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Best Way to Align with Customer Expectations

In a recent Voice of the Customer survey, I asked my customer’s customer, “Are the objectives of the relationship being met?”

The very quick response was, “absolutely”. Somewhat skeptical, my next question was, “How do you know?”

Again, the quick response was, “Quarterly Business Reviews”. “QBR’s”, I asked? “Yes, QBR’s, how else would I know”!

Are you still guessing or assuming that your customers are pleased with your service or that you are meeting the expectations of the relationship?


Here’s a quick review of the basic requirements to build, deliver and align yourself with your customers' expectations:

1. When is the best time to schedule QBR’s with your customer?

QBR’s should be scheduled just after a sale as part of the implementation of your solution. There is no better time to continue to demonstrate how confident you are in the solution you are providing and how committed you are to an extended customer relationship. Scheduling your QBR is more validation that your customer selected the right business partner. Then at the first QBR and each subsequent one, schedule the following one.

2. What are the must have topics covered in a QBR?

  • Executive Summary

  • Focus on customers 2 -3 top initiatives

  • Financial Summary

  • Total Spend, Baseline, Savings, Contract Compliance and Cost Avoidance

  • Quality/Customer Service

  • Quality Log, Issues Remediation, Brand Management and KPI Performance

  • Innovation Quotient (IQ)

  • Project Log, Special programs/training

  • What’s new at your Company?

  • Relationship opportunity

  • Customer Strategic Objectives and Next Steps

  • Action items (both customer and company)

  • New Quarterly Initiatives

  • Validations of Reports

  • Schedule next QBR

CAUTION: The most effective QBR is not a “data dump”. Provide the data on a thumb drive, but just report the financial highlights. Don’t misuse this valuable time on “review mirror” stats. The QBR opportunity for both sides is discussing and agreeing on what comes next.

3. Who should attend QBR meetings?

Take full advantage of the QBR as your opportunity to expand and Advance the Relationship®. The benchmark is to be 3x3 in your customer relationships. Invite people that can help you move the relationship forward - people that can position you to gain recognition that, although you very much appreciate the current relationship, there is much more you could be providing to drive more effective solutions for your customer and your customers’ customers.

4. What should your customer expect from the QBR meeting?

Your QBR is your customer’s opportunity to validate their initial decision to select you as their business partner. If you are, in fact, doing your job and documenting the expectations of the relationship and facilitating a forward-thinking discussion, it’s game over. Also, each of the invitees learned more about you, your accomplishments and where you will continue to Advance the Relationship®. As stated earlier, your customer will leave this meeting with a complete and objective understanding that the objectives of the relationship are being met.