Why MSPs can't afford to manually onboard new users

Welcome to the MSP onboarding rollercoaster. At one end of the ride, your technicians install new user software, create accounts, and set up networks. On the other end, a flood of additional service requests from your PSA awaits you. You’re left wondering how your organization will handle it all at once.

Why MSPs can't afford to manually onboard new users
August 30, 2023

If only there were a way you could avoid manual onboarding altogether and focus on more significant initiatives for your organization. In this article, we’ll examine why MSPs can’t afford to onboard new users manually and the ticket to streamlining this process. Buckle up because things are about to get real.

The Risks Associated with Manual Onboarding

Manually onboarding new clients and end-users is a time-consuming process that increases the risk of human error. When manually provisioning licenses and groups across platforms like M365, security risks can arise from unauthorized access or data breaches. It’s easy to overlook crucial details, leading to customer dissatisfaction and lost business in the long run. Every mistake has consequences leading to additional costs and time spent fixing errors.

So, let’s look at some of the most significant risks associated with manual onboarding so your team can avoid them in the first place.

1. Misallocating Resources

MSPs spend an average of $50,000-$100,000 each year hiring and onboarding new technicians. From there, the cost to retain a technician averages 1.5 to 2.5 times a person’s annual salary. If your organization puts this number of resources into hiring a new technician, you want to ensure that the tasks they complete bring ROI back to your organization.

Unfortunately, most level one and two technicians spend their time onboarding new clients and their end-users, filling their days with microscopic and redundant work. Is it any wonder technicians have little time for other initiatives when their MSP client onboarding checklist can include, but isn’t limited to:

  • Handling service level agreements (SLA)
  • Assigning team members to the account
  • Onboarding questionnaires and additional information gathering
  • Creating user accounts and access credentials
  • Installing necessary software and applications
  • Configuring devices and networks
  • Managing hardware warranties and ISP accounts
  • Security assessment and compliance checks
  • New user training and documentation
  • Constant technician and further user communication
  • Data migration (if applicable)
  • Testing and troubleshooting
  • Initial monitoring and support
  • Potential feedback and review meeting

This comprehensive list takes time away from critical tasks like high-priority tickets and other initiatives impacting service delivery. To rectify this situation MSPs can consider compiling checklists and tasks into spreadsheets and systems or solutions that automate the process altogether.

Automation helps reduce the time technicians need to onboard new customers, freeing them up to focus on other value-added initiatives like researching and developing new services and enhancing existing offerings that align with clients’ needs. The new area of focus helps your organization stay competitive while optimizing resource allocation and overall performance.

2. Inconsistent Service Delivery

Inconsistent service delivery is another issue associated with manual onboarding. When different technicians manually onboard new customers, there is a lack of standardization in handling the process. For example, let’s say one client has multiple endpoints. If one technician adheres to proper onboarding steps outlined in an MSP’s internal documentation and the other doesn’t, the inconsistent service delivery can confuse clients, resulting in a lack of trust in the MSP’s ability to deliver technical support consistently.

A standardized service delivery process ensures the same steps occur every single time, resulting in a positive client experience. With onboarding streamlined, the technician could focus on standardizing additional workflows, ensuring consistent service delivery and increased client satisfaction and retention.

3. Security and Compliance Vulnerabilities

Manual onboarding poses security risks due to inconsistent measures and settings, potentially exposing clients to vulnerabilities. For instance, when technicians manually transfer data between systems, errors may occur, leading to inaccuracies and potential data breaches. Similarly, mishandling manual access permissions could inadvertently grant unauthorized users access to sensitive information.

Security and Compliance Vulnerabilities

Automating onboarding ensures a more secure environment for clients and end-users, reducing the risk of data breaches and unauthorized access. With automated compliance checks, technicians can keep an eye on things ensuring accurate data and compliance with industry regulations. This process leads to reduced risks and improved audit readiness.  By embracing automation, the MSP can enhance its reputation for reliability and security and ultimately gain more clients.

4. Limited Growth

In addition to resource misappropriation, reduced service delivery, and security issues, manual onboarding also presents scalability challenges for your MSP. The manual onboarding process becomes even more time-consuming as your client base expands. Technicians spend most of their time on repetitive tasks, resulting in service delays for existing clients. It also means that new clients looking to board quickly get pushed back, hindering your MSP’s ability to accommodate a growing workload.

A streamlined onboarding process removes manual bottlenecks hindering growth, ensuring each customer’s quick and seamless experience. With the proper systems, a technician can focus on overseeing a client’s entire account instead of smaller, user-focused micro-tasks. Optimizing the onboarding process lets your MSP accommodate increased demand while maintaining optimal service quality and client satisfaction. This enhances your organization’s capacity for business expansion and lays the foundation for continued success in a competitive market.

5. Increased Costs

Let’s say you want to expand your client base, and you continue onboarding new users manually. The workforce it takes to handle new and existing clients efficiently means hiring enough workers to do all tasks efficiently. Aside from the manual data errors and security issues already mentioned, vetting and acquiring enough technicians to perform each task extensively is no small amount.

Increased Costs

Even if you hire the staff to accommodate each new client and their list of endpoints, you still run the risk of having some of your best and brightest talent performing repetitive grunt work when they could be identifying upselling opportunities for your organization. A standardized onboarding process would reduce overhead costs and give existing technicians more time to discover the client’s needs and pain points. With a deeper understanding of each client, technicians could focus on retention strategies and other opportunities that increase revenue.

The Benefit of Using RPA

Okay, now you’ve told us all about the risks of manual onboarding. But how do we fix it? Let’s talk for a quick second about Robotic Process Automation (RPA). RPA is a technology that makes it easy to build, deploy, and manage software that emulates humans’ actions. It’s positively impacting how the MSP industry onboards new clients by helping them create processes that span your existing tool stack, reduce costs, increase efficiency and provide a higher level of service. The right RPA platform might also offer pre-built workflows to address common processes like onboarding.

The Benefit of Using RPA

While automation can’t take away the need for human oversight, it does help technicians get more done, which can lead to an overall boost in service delivery and MSP expansion. If any of the above scenarios sound like you, automating onboarding with an RPA Platform might be the best thing you investigate.

Embracing Automated Onboarding

The risks associated with manual onboarding, from security vulnerabilities to inconsistent service delivery, are too significant to ignore. As your client base expands, the scalability problem worsens, hindering growth and increasing costs. All of this to say, your MSP can’t afford to dawdle in the age of fast-paced business models and high client expectations. While focusing on your onboarding process is an excellent start in the right direction, your MSP needs more.

RPA reduces human errors, saves time, and lets technicians focus on what matters most - delivering exceptional service and identifying revenue-boosting opportunities. Streamlining the onboarding process will pave the way for more significant initiatives, higher efficiency, and increased client satisfaction. Let’s reduce the time your technicians spend manually onboarding new customers and users and make room for a more efficient service delivery model. Unlock your true potential with automated onboarding.

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