Tips to minimize QBR no-shows?

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Manish Nepal
Manish Nepal Member Posts: 4 Navigator
edited October 2023 in CS Conversations

I need advice on how to reduce QBR no-shows.

Most CSMs in my professional circle struggle to have clients attend their QBR meetings-or any other meetings in general.

It takes a lot of time and effort for CSMs to get the clients engage to give them feedback or take part in surveys, perhaps because most customers perceive CS in the same way they see support-people who they can reach out to when they need help.

Internally, QBRs are performance milestones for CSMs. So it's a tricky place for us to run a certain number of executive business reviews while dealing with QBRs no-shows.

If you are a CS leader or an expert, what tips do you have for CSMs to get their customers to show up for QBRs or even build excitement around it?

Comments

  • Brian Hansen
    Brian Hansen Member Posts: 75 Expert
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    edited March 2022
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    The reason people are not showing is because they're not seeing value from the meetings. No offense meant, but it sounds like the QBR strategy here is KPI driven rather than focused on what the customer can get out of the discussion. I would suggest asking customers what they would want to experience during a EBR and I would also suggest reducing the frequency. Customers leverage a lot of vendors in their tech stack, and if each of them is asking for a quarterly business review, that's a lot of meetings for the customer. The biggest thing to think about is to make these sessions about the customer, not about your company. 

    I'm glad to talk further on this to understand your specific details more and offer additional ideas.
  • TJ Adams
    TJ Adams Member Posts: 4 Seeker
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    edited March 2022
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    Brian's advice here is spot on. Every customer has 80 vendors, you're probably not getting a quarterly meeting unless you are one of the top 5. What I've done in the past is adopt a strategy of a Strategic Business Review which can deployed as little as once per year or quarterly.

    The way I deployed this in the beginning was to deploy during critical money time moments, so for all new customers, we told them during the kickoff meeting that we would hold an SBR in 12 weeks or whenever we hit the initial outcomes agreed upon in the joint success plan. Not a single customer balked at this.

    For existing customers, we took the approach of attempting to schedule the call as we moved closer to renewal discussions, with the idea being that no less than 120 days before end of contract we would bundle up all of the positive outcomes and room for improvement (on both sides) and attempt set a good tone for the next contract. If a customer refuses a business review at 120 days out then you are a)not important, b) you've lost them already or c) you have enough time to take measures. 
  • Manish Nepal
    Manish Nepal Member Posts: 4 Navigator
    edited March 2022
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    None taken at all, Brian! Thank you for your response. Yes, I do realize that it's been treated more like a KPI than a value-added service to customers. I guess that's where lies the rub. I will make it a point to ask customers what would make them interested in attending an executive review meeting. Good, actionable point.
  • Manish Nepal
    Manish Nepal Member Posts: 4 Navigator
    edited March 2022
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    Hi TJ, thank you for your thoughtful response. I completely agree with you and Brian. Just the other day, I was talking to my colleague about the amount of SaaS fatigue that buyers are going through (and it's only going to get worse from here) right now because of all the SaaS subscriptions they have across the board. And this directly correlates to what you're saying-if we do the maths, even 10 QBRs a quarter is a lot to handle. But of course, if I can make it hyper-personalized and relevant to customers, I might just be able to make it a value prop and not a standard operating procedure anymore.
  • Michael Roberts
    Michael Roberts Member Posts: 3 Seeker
    edited March 2022
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    Hey Manish,

    Wanted to jump in here from the perspective of a customer, maybe that'll be helpful. 

    My Video Response - Why I don't take QBRs

    I need advice on how to reduce QBR no-shows.

    Most CSMs in my professional circle struggle to have clients attend their QBR meetings-or any other meetings in general.

    It takes a lot of time and effort for CSMs to get the clients engage to give them feedback or take part in surveys, perhaps because most customers perceive CS in the same way they see support-people who they can reach out to when they need help.

    Internally, QBRs are performance milestones for CSMs. So it's a tricky place for us to run a certain number of executive business reviews while dealing with QBRs no-shows.

    If you are a CS leader or an expert, what tips do you have for CSMs to get their customers to show up for QBRs or even build excitement around it?

  • Brian Hansen
    Brian Hansen Member Posts: 75 Expert
    5 Insightfuls First Anniversary Name Dropper
    edited March 2022
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    Love the use of video here, Michael! And yes, absolutely...a CSM should be that trusted advisor. We talk a lot with our CSMs to be using phrases like, "I noticed that..." and "Customers like you...". Those are approaches that help CSMs to speak with customers and bring insight to the discussion. So, it's a way to connect and share ideas and ask questions, which leads to the types of conversations you noted in your video that you are seeking.
  • Manish Nepal
    Manish Nepal Member Posts: 4 Navigator
    edited March 2022
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    Great response! This is the kind of conversation I come for in this community. Thank you for taking out the time to reply, Michael! ??
  • William Robarge
    William Robarge Member Posts: 2 Navigator
    edited March 2022
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    Hey Michael, great use of the video and appreciate the feedback from the customer point of view.  

