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Using the Quarterly Business Review to Reduce Customer Churn

By Special Guest
John Rode, Senior Director of Demand Generation
July 08, 2015

Customer churn is expensive. The best way to avoid it is to keep close tabs on the health of business relationships and address issues proactively rather than reactively. A quarterly business review process can be an ideal way to keep a relationship healthy and reduce churn. It may sound formal, but it doesn’t have to be difficult or complex—a quarterly business review is simply a way for vendors and customers to keep the relationship transparent, positive and productive.

Reviewing the relationship on a quarterly basis is the optimal timeframe since three months is sufficient time to implement a new plan and measure results to see if it is working as designed. A shorter time period, such as a monthly review, would demand too much customer time, and a longer period—six months, for instance—would increase the chances that the customer company would experience a business strategy change or gain new executive leadership.

When planning a quarterly business review, it’s important to invite the right people. The primary contact at the customer company should definitely participate, and don’t forget to share your plans with your daily contact to make sure you’re on the same page if others are attending. In addition to your primary contact, the departmental VP, director or business unit manager should also attend. If you can arrange to have the customer company’s senior team attend, that can be an excellent way to raise the profile of your partnership.

Here are the four steps involved in a successful review:

  1. Communicate the value your customer gets from your product. Kick off the meeting by communicating the value the customer receives. This part of the meeting can include qualitative anecdotes that demonstrate how the customer has used the product to their benefit over the past quarter. Quantitative metrics are a powerful way to demonstrate value, so make sure you include these numbers whenever possible.
  2. Determine whether the previous quarter’s goals have been met. The next step is to review your progress in meeting the goals you and the customer agreed on for the past quarter. This step demonstrates that progress is a team effort. The best approach is to be completely honest and transparent, discussing where you succeeded and where you fell short. It’s also crucial to get specific customer feedback on what you could have done better.
  3. Outline new goals for the upcoming quarter. After the review is concluded, the next step is to discuss what your companies will be doing during the next three months. Set specific tasks and define what success looks like. Establish benchmarks to monitor along the way whenever possible. With a quarterly review strategy, the goal is to avoid having to solicit feedback at random times on how you’re doing since the goals are clear.  
  4. Find out where you stand with the customer. After you’ve completed the other steps, wrap up the meeting by asking where you stand, inviting a frank conversation about the possibilities of renewal and the customer’s plans for the future of the relationship. Ask if there’s anything more your company could be doing to strengthen the relationship, and if your customers provide critical feedback, let them know you’ll address it right away.

In addition to giving you terrific insights into the health of your relationship with the customer, quarterly business review meetings let the customer know that their business is important to you and your company. If things are going well, the meeting underscores the value you deliver. If the relationship is at risk, the meeting can help you understand what needs to change to keep the customer on board.

Another advantage to having a quarterly business review is that you’ll get to discuss strategic objectives with your customer instead of addressing tactical details or managing complaints. Quarterly meetings give you a chance to showcase upcoming product enhancements and talk about new ways your company can help your customer meet their business goals. So consider implementing a quarterly review strategy and following these four steps—it can help reduce churn and take customer relationships to the next level. 

About the Author: John provides Preact prospects with the insight and knowledge they need to be successful – before they even become customers. Whether as a blog post, eBook or infographic, John’s demand generation content is geared to be as helpful and informative as possible.He has over 15 years of experience in demand generation and product marketing for a diverse set of SaaS companies ranging from business intelligence to online presentations to time tracking and predictive analytics. While at SlideRocket, John ignited customer acquisition to add millions of users each year- contributing to the company’s eventual acquisition by VMware. John has also held demand generation leadership roles at PivotLink, Fair Isaac, GoodData, and Replicon.

Edited by Dominick Sorrentino

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