Quarterly business reviews (QBRs) are a key part of building meaningful client relationships.
They help you to:
- Give your client a deeper understanding of how you’ve helped them thus far
- Examine performance benchmarks and overall goals and identify how you can further support them moving forward
- Build trust and thus a more meaningful relationship that elevates you from vendor to trusted partner
But you can’t truly achieve any of the above without data. Why?
Because by showing up to a meeting armed with both low-level and high-level data (i.e. day-to-day interactions and overall business relationship insights), you can take the guesswork out of the conversation.
This empowers you to turn these meetings into strategic building blocks that allow you to ultimately deliver more value.
In this article, we’re going to explain how to collect meaningful customer data ahead of your QBR and explore several benefits of leveraging data to level up your QBRs.
Table of contents
- How to collect meaningful customer data ahead of your QBR
- How customer data elevates your QBR and drives meaningful conversations
- Take the guesswork out of QBRs to provide clarity
- Ensure accountability with performance metrics
- Intelligently develop (or revisit) a strategic roadmap
- Evangelize executives by centering their business needs
- Wrapping up
How to collect meaningful customer data ahead of your QBR
All types of data are not created equal. In order to truly add value to your QBR, you need to have the right data in hand.
That means you need to collect both Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) and Net Promoter Score (NPS) results. These two data points give you the ability to dissect day-to-day performance as well as the overall relational experience.
When presented in tandem, you are able to provide a full picture of the value you’re providing. If presented piecemeal, you’re missing out on half the story, which means your strategy won’t be airtight.
In order to avoid this, you should begin collecting both CSAT and NPS data as soon as possible. This way, at your QBRs, you’ll be able to holistically analyze and discuss:
- High-level relational data, such as the root cause of pain points and wins—and how you will address and fix issues as well as streamline what’s working well to produce more wins
- Low-level day-to-day data, such as ticket closures—and how your team can work to improve satisfaction levels (need be) and optimize solutions to improve the value you’re providing
A customer feedback system that’s designed specifically for MSPs is the best way to capture the data you need. SmileBack is made for service desks and integrates seamlessly with your existing system, empowering your customers to easily leave feedback and your team to effortlessly take action on it.
When it comes time for your QBR, creating client reports is a breeze. You can generate custom reports by pulling aggregated data from a chosen time frame. Then, simply add your logo, click on “generate reports” and you’re ready to go.
Somerbys IT tried to collect data when they first got started, but since implementing SmileBack they’ve seen their customer review response rates increase from ~10% to an average of 45%.
CEO Allan Page notes that: “We have always been confident in our service, but SmileBack gives us a straightforward way to capture the essential customer satisfaction scores to prove [the quality of] that service.”
Proving the quality of your service is what QBRs are all about, and customer feedback is the most effective way to do that.
Top Tip: To learn more about how and why collecting both CSAT and NPS data can be a powerful tool for your MSP, read our article on How to Use CSAT and NPS Data to Improve Customer Experience.
How customer data elevates your QBR and drives meaningful conversations
There are several benefits to bringing customer data into your QBRs. Let’s take a deep dive into four of the leading reasons why leveraging data drives meaningful QBR conversations.
1. Take the guesswork out of QBRs to provide clarity
Without comprehensive CSAT and NPS data, you’re left to make guesses at how well you’re doing. And a meeting predicated on ‘guesswork’ is not one that your clients will be jazzed to attend.
That’s because clients want to know exactly:
- How you’re providing value to them, with hard numbers such as ROI in order to reinforce their desire (and ability) to continue working with you
- What has changed (with specifics) since you last spoke, including how you’ve addressed and solved any pain points in the past 90 days and what those improvements look like
- What the strategic roadmap is for the next quarter (and beyond) based on an aligned understanding of goals and needs and your strategic recommendations
Guesswork makes it incredibly difficult to:
- Analyze if you’re hitting your predefined benchmarks (i.e. ROI, KPIs, SLAs, ticket metrics, etc.)
- Identify areas for improvement based on said benchmarks (whether it be processes, solutions, security, workflows, etc.)
- Make the case that your services are worth the good money your client is paying
If you don’t have a plan, purpose, and agenda, backed by data, you’re likely wasting everybody’s time, including your own. The only way to deliberately structure your QBR to engender meaningful conversations is with data and facts that lead to open conversations about solutions and goals.
