By Kayla Matthews
A quarterly business review (QBR) is a chance to formally touch base with your customers. It’s not essential to do one for every customer, but you should consider QBRs crucial for customers you especially want to keep.
Here are several reasons why businesses should conduct QBRs.
1. To Find out What Worked Well
Company representatives need to convey they are committed to evolving with their customers. That means it’s not sufficient to keep catering to those clients uniformly year after year. Instead, consider the QBR your chance to check in and find out what satisfied a customer most.
Your customer might generally like a service they received, but want you to make some minor changes moving forward. The QBR gives information that tells your company it’s on the right track for keeping a customer happy.
2. To Remind the Customer of the Value You Provide
Sometimes, a customer may be trying to cut costs, and believe one way to do that is to stop paying for your company’s services. That can happen even if the client is still satisfied with what you provide.
However, a QBR can give a straightforward reminder that your company offers valuable assistance your client needs and couldn’t get elsewhere.
3. To Learn How Customers’ Goals Have Changed
Customers will generally have various goals throughout the year. Companies can use QBRs to learn about those new milestones in depth and understand how best to support clients in meeting them.
This point ties into the previous one because customers need to realize the value you provide is an ongoing benefit they can — and should — expect throughout your business relationship. But, if a client feels you are not on the same page with upcoming aspirations, they may hesitate to keep you on board. The QBR enables you to listen and provide feedback.
4. To Determine What Went Wrong
It can be very confusing when businesses get blindsided by customers who suddenly decide to cease the business relationship. However, one of the advantageous things about quarterly business reviews is that you conduct them at regular intervals throughout the year. Then, the likelihood increases that you could find out about issues quickly and come up with plans for remedying them — before customers leave in frustration.
Best Practices for Conducting a QBR
Now that you know some of the reasons to conduct a QBR, let’s examine the best practices for carrying one out.
1. Maintain a Regular Schedule for Your QBRs
Although the name implies QBRs happen every quarter, some companies don’t stay on a rigid schedule with them. However, it’s in your best interests to stick to the quarterly routine as much as possible. Doing that shows a commitment to the customer. If geographical distance is a concern, consider holding a teleconference.
2. Inform a Customer of the Attendees
Before a QBR happens, give a list of the people who will be there. The attendee list should vary, depending on the type of client it is and the reasons that entity hired your company. For example, if the customer uses your company to avail themselves of a customized call center interface, the people who develop that tool should ideally be in the meeting.
3. Give Details About Necessary Documents If Applicable
The QBR may involve poring over reports and calling attention to various statistics you collected during the previous quarter. Help prepare your client sufficiently for the QBR by specifying in advance if they need to bring any documents to the meeting. Taking that approach should minimize the possibility they’ll feel overwhelmed due to unpreparedness.
4. Listen to Concerns and Take Them Seriously
Customer service strategist Jeff Mowat explains that one of the keys to keeping customers is listening carefully when they mention dissatisfaction. A caring employee lets you make customers feel special, and adding a QBR doesn’t hurt, either.
It’s nearly impossible to fix your business’s relationship with a customer if you don’t give the impression you genuinely care about their concerns. Offer them genuine concern to fix the problem, then go a step further and suggest action plans for resolution.
5. Consider Making a PowerPoint Presentation
It’s best if a QBR follows a defined format that involves reviewing the previous quarter before setting goals for the next. A PowerPoint presentation could be an excellent tool for letting people know about the agenda of the QBR and helping them follow along as it progresses. Even if you don’t use PowerPoint, an agenda is necessary. Not having one is a misstep that conveys inexperience.
6. Always Keep the Focus on the Client
As mentioned earlier, the QBR gives you chances to emphasize the value your company can bring to the client. But, make sure the client is always the central discussion topic when you bring up that matter.
For example, if discussing how your establishment experienced higher-than-normal workforce growth last year, tie in that achievement with the customer. You could take the angle of a larger staff giving more diverse expertise to the client.
One of the ways to accomplish a successful QBR is to check that the client stays connected with your message. When that doesn’t happen, you may need to adjust on the fly.
A QBR Should Lead to Happy Customers
By not completing a QBR on schedule, you could be missing things that upset your customers. Or, you might overlook ways to wow them. These tips will help you feel well-equipped for all future QBRs, allowing you to meet client needs.
About the Author: Kayla Matthews writes about communication and workplace productivity on her blog, Productivity Theory. Her work has also appeared on Talent Culture, MakeUseOf, The Muse and Fast Company.