount, Cobb Technologies vCIO, spoke with the Collabrance Master MSP team about the success at reaching a 61% first-call resolution, and the root cause of the success: Client Onboarding.

“Set Expectations and Communicate to the Customer!”

Blount emphasized that “the most successful onboarding’s for MSPs happen when you are able to set expectations and communicate to the end-user customer.” This helped Cobb reach their 61% first-call resolution rate.

Building a Successful Partnership with Collabrance, a Master MSP

When Cobb partnered with Collabrance, it opened their eyes to a whole different world regarding the MSP onboarding process. Cobb was extremely impressed with the Collabrance Service Activation Team because they laid out a cut and clear map of the tasks that needed to take place for everyone involved. The experience Collabrance has had working with several MSPs and end-users helped them create an onboarding process that is efficient and proven to work.

“Collabrance has helped us turn the potentially dreadful process of switching IT vendors into a difference maker that we promote during the sales process.”

Cobb was not only satisfied with Collabrance, but also ecstatic about the first-call resolution results. Collabrance taught Cobb how to go more in-depth with a new managed services customer and become more efficient during the potentially long onboarding process.

10 Customer Onboarding Best Practices for MSPs from Cobb Technologies

Cobb was able to identify 10 client onboarding best practices for MSPs thanks to their partnership with Collabrance which led to the success of their 61% first call resolution.

1.Create an Onboarding Process Roadmap and Task Schedule

Build a Successful Roadmap for Client Onboarding

Implementing a roadmap and a schedule of tasks that need to be completed for a successful onboarding process are key elements to success. Mastering the client onboarding process can be tricky and time-consuming, but a roadmap can ensure a smooth onboarding process by identifying a clear-cut plan of what needs to be accomplished.

The Task Schedule and Implementation Timeline

Creating a schedule of tasks helps an MSP’s onboarding process be more efficient because it breaks down everything that needs to be completed. This allows for delegations on some of the more repetitive tasks to be assigned to the right techs while higher-level, information gathering tasks can be delegated elsewhere. It pays off in the end to have an MSP onboarding checklist to follow.

2. Implement the Monitoring Agent and Anti-Virus

Load Your Monitoring Agent

It is extremely important to load your monitor agent and install your anti-virus solutions. This task might be obvious as far as the onboarding process, but can easily be overseen. The long process of loading your monitoring agent can be done more efficiently by following the schedule of tasks and roadmap.

Install Anti-Virus

Installing anti-virus solutions protects the computer from incoming threats, seeks out, and destroys and warns of possible threats to the system. New viruses are coming out all the time but installing anti-virus will help prevent them from taking over your computer system. It is the job of the anti-virus software to keep up the latest threats. Anti-virus is a program which makes your system clean and secure from a harmful virus.

3. Communicate and Create Expectations for Success

Communicate Openly and Honestly With the Customer

Communication is a key element to the success of properly implementing a client onboarding process. When customers do business with you, they want to feel important. Open and honest communication provides mutual trust and respect between the MSP and the client. Provide updates, explain and educate them on your process so they know what can be expected of them.

Set Expectations for Turn-Around Time and Implementation Dates

It is best for MSPs to set expectations from the very beginning of a client onboarding process. Having expectations on the MSP onboarding checklist is ideal because they end up being the most successful. When expectations are set and then met - clients will be happy with them. A common expectation could be building a relationship between the client and the service provider. Crystal-clear expectations eliminate or reduce potential conflicts.

4. Appoint a Strong Project Manager

The Project Manager and Point of Contact

The project manager makes sure all the moving parts of the project are running smoothly so the onboarding process can be successful. Having a project manager on your client onboarding process will ensure that any potential downtime or disruption to users are communicated to all users. They make sure any schedule changes or challenges that have been discovered are made known to the client along the way of the onboarding process. Unexpected downtime and disruptions tend to create a rocky start, but project managers are able to see this through. Give your clients one point of contact they can communicate with when needed.

5. Create a Plan and Chart to Go Live

Going Live With Your Implementation Plan

Creating a plan and a chart of all the tasks needed are beneficial in order to “go live” with the services. Going live takes a bit of some effort because it takes scheduling a meeting with the customer in order to get the plan approved. If the plan is not approved the first time around, a different route must be taken. The goal is to get the plan approved to “go live” with the services.

6. Perform a Quality Network Assessment

Quality Network Assessment in Client Onboarding for MSPs

A quality network assessment is vital during the sales process because it gives a clear understanding of what the customer’s network and operation currently look like. This leads back to being able to know where the expectations of downtime or disruptions should be set. Network assessments are used to understand the client’s current environment and provide an adequate solution that meets their IT needs.

7. Meet with Employees and Schedule Face-to-Face Time

Employee Meeting to Build the Relationship

A “Go Live” meeting with all the employees should be scheduled after the onboarding tasks have all been completed. This meeting should provide all employees with a “Welcome Book” that walks them through how to get in touch with support and educate them on IT best practices. It also shows them what to expect when they reach out for IT help on their technical issues. After this meeting, an email should be sent out to all employees with a short video to recap the new IT support services.

8. Use Proper Metrics in the Onboarding Process for MSPs

Choose Proper Metrics

Use proper metrics and onboarding best practices to help optimize your managed services onboarding process. Gather baseline metrics during your onboarding process so that during Quarterly Business Reviews, MSPs can share metrics with the customer that show how they are helping them improve their business with IT. This helps both parties evaluate services and create a dynamic roadmap of increasing efficiency even more.

9. Document Information

Document Contact and Resolution Successes

Documenting is extremely important because the more information that is gathered during the network assessment and onboarding, the better your first-call resolution is going to be. Be sure to invest the time upfront to do the work and you will benefit from the results of documenting.

10. Build a Successful Onboarding Process

Be Confident with an Onboarding Process

A successful client onboarding process starts before you ever get a signed contract, and even before you present a proposal. Expectations, communication, checklists, and plans all serve towards a successful client onboarding process. Be sure to remind your client that you’re here to support them and answer any questions they may have along the way as their trusted technology advisor.

The goal of a successful managed services onboarding process is to help reduce ambiguity and increase clarity so it is easier for clients to get you what you need, and for you to serve them with confidence. Identify how you’re currently onboarding managed services clients and whether or not it is successful.

Image Above: Dave Airy, Service Activation Team Lead and J Newlin Service Activation Network Engineer work looking onboarding project board.


More than Client Onboarding Best Practices for MSPs

Implementing a successful client onboarding process takes time and patience, but with these 10 best practices it can be done quite smoothly. Collabrance has documented processes in addition to onboarding clients that are designed to help MSPs be more efficient and save time, money and headaches.

These 10 best practices to onboard managed services customers led to the success of Cobb Technologies 61% first call resolution.

Improve Your Onboarding Process with a Master MSP

If you’re ready to take your first-call resolution rate to the next level, we can help. Learn more about how we assist MSPs with onboarding their managed services customers.

Collabrance Onboarding Assistance

Category: Business Practices

About The Author

Brittney Stepanek

Brittney Stepanek, Strategic Marketing Director for Collabrance, is responsible for helping build relationships and brand awareness through strategic marketing initiatives. Before working at Collabrance, Brittney joined GreatAmerica in 2012 doing marketing for the Office Equipment Group. She received her Bachelor of Science in Psychology at the University of Iowa.