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Posted
June 11, 2021

The QBR Cheat Sheet: The Three Critical Areas You Need to Assess

Denes Purnhauser

One of the easiest ways to avoid the headache and the analysis paralysis that usually takes place throughout the QBR process is by starting with a three-point assessment. Conducted internally on a monthly basis for each client, the purpose of a three-point assessment is to quickly give you a complete overview of your client environments.

When it comes to QBRs, one of the biggest problems many MSPs face is not knowing the strategy needed to make QBR preparation and the meeting itself more efficient. As a result, QBRs can present a broken process as too much time is spent on preparing for them, meetings aren’t done with critical clients, or they’re done inconsistently and reactively.

Despite being a source of frustration for many Partners, QBRs can provide a ton of value for both clients and service providers when done correctly.

One of the easiest ways to avoid the headache and the analysis paralysis that usually takes place throughout the QBR process is by starting with a three-point assessment. Conducted internally on a monthly basis for each client, the purpose of a three-point assessment is to quickly give you a complete overview of your client environments.

As a quick and predictable process that doesn’t require any system integrations, these assessments are tool agnostic and can be done through Excel, Word, Google Docs and the like. Through these evaluations, you’ll be able to better understand what’s going on with your clients, your team and what your working relationship looks like with all of your clients.

By collecting this ongoing information, you’ll be better prepared for QBRs and client engagement as you’ll already have a foundation built of what to present. To start building a solid foundation for your QBRs, there are three main areas you’ll want to hone in on for these evaluations.

Assessment Area #1 - Completed, Ongoing & Upcoming Project Opportunities

You likely have multiple simultaneous projects for each client at any given time. By assessing the status and progress of each project, your team can have a proper understanding of what’s been completed, what’s on track to complete on time or if there are any hiccups and bottlenecks.

The Process

You’ll want to understand what types of projects are going on from what you’ve done to what you’re currently doing and what you need to do in the future. The technician and account manager can do this together, and this should be very quick to go through.

If you go into your PSA tools, you’ll be able to understand the full scope of your project history and opportunities. Once you’ve gathered this info, you’ll want to record your project assessments using one of the following three rankings:

  1. Completed (over this timeframe)
  2. Ongoing
  3. Opportunities

The Outcome

You’ll be able to start seeing that bigger picture as you’ll be completely aware of what has been  going on with the client and what’s going to be needed in the time to come. As a result, you will get a high-level picture from the client and you’ll be able to articulate a higher level of strategy with them.


Assessment Area #2 - Health and Status of Client Hardware & Software Assets

To check on the health and status of your clients’ assets, you’ll want to collect information pertaining to anything that is new, anything that has been changed or anything that doesn’t meet your standards and policies.

The Process

Although you can use any tool to pull together information for hardware and software assets, the process can be quite daunting without proper automation. If you’re using an automated tool like ScalePad, you can easily go through it to see the status of your warranties. You’ll want to look for what warranties are going to be renewed and what’s already been renewed while keeping an eye out to see if there are any components that will need updating.

You’ll also be able to see the age of each asset. Depending on the age of the asset, this is where you’ll need to determine if it needs replacement, if it can be renewed through repairs and upgrades, or if it can be retired so you can get rid of those items properly.

The Outcome

You’ll be able to prepare for different types of modernization projects much more in advance. From a client perspective, you’ll be viewed as proactive rather than hastily trying to fix what’s already broken. Your clients will also feel more comfortable as you can confidently address which hardware is healthy, under warranty or what needs to be replaced in which time frame. By always staying ahead of any potential problems, you’ll inevitably show more value to your clients as well.

Assessment Area #3 - Client Issues, Engagements & Hotspots

Last but not least, you’ll want to be sure to do a run through of all client tickets and engagements to look for hotspots or patterns. Often these can be used as leverage points to encourage clients to adopt best practice standards of operations or a standardized technology stack.

The Process

This assessment will be for non-technical things to help you evaluate how you interact with your clients and your team, how you solve problems, and how you manage your work. This will also help the account manager get a complete 360-view of what’s going on in their environment.

Areas you’ll want to make note of can include but are not limited to:

  • Going through all of your tickets
  • Do you like working with the people at this company
  • Do you have a new account
  • Any issues from your perspective and the client’s perspective
  • Is anyone giving you bad feedback

The Outcome

The goal of this evaluation is so that when you go into a QBR, you aren’t going to get any surprises as you’ve mentally prepared for any possible outcome. Any client concerns or comments about tickets and ongoing projects will already be accounted for and you’ll have the knowledge to easily speak on them.

Conclusion

As a cheat sheet to your QBR preparation, using these best practices will ensure you’re going to get the best results all around. By doing these tasks, you’ll be able to have more QBRs on a proactive basis that are easier to prepare for with less time spent doing so. Best of all, you’ll have better client engagement and retention with higher perceived value from clients.

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