It’s the start of another year – 2023, no less – and what better time to do a client review as part of gearing up for the year ahead? Like any regular process or activity, Way We Do has you covered with Activated Checklists.
In this article, we’ll talk about how important it is to carry out regular reviews with your clients, and how you can use our newest Activated Checklist to streamline the process.
The importance of the Client Business Review
It should come as no surprise that good working relationships are fundamental to your business’s success. Regularly reviewing your progress and performance with your clients is a vital part of the account management process. A well-planned and executed review process – be it quarterly, or annually – helps you effectively communicate to your clients what you have been doing, and what else you may be able to do for them.
A Client Business Review is also an opportunity for your clients to talk about their experiences in working with you – what’s worked; what hasn’t. You can also discuss any challenges that may have arisen and how you might work better, both for and with your clients, to overcome any potential issues in future. The benefits of this kind of review include stronger working relationships, better client retention and maybe even some more referral business into the bargain.
Quarterly versus annual reviews
Quarterly business reviews are great to track progress through the course of the business year. They can be particularly useful when you’re working with a new client, to make sure everything is progressing as agreed and to catch any bugs before they become major issues. But even with well-established clients, a quarterly review can be an excellent opportunity to check in and cover off any emerging issues that may arise from external factors like economic or market forces.
You can use the quarterly review to confer on the progress of any ongoing projects, and any upcoming work you need to plan for. It’s also a good time to review any metrics or KPIs you’ve agreed on as part of your working relationship.
Annual business reviews are an opportunity to take a longer, more comprehensive overview of your working relationships. You’ll still want to address all the topics from your quarterly reviews, but with a more strategic, longer-term view. In an annual review, both you and your client can assess how you each perceive the overall success of your working relationship, and identify areas for improvement, as well as any potential new opportunities to work together.
Conducting a Client Business Review
Once you’ve set a time for you and your client to get together, it’s time to start preparing for the meeting. Gather all relevant data and metrics, along with any documents or materials that may be useful. It’s a good idea to prepare a list of talking points and questions as well, so you remember everything you want to discuss. Your client may ask for certain documents or information from you as well, to help them with their own preparations.
During the meeting, it’s important to maintain a professional and objective tone, as you would with any other kind of review. Steer away from placing blame and focus instead of how to address any issues; find solutions that will help you work better together. Most importantly, be ready to listen to any feedback and be open to suggestions for how your business might be able to better help your clients.
After the meeting, be sure to follow up on any actions or commitments you’ve made during the review. You may want to email your client with a summary or report of what you’ve discussed in the review, and what you’ve both agreed on for the coming months. Check in with them intermittently (especially if you don’t conduct quarterly reviews) to make sure things are going as planned, and if you need to make any adjustments to what you’re doing.
Creating a Way We Do checklist for your Client Business Reviews
Way We Do features Client Business Review checklist templates under Business Reviews in our Manual. If this is something you’d like to implement for your business, we can easily add this to your account.
There are five main steps to creating your own Client Business Review Activated Checklist.
Step 1: Select Review Type
Here, you can choose from either quarterly or annual review options. Once you make your selection, the Activated Checklist template will reveal the appropriate next steps for your chosen type.
Step 2: Book Review Date with Client
Remember to schedule the meeting far enough in advance to give all attendees the chance to prepare. When you’re setting the meeting, a good guide is to allow around 30 minutes for a quarterly review, whereas you may need one to two hours for an annual review.
Step 3: Prepare for the Meeting
As part of your preparations, you may want to consider creating some presentation slides with information to accompany your talking points. You’ll also want to create a scorecard to use during the review. Have these ready to go for the meeting so you can your client can make the most of the time you have together during the review.
Step 4: Conduct the Meeting
This is where the rubber hits the road. Depending on whether you’re doing a quarterly or annual review, the way you run the meeting will differ.
For a quarterly review, the steps will look like this.
- Present the agenda.
- Discuss hits and misses.
- Review the progress of the top three to five business objectives against your last review.
- Discuss any current or pending changes in business objectives.
- Review current projects.
- Discuss any unresolved issues.
- Grade your business’s progress, and your client’s progress against your last review.
- Together, discuss any pain points there may be in your relationship.
- Discuss the desired future state.
- Sign the scorecard and have your client counter-sign.
- Review how often you’d like to check in after the review.
- Address any remaining questions.
The steps for an annual review will be slightly different, to reflect the different nature and focus of the meeting.
- Discuss business objectives.
- Review past business goals.
- Set the top three goals for the coming year.
- Identify opportunities for the coming year.
- Identify any barriers to success.
Step 5: Document Outcomes
Once you’ve completed the review with your client, you’ll need to document what you’ve discussed and plan how to implement any actions you’ve agreed to. Share this information as appropriate with your client to ensure you’re on the same page, and book your next review.
Turn on your Client Business Review process
Regular reviews are an important part of any professional relationship, and client reviews are as vital to your business’s ongoing success as staff reviews. Well-implemented Client Business Reviews are an excellent way to demonstrate your commitment to your clients and to foster a stronger long-term working relationship with them. And they’ll continue to pay dividends to you and your clients for years to come.
Using this checklist can help make your account management process much more streamlined, and ensure all your Client Business Reviews are well planned and consistently executed. The Client Business Review checklist also gives your management team visibility of where account managers are in the workflow progress for oversight and reporting purposes.
If you’d like us to install the Client Business Review Activated Checklist option to your Way We Do account, simply reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.