What is a Quarterly Business Review?

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It is no secret that your customers are your biggest assets for success, which means every business owner should care about customer success.

Customer success is anticipating your customers needs, challenges, and questions and working to proactively provide the solutions they want and need.

Businesses that focus on customer success not only retain their customers but boost their happiness and overall satisfaction with its products and services.

At the end of the day, every business is looking for customer success.

One of the best ways to increase your customer success is by meeting with your client(s) on a monthly or quarterly basis – and that is what Quarterly Business Reviews are all about.

If you are into customer success, this article is going to cover the purpose of a quarterly business review as well as some key ways you can knock these reviews out of the park.

What is Quarterly Business Review (QBR)?

QBR

A QBR is a quarterly meeting held with your customers to discuss how you can add more value to your relationship with them.

Typically, a QBR begins as a review of the progress made in the previous quarter, as well as an outline of the current quarter, or 90 days.

In general, most executives review their businesses progress on a quarterly basis and the QBR simply extends the review process to include its major key players – its customers and vendors.

Quarterly Business Review meetings have the greatest impact when done in person because you have that face to face interaction that you can sometimes lose via a conference call or remote conference.

That being said, with the digital age and the current pandemic, many companies are turning to video conferencing as a way to continue these types of meetings.

A successful Quarterly Business Review requires thoughtful planning, strategy, and a clear agenda.

The execution is equally important and is so much more than just a quick check-in meeting.

Here are some ways that you can enhance the value of your QBR and get the customer success you are looking for:

When is a QBR needed?

Quarterly Business Reviews have been something companies have done for a long time, but in recent years there seem to be those that would say they are a thing of the past, or simply not important today.

B2C businesses tend to have more short term needs, higher customer churn, and customers are more focused on short term value because they are usually just making one-off purchases.

In this scenario, we can see how a Quarterly Business Review doesn’t add much value to customer success.

While yes, this can be accurate for certain types of businesses, there are still times where a QBR is not only needed, but essential in today’s competitive market.

When you first start a business, you may not have as many customers and it is much easier to keep in touch with customers and maintain a closer relationship.

But, as your business flourishes and grows, you take on more clients and it can be harder to maintain that more personalized relationship with each one.

This is where a growing company can really benefit from a QBR.

Customers want to feel valued, heard, and appreciated and if they have been with you since the beginning of your business, they may start to feel the changes that come with a growing business.

A Quarterly Business Review is an opportunity to update your customers and make them feel like they are still heard, appreciated, and valuable.

Frequency of Quarterly Business Review

Even though QBR stands for “Quarterly” Business Review, these meeting can actually be held on a quarterly, monthly, or as needed basis.

The frequency of your QBR meetings really depend on the complexity of your customer’s business.

If your business model is constantly monitoring customers usage and behavior and is quickly evolving, more frequent reviews may be necessary.

Just be sure you have a specific agenda that highlights how your customers can achieve more value from your products or services.

If you have more of a B2B business model where goals are measured over longer periods of time, such as months or years, then having less frequent reviews would make more sense.

Use SMART goals for your QBR

SMART goals

SMART goals are specific, measurable, achievable, result-based, and time-bound and this is a great way to structure your QBR.

First, set a purpose for your QBR and then use these 5 goals to frame the meeting:

Specific

Goals should be specific, clear and concise.

For example, rather than just saying “we want to retain our customers,” your goal would be “to retain 90% of our customers.”

Having specific goals makes them measurable.

Measurable

By saying you want a “90% customer retention rate,” you are able to measure your actual customer retention rate to your goal of 90%.

If you are only retaining 70% of your customers, you know that you need to work on reaching your goal of 90% because it is measurable.

Another example could  be “reducing overhead costs.”

A measurable goal would be “to reduce 5% of our overhead costs by the end of the year.”

Achievable

Setting unrealistic goals is a sure way to fail and so you want to make sure you set goals that are actually achievable.

For example, saying you want to increase customer retention from 20% to 90% in one quarter is not realistic and therefore not achievable.

However, saying you want to increase customer retention by 15% over the course of the year is much for achievable.

Result-based

Result-based goals are actionable items that come out of a workshop or goal meeting.

The results of these actionable items can be measured back against the goals to see if you are meeting the benchmarks.

Time-bound

Lastly, there should be a time-frame for achieving your goals.

This helps businesses stay focused and on track because there is a deadline approaching.

Key Content of a QBR

Here is a simple outline of key content points to cover in a QBR:

  • Agenda – Create an agenda in advance that can be sent out to the attendees to review before the meeting.
  • Highlight Value Points – Use actual data and numbers to demonstrate customer success during the last quarter. What specific outcomes have your customers achieved through your product or service?
  • Goals – Share your goals and benchmarks.
  • Action Items – Not only do you want to share your goals, but you want to share how you plan on achieving them.

Customer Feedback

quarterly business review

You want to create a space where customers feel like they can have an open and honest dialogue.

Allow space for customers to share their opinions, ideas, and suggestions on your products or services, just be sure to steer the conversation in a way that doesn’t lead to only negative comments.

Respond quickly to any negative feedback, take notes, and use the customer feedback as a way to improve customer success.

Conclusion

As you can see, there is great value in having a quarterly business review.

It can be a way to understand your customer success, their pain points, and insight into how you can make your product or service even better.

Just be sure to spend time planning the QBR so that is brings value to you and your customers.

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  1. Rutgers.ed "One Approach to Repeat Business: “Customer Success Managers” " White Paper. October 19, 2021

  2. University of California "SMART Goals: how to guide" White Paper. October 19, 2021

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