A Guide to Quarterly Business Reviews for MSP Companies

As a managed services provider (MSP), quarterly business reviews (QBRs) are one of the most effective tools for establishing transparency and keeping customers up-to-date on the work being carried out for them. MSP QBRs, otherwise known as technical business reviews, provide a key opportunity for your MSP to touch base with customers, highlight the value they provide, and create a strategic agenda going forward for how best to support the customer’s IT and business needs.

Part of your goal as an MSP is to build strong, long-lasting relationships with your customers. These relationships are defined by the quality of work and the value you offer. QBRs provide a standard forum to demonstrate this value and should be a critical component of your service offering. This article will outline the basics of MSP quarterly business reviews, covering how to approach them and what to include.

The purpose of the quarterly business review

A quarterly business review, as its name suggests, is a review held on a quarterly basis that reflects on the existing state of your customer’s business. It should address how you are helping customers achieve both their short-term and long-term goals.

When performing a QBR, you should consider the following:

  • What happened in the last quarter?
  • What successes and failures did you encounter?
  • How did you rectify issues?
  • Overall, how did your IT service perform?

In addition to reflecting on the last quarter, you should also consider the next quarter and establish appropriate goals. This should involve identifying areas of a customer’s business that are likely to change and discussing how you intend to work together to accommodate changes and stay on track to achieve future goals.

In terms of its delivery method, a QBR can take many forms. It might be a face-to-face presentation, a PowerPoint deck, a document, or any combination of these mediums. Keep in mind that QBRs will be unique to individual companies, so don’t be afraid to make them your own. Variations are encouraged, and they may even help you report on the unique nature of your business and the relationships you have with your customers. In fact, a quarterly business review for one customer may look entirely different from a quarterly business review for another customer.

What to include in your MSP QBR

The aim of your MSP quarterly business review is to provide a top-down view of operations, helping to ensure that all discussions provide transparency and highlight the value of your services. As a start, a standard quarterly business review agenda should include the following:

1. SERVICE TICKET REVIEW

You should include a comprehensive review of the service tickets from the previous quarter to display how your team managed the volume of tickets received. At a minimum, this can be a simple comparison of open tickets to closed tickets over the period of time in discussion.

These numbers should open up further discussion—a relatively equal number of open and closed tickets should demonstrate your technicians are generally able to handle support requests as quickly as they come in. If there is a large discrepancy between the numbers, you may need to dig deeper to help explain why. For example, while this could suggest your technicians need to resolve issues faster, it might also indicate your customer needs a clearer framework for what types of issues should go through the service desk.

2. TECHNICAL REVIEW

The technical review is an extremely important part of the QBR. This portion often makes up the bulk of your business review process, and it involves providing insight into all aspects of your services for a full picture of your responsibilities. This allows you to take the time to highlight the value you’ve brought to the table as a service provider, while also putting some thought into where you can make process improvements in the future.

3. SLA REVIEW

The SLA review involves comparing your pre-existing service level agreements to the services that have been rendered. You should showcase any areas in which you have exceeded your SLAs and discuss any disputes or issues that have been raised.

4. USER TRAINING

This component of the quarterly business review gives you the opportunity to show your customers that you’re invested in improving their operations. For example, you may provide recommendations about which of your customer’s employees could benefit from additional training, based on support tickets received. Not only will this training have the potential to save your organization time by reducing the number of support tickets, but it can also serve as another way to demonstrate your value to your customers in the QBR process.

5. STRATEGIC PLANNING

One of the great benefits of an MSP QBR is that you’re given access to a room full of decision-makers. This is the ideal moment to address big-picture strategies and proposals for improving your business relationship. Take this time to ensure that every person involved has a robust understanding of what you’re working on, any recommendations you have, and what is planned for the future.

6. ENDPOINT MANAGEMENT

Another crucial part of an MSP’s relationship with its customers is the success of endpoint management. Customers depend on your MSP to deploy, update, and troubleshoot the many endpoint devices on their network. Paradoxically, however, the better your MSP is at endpoint management, the more likely it is that customers are unable to understand all the work that goes into it. The QBR is your chance to provide some color to the value you bring here by explaining the complexity and nuance of endpoint management.

For example, your QBR can report details around things like endpoint security and patch management. To do this, your MSP might gather specific information about workstations and their patch status, or statistics around your proactive threat reporting efforts.

7. Network security defense

This involves addressing how you protect your customers’ networks against cyberthreats (expanding beyond endpoint security, which we discussed in the previous step). You should focus on highlighting the security efforts you’re taking and mention compliance measures if relevant.

Getting started with MSP QBRs

By giving your customers a high-level overview of how your business has provided them value, QBRs provide an excellent opportunity for MSPs to boost customer satisfaction, improve customer loyalty, and strengthen relationships. They also make it possible for you to give customers more involvement in your service offerings, gaining invaluable feedback and establishing a more collaborative partnership.

Another benefit of QBRs is that they allow you to pitch and potentially sell additional services in a natural, organic way. These upsells can significantly increase revenue, especially if successfully executed across multiple customers. With this in mind, SolarWinds® MSP Manager is a very useful tool in facilitating effective QBRs.

SolarWinds MSP Manager helps MSPs organize workflows and streamline communication with customers. This IT service management system enables you to deliver prompt and proactive service, allocate resources effectively, and bill customers quickly and easily. The tool features reliable invoices for faster approval, intuitive and lightweight ticketing, batch billing exports, customer and knowledge management, and interactive dashboards—all through a centralized and unified solution. The branded customer portal is especially useful, keeping your business front of mind with customers and reminding them of the value you provide.

Overall, MSP Manager is a sophisticated and user-friendly tool that comes highly recommended to MSPs looking to highlight their customer services and incorporate successful QBR processes. For MSPs looking to streamline or kick-off their QBR process, a 14-day free trial of MSP Manager is available to get started today.

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