    I am a newer CSM, so I am not as familiar with the product or implementation of the product for our customers but I want to know more about their business. Our QBR's are focused around usage metrics and the upcoming road map but I am also trying to get to know them and their business better.  Do you feel this is a good way to engage the customer as a new CSM or do you think a different strategy may be better here. Also, your comment about "if I need them I would reach out then" doesn't help foster a productive relationship with the CSM. At this point, do you just see them as a vendor and have essentially written them off as being a partner?

    Appreciate your feedback!
  • Irwin Hunter
    Irwin Hunter Member Posts: 2 Navigator
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    edited March 2022
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    Splendid video Michael and this is exactly why we try to get CSM's involved in strategic conversations. Or actually we call them Business Value conversations. A QBR in our vision should be an Executive Business Review (EBR). No fixed time stamp, but 1 or twice a year. And it's alle about the customers' success metrics, are we getting there and how are we getting there?
    Yes, we do share a slide on contract utilization, but more in line with "are you receiving value out of the investment they make with us every year?".

    Show ups are indeed only going to happen when customers get value out of those meetings.
  • Steve Bernstein
    Steve Bernstein Member Posts: 133 Expert
    Name Dropper Photogenic First Anniversary First Comment
    edited March 2022
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    My experience is to drive the the JSP (Joint Success Planning), and to add to @Michael Roberts video, is from the customer's perspective by
    1. Position the QBR as a way to strengthen relationships by demonstrating that you care and are listening, e.g. something like "Your success is our success. To that end, we'd like to get feedback across the organization so we can prepare a draft JSP in advance of our meeting and then use our time together to drive the right priorities in the right way. Will you help us help you by participating?"

    2. Then, cast a wide net -- including ALL stakeholders with the key end users that influence/involvement -- and ask them to complete a (persona-based) assessment. The results of these assessments would be used to understand perceptions of what's working and what needs improvement in order to course-correct. And you can commit to sharing the anonymized results in the QBR -- transparency! -- perhaps along with key benchmarks from other clients at this stage in the journey. Your stakeholders will want to see the feedback from the colleagues and team members so that's another incentive to get them there.

    Now you've got a value-add meeting that can acquire alignment.  Of course there are details here and I'm always happy to share more, starting with a whitepaper and case story all about this
    at The Silver Bullet to Customer Health Scoring | Waypoint Group
    and also in this GGR thread
    https://www.gaingrowretain.com/communities/community-home/digestviewer/viewthread?GroupId=1&MessageKey=81a6a4e1-5776-499e-9907-6b2304dc87f5&CommunityKey=1261a423-6343-48a3-a722-6c04f19eacc8&tab=digestviewer


    /Steve

    I need advice on how to reduce QBR no-shows.

    Most CSMs in my professional circle struggle to have clients attend their QBR meetings-or any other meetings in general.

    It takes a lot of time and effort for CSMs to get the clients engage to give them feedback or take part in surveys, perhaps because most customers perceive CS in the same way they see support-people who they can reach out to when they need help.

    Internally, QBRs are performance milestones for CSMs. So it's a tricky place for us to run a certain number of executive business reviews while dealing with QBRs no-shows.

    If you are a CS leader or an expert, what tips do you have for CSMs to get their customers to show up for QBRs or even build excitement around it?

  • Michael Roberts
    Michael Roberts Member Posts: 3 Seeker
    edited March 2022
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    In my view, if a QBR is just around usage metrics/roadmap, essentially updates, then there's no need for a meeting because there's no discussion. I've been in a couple of those before (which is why I don't take them anymore), and I just end up listening, saying I'm good, that I have no questions, and that's it. You could accomplish the exact same value by sending a 5-minute video instead (and the video still feels personal!).

    For question #2, I guess, yes? I currently don't have any CSMs that act like a partner (know my implementation, proactively reach out about our execution, etc). So is it the best way to engage with my CSMs? Probably not, but it's good enough to get the job done (or so I think). I've often wanted, looked for more but haven't been able to get it. Which, I'm empathetic of that by the way. They've got a lot of accounts, and that kind of service would take a ton of effort.
  • Warwick Brown
    Warwick Brown Member Posts: 14 Thought Leader
    Photogenic First Anniversary First Comment
    edited April 2022
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    Hi Manish, it's the age old struggle and as others have said it comes down to the client's perception of value. Still, a no-show is rude. I'd get into the habit of reconfirming the day before - not just by email, but call them.

    I'd also be direct. Let them know you value their time and want to make sure the QBR is useful. Ask them what they'd like to see, how frequently they'd like to see it and what you could do to make it more impactful?

    There are lots of ways you can improve attendance, and get more engagement for your QBRs. I've written a comprehensive article on how to improve QBRS or you can just watch the video below - you might get some ideas from that.