Some MSPs, he notes, assign one technician to get to know the client and the IT environment, making the client dependent upon that person. If that technician isn’t meticulous about documenting everything, there may be no one with full knowledge of the client if that person leaves. “They’re not very thorough about [documentation] because they’re doing it off the top of their head, rather than creating steps,” Bickmore says of many techs. “If that person leaves, nobody at the MSP really knows the process anymore.”
MSPs can tackle this by involving the customer in the onboarding process and employing a checklist that provides a clear process everyone can follow on both the client side and at the MSP, Bickmore suggests.
Introducing yourself to the C-suite at the client company is another onboarding best practice, according to Matt Anciaux, managing partner at Monarchy IT, a managed IT provider in Las Cruces, N.M.
“If I only introduce myself to the IT decision makers [rather] than to other employees and the C-level [personnel], I’m this nameless, faceless organization,” he says. “But if I make a connection to them—it’s Matt, he’s local, he runs a business, he’s not outsourcing our requirements—it makes it a lot easier to have an actual connection with the client.”
Other best practices include ensuring that anything left behind by a previous provider is removed, Anciaux advises. This includes RMM tools, remote connection tools, anti-virus (AV), and other software. He also suggests automating your processes and deploying an RMM solution with connections to AV, remote access, and backup tools to ensure “you’re dotting all your I’s and crossing all your T’s.”
Gathering as much information as you can will also serve you well, LAN Infotech’s Goldstein says. Find out everything that makes up the client’s network, such as phone and internet providers, wireless passcode, and whether you’re expected to provide support for executive homes or BYOD devices. “Understand their culture, even, so that you know if the mail room clerk is the most important person there because everyone talks to him or her.”