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Key accounts research

Quality of service reviews and win-loss analysis In business-to-business markets, key accounts can form a significant part of the revenue for the business, but being small in number, conventional research tools are often too blunt and in-personal.  Our Quality of Service Review (QSR) process is a formalised method of gathering information from key account customers to support account planning and relationship development. It is particularly suited to major accounts, where the relationship may be complex with many levels of contact and influence.

For businesses working on a project-by-project basis, win-loss research helps the business understand and improve the bids and offers it makes to customers.

Key account monitoring - Quality of Service Reviews

Business relationships are typically complex, particularly with key accounts. They are multi-levelled, potentially very valuable (a single account may account for several percent of your total revenue), typically long standing and on-going and often highly individualised.

Most companies in business markets use some form of account management to co-ordinate the business in looking after the needs of the customer. Typically, the account managers fulfil three roles: they develop the relationship; they sort out problems; and they provide detailed information to the customer.

In practice, the day-to-day role of an account manager often revolves around the current hot issues - sorting out problems and providing detailed support for current issues - has the product arrived, there's a quality problem, we have some new areas to investigate. Among all this detail there is a danger that the broader strategic and relationship role of the account manager is lost among the fire-fighting. The account managers role is not just to firefight but also to win more business by strengthening and deepening the partnership.

To be able to deepen a relationship, the account manager needs to keep up-to-date about business needs and identify strengths and weaknesses and opportunities within the customers business. This may involve selling 'tin' or equipment but it more often than not involves providing service and support to the customer and helping them with innovative ideas for business improvement.

A Quality of Service Review is a tool that helps the account manager and the customer step back from the day-to-day to look at the relationship overall, to look at all aspects of the relationship together, identify gaps and look at priorities for improvement. We often find out that soft issues such as service, trust, sharing new ideas and providing ad hoc help and consultancy can be very valuable to the customer, but can be lost among the practical details around the day-to-day quality, delivery and price.

The second objective of the QSR approach is to be able to measure performance across accounts and therefore for senior managers to identify areas for improvement across the business as a whole.

QSR is based around the use of Trade-off grids or Simalto (Simalto stands for Simultaneous Alternate Level Trade-offs) as a tool to collect information (and to act as a point for starting discussion) and typically covers detailed areas across: Product Quality, Delivery, Ordering and Payment, Account and Technical Service, Systems and Communications, and Business Focus and Strategy. It is designed to be used by account managers as both a basis for evaluation, and a seed for discussion

 

Win-loss analysis

While a quality of service review looks at the overall working relationship of the business and its main customers, win-loss analysis is focused on specific bids and proposals to evaluate what went right, and what can be improved.

Bids are specific to the customer, however, key factors such as how well the bid met requirements, price, account service, presentation and communication, timing, helpfulness are generic across bids. Our win-loss analysis tool uses a menu-based questionnaire system, that allows the customer to select the areas they want to highlight on the bid performance - both positive and negative and to provide specific feedback. This makes a win-loss fast and appropriate from a customer perspective, while allowing them to drill down into areas that they want to provide more detail and specific comments.

The tool allows bid managers to see each bid rated by customers on key measures, together with feedback on details that can be provided by the customer online, or through an accompanied discussion with an account manager.

 


For help and advice on introducing Quality of Service Reviews or win-loss analysis into your business contact info@dobney.com


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