Customer Advisory Board Advice: Learn to Love the Pain

The thing about Customer Advisory Boards is you just might get what you wished for: unvarnished advice about your strategy and your business. And while this is the very reason to create a Board, it can sometimes be hard to take. But, if you can find a way to leave defensiveness at the door and take a few steps to keep things constructive you will gain much more.

Having an open dialog can be tricky, and you want to ensure that honest feedback does not devolve into complaining or reinforcing of the gaps you are trying to overcome. Here are a few things to consider to maintain constructive Council meetings:

  • Listen – The Council meeting is not the place to debate the point, and your defensiveness will shut down any further conversation that will help you learn the reasons for the feedback.
  • Clarify – Help advisors to break down their comments to enable you to make the advice actionable.
  • Value and vision – Start with value proposition and vision and ask for advice on how to get there. You will still hear plenty on gaps, but it will be in the context of where you want to get to, which brings client advisors along for the journey.
  • Avoid open-ended feedback – Sometimes executives want to take an hour or two out of an Advisory Council meeting to ask clients for general feedback. While this may sound like a good idea to encourage open dialog, it is a recipe for random complaints, rambling commentary, off-target suggestions, and insights into areas where you may have no intention of acting. Focusing the conversation makes it easier for everyone to share more effectively.
  • Report on progress – It is critical to share back to the Council where you have taken action and made progress. If clients feel their remarks are falling on deaf ears, or if you only respond to places where they commented positively, you will erode the honest nature of future advice. Clients really respond to and admire those executives who take their comments to heart.

Trusted clients will tell you what they think you really need to hear to be successful and you likely will learn a lot.

 

Related Stories

Creating a Great Customer Meeting: Build Peak Moments

Posted on 01.18.2023 by in Engagement Strategy, Featured

Customer experiences are often judged by the closing experience. Done well, the experience is deemed positive. Too often these experiences are forgotten.

Continue Reading »

How to Make Working Groups Work For You

Posted on 12.8.2022 by in Customer Advisory Boards

Coming out of Customer Advisory Council meetings, there is generally a list of action items, and areas identified for further exploration. There are many ways to follow through, but one vehicle is invaluable when it comes to keeping  

Continue Reading »

Less is Definitely More: The Customer Advisory Board Content Trap

Posted on 11.22.2022 by in Customer Advisory Boards

Often as companies work to build out their Customer Advisory Board meeting agendas there is a desire to pack in the content for fear there will be silent, with no one offering their comments or perspectives.  The  

Continue Reading »

Do You Really Want to Launch a Client Advisory Board?

Posted on 10.3.2022 by in Customer Advisory Boards, Featured

Client Advisory Councils can be incredibly powerful vehicles to gain real insight, embed clients in your strategy and deepen important relationships. But, if it is not the right time, and the foundation is not in place, you can lose ground  

Continue Reading »


Customer Advisory Boards

Customer Advisory Boards are powerful engines of engagement, insight, and business transformation. Make the most of yours.

Meeting Facilitation: Virtual and In-Person Boards » Taking Your Customer Advisory Board Meetings Virtual »

Learn More »

Engagement Strategy

Like any good relationship, customer engagement is a long-term, reciprocal effort. When done well, meaningful engagement leads to better business results, faster.

Engage Your Customers to Help You Stop Pitching » Getting to a Customer Engagement Mindset »

Learn More »

Understanding the C-Suite

Building C-level programs that are meaningful and bring value to you as well as to your c-suite customers is challenging. Veiled sales pitches won’t win the day with this audience. Deliver what executives want: ideas, inspiration, innovation, influence.

Building a C-Suite Client Experience Strategy » Do you Know What Your Customers Value? »

Learn More »