Onboarding and Offloading Clients with a Software Transition Plan
IT customer transitions can go both ways. Some clients are added, some are subtracted. There is anxiety and maybe even tension in both situations. Many small and medium IT service businesses do not employ a transition specialist, much less a transition team. As a result, onboarding a new client or offloading a previous customer often falls to technicians and support personnel more suited to other tasks.
If you’re in the middle of the client onboarding process or you’re removing a client from your network, IT customer transitions are a great way to impress clients with your attention to detail and superior service. Whether you’ve just onboarded a new client or you’re ending a business relationship, having a software transition plan is crucial. What do you do?
How to Make Client Transitions a Success
There are five basic steps for a successful software transition plan. Read on here to learn what to do for the client onboarding or offboarding process.
Stick to the Plan
The single most significant thing you can do to ensure IT customer transitions are successful for all parties is to plan them out in detail. Not only does a software transition plan provide your team with a guidebook on the transition, it also allows you to more accurately communicate what is going on to the client and ensure better data security for both parties. This communication and planning can ease anxiety both in-house and with the client. Everyone will know what is happening, what comes next, and when the transition has reached its conclusion.
Set Reasonable Expectations
Part of the tension inherent in change is not knowing what to expect. Regardless of your role in a transition, proactively delivering information to the other parties involved is the best way to set expectations that are reasonable and can be met. Over-delivering information and keeping client engagement high will keep things from getting sidetracked and off-schedule.
Answer Every Question
All of them. Customers new and old are likely to have lots of input during your software transition plan. Your inbox is likely to be flooded with mundane and even off-topic questions and comments. Even if the questions are a distraction, put your head down and address them all. If you have a software transition plan in place, then the client onboarding process period will be just a small-window within a long relationship. Answering all of their questions or concerns now will build substantial rapport for the duration of your relationship.
Transitioning customers can’t be done halfway. If you are going through a client onboarding process, you must make sure that all legacy systems, software, and hardware are accounted for. If they cancel service with a prior vendor, you do not want the responsibility of lost or misplaced data falling on your shoulders. Similarly, if a client is discontinuing your service, you should make sure they have ALL of their data transitioned out of your environment. You definitely don’t want their new IT providers contacting you weeks, months, or even years later, looking for something left behind.
Send a Note
Today’s technology makes it easy to send a quick email or leave a voice message for people. Face to face conversations become rarer and rarer as time passes, and the client engagement that is so vital to your business starts to lose its value. When the transition is complete, take a moment to slow down and send a note — a handwritten note. Thank your new clients or wish old clients luck in the future. With these notes you’re letting the other party know that there is a human on the other end of the line that is genuinely interested in building a strong relationship.
The Importance of Client Engagement
It’s imperative that every client interaction be top-notch if your business is to grow. The core of any business is comprised of the relationships it has with partners, clients, and customers. Every stage of building those relationships is important at each step of the way.
Your reputation is an investment that pays dividends even when you aren’t looking. Delivering a high level of support and service not only as a business relationship starts, but also in the event that it ends, is paramount to positive word of mouth and referrals. Your IT customer and software transition plans should make new clients overjoyed that they chose to work with you and old clients regretful that your relationship isn’t continuing. Follow the guidelines above to develop strong software transition plans for onboarding and offloading clients to help you achieve that goal!