‘Closing the loop’ is a phrase we use frequently at Farland Group. The point of this phrase is to emphasize that an engagement with a client is only as good as the action taken after the customer advisory board meeting. It’s one thing to say you will do something… but doing it is what matters.
Too often we focus on getting to the highest peak of our goal – getting to the top of the mountain; racing to close the deal; or working to get to the Board meeting. And, we then realize that getting down the mountain can be just as hard — and sometimes more taxing — than getting to the top.
Planning for what will happen the day after the meeting isn’t that exciting and therefore it is difficult to do. People aren’t wired to think about the day after their ultimate goal is reached. We spend the day after the achievement of the goal to celebrate the achievement. But Board members will measure you based on what you do next.
- What will you do with the advice you just gained?
- How will you engage clients differently?
- Where will you drive change in your processes and people?
Tips for a post meeting plan:
- Be clear on responsibilities for actioning the advice before you get into the meeting. In most cases the person presenting to the Customer Advisory Board should be the responsible party. But it is important to make accountability clear in advance and to quickly follow up to ensure they have the list of things that need to be done.
- Follow-up between meetings with the accountable parties to make sure that things are progressing. Making the decision to not act is ok, as long as there is clear rationale for why you didn’t act.
- Carve out specific time during the next Customer Advisory Board meeting to provide Board members with a status of how things are moving along. Close out those things that have been completed and be clear on timelines and progress for those that are longer term.
Board members make decisions about the effectiveness of a Board based on how well things are actioned. If you wish to retain your top members you have to plan for the meeting and the days that follow when the actions begin.