2. Ensure accountability with performance metrics
Beyond taking the guesswork out of the conversation, data ensures that both parties are held accountable to their agreement.
Relationships go two ways. A QBR is the perfect opportunity to open up the conversation so both parties can review why they’re working together in the first place and how they can leverage the relationship to its fullest potential.
Performance metrics pull the curtain back on what the relationship is actually like on a day-to-day basis, as well as on the whole.
For example, if you have an SLA to reply to an escalated ticket within two hours, data will show if you’re holding up your end of the agreement. On the flip side, if that escalation is found to have been caused by a misunderstanding on your client’s side, and part of the SLA is that they work with you to retrain their team on a process misunderstanding, data will show you if they’ve followed up on that promise.
Many times, gaps in training and processes can only be addressed by a mutual effort. As the MSP, you can provide all of the training and resource material in the world, but if your client doesn’t read it, the tickets as a result of that misunderstanding will keep coming in.
Data, therefore, gives you the opportunity to address any such gaps in SLAs, or any other performance metrics, and come up with a meaningful solution that will actually work moving forward.
Without this data, you may be stuck in an endless cycle of negative feedback rather than mutually addressing the pain point and moving forward. Ultimately, this could erode the relationship and cause you to lose a client altogether. Data can be the shield to block this negative outcome.
3. Intelligently develop (or revisit) a strategic roadmap
The point of QBRs is to check in with your client and evaluate your business relationship. Ultimately, this should drive improved business decisions moving forward.
For example, data allows you to present the impact that existing projects and services have had and thus make intelligent recommendations for the next quarter and beyond.
Say you originally signed a client to help them enhance their online security. At your QBR, you have the CSAT and NPS data to show that you’ve been successful in this endeavor, have resolved any initial roadblocks, and have streamlined processes.
Yet, in the process, you’ve received several tickets that have highlighted new security needs that go beyond your original scope of work. Therefore, with data in hand, you can show how these new needs have come about (and even point to the number of tickets referencing the desire), and present a plan for how to address them moving forward.
This could look like expanded security tools, or switching to an enterprise solution that has more capabilities and integrations. You can present your options, have a meaningful conversation about your recommendations based on their needs, and agree upon an upgraded product or add-on to be implemented in the next quarter.
Intelligently revisiting your strategic roadmap is only possible with data to back up why you’re making key business decisions. Otherwise, again, you’re left with guesswork.
Of course, you could guess and get lucky, but you could also guess and fail. Best practice is to not guess at all.
4. Evangelize executives by centering their business needs
Substantive data is great, but asking your client how they’re doing as a business and what you can do to help them achieve their goals must be part of the conversation.
After all, you were hired to help your clients achieve certain outcomes. Centering their needs and showing (rather than simply telling) them that you understand their needs will help to build stronger partnerships.
So, how do you do this? By asking the right questions. For example:
- How are you doing as a business and are you currently on a growth trajectory?
- If so, how is that affecting your IT budget over the next quarter, several quarters, or year?
- Beyond IT, what are your general business needs and goals?
By opening up the conversation beyond what you were specifically hired to do, you can position yourself as a strategic advisor and make unique recommendations based on your technological expertise.
This allows you to go beyond simply being a hired vendor and instead take on the role of a business partner.
For example, you may find yourself providing answers to questions regarding operational resources and effective system management in general. These questions may not live in the realm of your paid solutions, but your input and expertise can provide invaluable enlightenment that helps them improve their business overall. This will work to add relational value to your business relationship because it shows that you care about their needs and not just their checks in your pocket.
In short, if you’re producing the basic standard of results that most MSPs can provide, you aren’t demonstrating why they hired you over the competition. And if they don’t know why they won’t be incentivized to continue the relationship.
Data helps you prove your value and thus stand out from the crowd.
Collecting meaningful data is key to ensuring that you conduct a meaningful and valuable QBR. Without data, you’re left guessing at what’s been going well (or poorly) and how to provide added value for the next quarter and beyond.
Bringing data to your QBR gives you the opportunity to show your value up to this point, prove that you will continue to be valuable in the future, and deepen your business relationship so that you become a standout partner rather than a disposable vendor.