In the age of automation and remote access, personal relationships still differentiate and drive customer retention. That’s why Quarterly Business Reviews (QBRs) are one of the best tools any MSP can use with clients, creating a strategic agenda moving forward and reinforcing the personal relationship with that customer. An MSP’s relationship with a client is defined by the quality of work and the value that is being delivered to them. Performing quarterly business reviews is a great way to demonstrate that value.

Do your homework

Key to a great QBR is preparation. Everyone who works with the account (account manager, technical contact, VP, the rep who pitched the client, etc.) should participate in creating the QBR agenda. Use the agenda to keep the group on track and to help you stay accountable for meeting your objectives. Consider including items such as:

  • A quick recap of the last quarter
  • Big wins and losses
  • Service ticket reviews
  • Endpoint management
  • User trainings
  • General housekeeping updates
  • A report on the number of issues you resolved without the client’s knowledge
  • Infrastructural needs and goals for the coming quarter

Having a templatized QBR process that follows a checklist of must-haves is a great tool for your team.  A clear structure, with every topic being thoroughly researched prior to the meeting, and the information compiled in scorecards, graphs, and examples will help make this meeting effective. Your goal should be providing a top-down view of operations, making sure each discussion offers transparency.

QBRs should be strategic, not tactical

Trust me, QBRs are not about getting down into the nitty-gritty of daily operations. It is an opportunity to have your client listen to what you have to say—and vice versa. Focus on strategy and results, rather than execution. Address roadblocks that must be resolved to deliver ideal service and identify areas where improvements can be made, adopting a big-picture approach to problem-solving. Remember, this isn’t time for blame, it’s time for a strategy that drives improvement.

Use your data

The goal of each QBR is to demonstrate what value you deliver as an MSP. Think through how you can showcase information such as “How much money am I saving by using your service?” or “How did you help me achieve our goals?” and support each answer with data.

Be honest

Apart from highlighting success, be brave enough to mention the misses. Refrain from making excuses for anything that the client wasn’t happy about; instead, accept the criticism and present your plan of action to unfold things in the right direction. Allow your client to assign a realistic ‘grade’ of your performance in the past quarter. The more honest the communication, the better the relationship will be moving forward. PS: If the client seems satisfied with your services, don’t shy away from asking for a testimonial. This will come in handy during your next marketing campaign.

Close the meeting on a positive note

Some clients may want to turn QBRs into unpleasant venting sessions. Anticipate this and be prepared. One of the best ways to calm your client is by presenting clear data, knowing the metrics and satisfaction levels of their users. Provide industry benchmark data so they have realistic comparable data. Also, do not forget to schedule the next QBR before leaving the meeting. It creates a good impression.

Final Thought: All MSPs are familiar with a dreaded question: “Why am I paying you?”  A scheduled quarterly business review is your opportunity to make a high-impact impression and answer this question with humility and confidence.