This post was originally published on 1/2/2015 and was updated on 8/24/2020.
Quarterly business reviews (QBRs) are a necessary and valuable opportunity for you to check-in with clients. They play an important role in your customer service level and retention rates. The QBR is a chance to check your customer’s pulse and an opportunity to demonstrate value, especially as a managed service provider (MSP). You can use this time to tell them how many updates you’ve pushed, bugs you’ve squashed, threats you disarmed, and so forth.
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It's also a good time to be proactive and help better enable your clients to reach their goals. Here are a few pointers for making a QBR productive and profitable.
Before the meeting, make sure you think through an agenda for the QBR. With the COVID-19 pandemic, your face-to-face meetings with your clients have either decreased or gone away completely, so these may be one of the few times you get to talk with your clients.
Review your client’s service record for the previous quarter, identify recurring issues, and be prepared to chat about how you can help avoid dreaded downtime in the future, especially as more of their employees work remotely for the foreseeable future. Communicate your QBR agenda ahead of time and, if possible, go over it with your customer champion, so they can provide feedback on whether the right information is being discussed.
Also, try to make sure at least one executive-level participant will be at the meeting. Once you have an understanding of who will attend the meeting, make sure to proactively consider questions that each attendee may ask you during the meeting—and come prepared with those answers.
Don’t Be a Stranger
Spend time in the QBR really getting to know your customer. Encourage them to share their goals and what they view as roadblocks to achieving them. This is a perfect time to talk through the challenges they’ve been facing as they’ve adapted to the new changes. That discussion can reveal new opportunities for services you can offer, as well as any frustrations your client may be harboring about your current service level. Avoid being defensive about challenges.
Take this opportunity to review their technology goals and make sure the solution set that you’re offering is still helping them to achieve their goals. If you don’t feel their current technology set will help them achieve their goals, formulate a plan or recommendations for how to get there. Give your client the option to move forward with your recommendations, or stay with their current solution set, but as their advisor, it’s your responsibility to ensure you’re arming your clients with the information they need to make an informed business decision.
Another good discussion point is to talk about how their staff is adopting technology. This has changed quite a bit as their staff has been working remotely, either using new company-owned equipment or using their personal devices to do their jobs. There might be a good opportunity for you to do some training, or at the very least, provide some guidance. Creating an environment for open communication only strengthens your position as their trusted advisor.
Blow Your Own Horn (At a Pleasant Volume)
Highlighting your accomplishments in a QBR is not only acceptable, it’s productive for everyone involved. If you were tracking issues when your client was break/fix, it’s easy to present detailed documentation of your value—and their ROI—under their new service contract. Some good metrics to bring to the QBR are:
- Total issues resolved
- # of time you met (or missed) your SLAs
- Average resolution time
- Total downtime
- Tickets per technology (presents an opportunity to discuss upgrading equipment or software)
This is a good time to remind your client that even though your on-site visits or face-to-face meetings have gone away doesn’t mean you’re not working hard on their behalf. ConnectWise Manage® paired with BrightGauge, a ConnectWise solution, makes it easy to create strong, interactive reports that help your client understand the value of your proactive monitoring.
Allow Time for Questions
Your QBRs should be a place for two-way dialogue, so make sure your client has the opportunity to voice their opinions and concerns in a constructive environment. An important part of customer service is listening to your client’s needs and understanding their expectations. Are there areas of improvement they need from your team over the next few months? What is working well in your relationship? What do they want more or less of from your team?
By allowing your client to address their concerns or productively share praise, you can ensure you better understand how they view the relationship—and hopefully prevent any lingering issues from appearing in the future.
Establish Next Steps
As you wrap the meeting, agree on clear shared goals for the following quarter and set a date for the next QBR. This will set the expectations on both sides of your relationship and ensure you and your client are on the same page when it comes to what to expect in the next three months.
Effective quarterly business reviews will engage your customers and enhance your relationship so that renewals are a given.
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