Sustaining Customer Advisory Board Engagement Outside the Meeting Cycle

Engagement levels are very high during face-to-face Customer Advisory Board (CAB) meetings: the group is meeting in a physical location, members are strengthening longstanding connections or making new ones, and the direct dialogue progresses the strategic topics on the agenda.  But what do you do to continue the engagement during the “off season” when the CAB is not meeting?  Below are a number of ways to keep the dynamic going in between meetings.

Virtual Meetings.  Teleconferences or webinars are great vehicles to continue the conversation on a specific topic coming out of a meeting, or to tee up an area for discussion at a future session.  One-hour virtual events are easy for executives to attend from any location around the globe, without the constraints that travel brings.  If the CAB is global, an early morning session will align to most schedules and you may elect to record the session so those who cannot attend can replay it.  If the virtual event is being used to gain further advice coming out of a meeting, select a slice of the topic that still needs to be progressed and tackle that in a virtual session.  Given the brevity of the session, careful planning is required to make the most of the time, and boxing in the topic helps to keep the conversation on track and deliver value to all.

Working Groups.  Small groups focused on a specific topic or challenge area are optimal for engaging with members who may have deep interests that do not span the entire CAB.  For example, if a subset of members is using a solution or product that the rest of the Board isn’t, a working group is ideal for gathering targeted input on a topic that matters to them and to the host company.

Member Input Calls.  Routine calls in between sessions to touch base with members, elicit their feedback on meetings and learn what topics are top of mind for them, are extenders to the face-to-face meetings and virtual meetings.  Not only do these one-on-one input calls strengthen the relationship with members, they drive co-created agenda development resulting in a meeting that has their fingerprint on it, and holds meaning for them while providing valuable input to the host company.

Continuing to keep senior executives engaged can be challenging; these are just a few of the tools we have found to be effective as we continue to foster relationships with members outside of the meeting cadence.  How are you continuing to engage your members outside the Board room?

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