Business Relationship Management – What Is It & Why Do I Need It?

So here’s the thing. All too often we’re so busy fire fighting and saving the world that sometimes we forget about the actual customers. Business Relationship Management (BRM) is a process that can change all that and give your customers rock star levels of service. Want to find out more? Of course you do! Here’s our quick guide to BRM.

Why Do I Need It?

BRM aims to maintain a positive relationship with customers; it identifies the needs of existing and potential customers and ensures that appropriate services are developed to meet those needs. In other words, BRM acts as a buffer between IT and the business sitting at the strategy part of the service lifecycle to ensure that the needs of the customer are captured, understood and inherent in all products and services from the very beginning.

How to get started

Build on what you have already. If you have a Service Desk or account managers that meet with the business, can you join in their meetings initially? By working with your existing stakeholders not only are you nixing the potential for duplication and re-work but you can get their feel for for what’s going well and what’s causing the business pain over time.

When scheduling meetings initially make it all about the customer. We’ve all heard about the watermelon SLA which looks green to the customer but is red just about everything else so make sure you build in some flexibility into your meetings. Rather than overdoing with metrics and reports, start off with the basics, Major Incidents, updates on Problems and Change activity leaving time for customers to talk through how they feel is going.Now is the time to ask if there’s anything in particular worrying them or any busy periods coming up.

Get proactive. Use meetings with the business to really get a feel for how they use our services so that you can:

  • define and clarify service requirements
  • investigate any opportunities for additional services or service improvements
  • evaluate the utility and warranty required; making sure that the service being offered is both fit for purpose and fit for use

By asking the right questions you can really glean what’s closest to the hearts of the business and you can translate customer needs into more technical language.

For a really flawless relationship between IT and the business, deal In Service Level Management. Although service providers often have Service Level Agreements (SLAs) in place, BRM looks beyond meeting the terms of this SLA and addresses the things that aren’t always measured like customer satisfaction, improvement ideas or the incidents that are causing the most pain to the business. By working with Service Level Management, everyone can work together to ensure that SLAs are meeting both current and future business needs.

When the meeting is over, document your findings so you can understand

  • who the key stakeholders and decision makers are
  • What services are most valued
  • How services are used
  • how to understand leads and future opportunities

Remember, you can always build up your process over time but if you start with getting the basics in place, you’ll have a really solid framework to build on.

Benefits

By doing BRM you’re making a statement that you value your customers and the quality of service you provide. Here are some of the benefits of an effective BRM process:

  • Better articulation of business needs; being able to truly understand what your customers want putting you in the best possible position to deliver
  • Better alignment and integration of services
  • Less duplication and reword especially betwwen the Service Desk, BRM and Service Level Management
  • Achievement of business outcomes and delivery targets
  • Greater understanding between the business and the service provider
  • Means of resolving disagreements before things spiral and escalate out of control
  • Better user experience and increased customer satisfaction

Looking for training around Business Relationship Management.

 

by Vawns Murphy