How to Effectively Run a Customer Advisory Board
Companies have long been implementing customer advisory boards to help manage the strategic direction of their business.
A customer advisory board is a chosen groups of customers that meet periodically to review industry trends, discuss mutual challenges and opportunities, and provide candid insight and guidance.
Customer advisory boards can offer many benefits to both the company and its customers, including:
- Validation of business strategies
- Feedback on products and services
- Strengthen customer relationships
- Influence product roadmaps
- Learn best practices from the company and other users
- Help solve shared industry pain points
However, when not executed properly, customer advisory boards can be very costly and be a waste of time for both the company and the customers.
5 Tips for Running an Effective Customer Advisory Board
1. Who you invite to join your customer advisory board will make or break the success.
Your customer advisory board should include your top customers — the people you can trust to represent your entire customer base. These aren’t necessarily the customers who spend the most. Depending on the objective of your board, it could be:
- Super-users who know your solution up and down
- Customers who have provided feedback in the past
- Advocates who want to see your company succeed
2. Let customers drive meeting content.
Customer advisory boards are for the customer. The agenda of your meetings should be largely shaped by what the customers want to discuss. Ask members ahead of time what topics they’d like to cover. This will drive for more engagement at the meeting, and it will also show the customer you truly care about and value their opinion.
3. Get the right people involved internally.
Customer advisory boards shouldn’t just consist of marketing or customer success teams. All customer advisory boards should have at least one executive sponsor and representatives from all major departments like:
- Customer support
- Customer service
- Product development
- Customer success/Account management
4. Make it fun.
Let’s be serious — this is where the ball gets dropped a lot. Customer advisory boards don’t need to be over-formalized, stuffy, and boring. Incorporating gamification techniques can go a long way to get members feeling more comfortable (and thus more likely to provide candid feedback) and engagement high.
5. Keep the conversation flowing outside of in-person meetings.
It’s important to host in-person meetings for your customer advisory board when your budget can accommodate. However, in-person meetings get expensive, and there’s no reason your board can’t interact virtually. Engage members year-round using platforms like customer advisory hubs to gather feedback, build relationships, and, of course, have fun.
Implementing a customer advisory board is one of the best ways your company can develop a solution that meets the needs of your customers. You’ll not only receive the validation that you’re delivering the solution your customers need, but you’ll also develop meaningful, lasting relationships with your customers.