Five Ways for Developing a Thriving Customer Advisory Board

Also known as customer advisory councils, customer advisory boards provide an excellent opportunity to business leaders and owners to get some insights on a variety of issues that can have an impact on customer experience. It also enables the business to test any new assumptions and ideas it is considering, which can be useful for guiding the strategic direction of the company. A very important benefit of having a customer advisory board is that the members tend to become the most profitable and powerful brand advocates. As this board is basically the voice of consumers, there are five ways to ensure that the customer advisory board program is effective and successful. They are:

–         A clear objective is crucial

A well-thought out objective is essential for every effective meeting and the same is applicable for a CAB meeting. Board members want to dedicate their time to a good cause. Meeting goals and priorities should be established, keeping in mind the need to align the company with the market’s evolving needs. Board members can also be surveyed to gauge their interests regarding some discussion topics and create the agenda of the meeting accordingly.

–         Plan meeting logistics

The event planning process is an important aspect of having a thriving customer advisory board, even though it’s often overlooked. Members should have a positive experience so the location of the meetings, group activities for the members, accommodation and handouts with relevant and appropriate information should be provided accordingly. These are the most influential customers of the business so they have to have a positive experience in order to be useful.

–         Invite the right customers

One of the most critical determinants of the effectiveness of a customer advisory board are the members. A business wants both diversity and consistency when making a selection. Consistency is important because the titles of all members should be similar. Feedback from a secretary and a vice president can be completely different so their titles and positions should be aligned. Likewise, if the needs of the members are vastly different, some questions aren’t worth asking. Thus, diversity is also valuable and should represent the broad customer base of the business involving a mix of customer tenures, geographies and verticals.

–         Ask about important matters

Meets of customer advisory boards last for a one or two days and lots of topics have to be discussed, which makes it easier to get distracted. It is imperative that a business stays focused. It should let the customers talk more and ask for clarification where needed. As customers have been invited to provide feedback, most of the session should be focused on eliciting actionable input.

–         Share the accomplished goals

Most businesses fail to do so, which can be a major downside. It is vital to close the loop with members of the customer advisory board, which means ongoing communication. They should be informed about how the feedback has been used for updating the company’s progress as this leads to greater motivation amongst them.

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