Successful Customer Advisory Boards (CABs) feature a high level of member engagement during meetings – members offering perspectives and direct input into the topic areas presented. Keeping that momentum going in between meetings is imperative but can be challenging if there is not a clear plan in place to progress the advice shared in the sessions. In our extensive Customer Advisory Board work at Farland Group, we have found several tactics to be useful in driving engagement and action in between meetings.
Working Groups. Working groups can vary depending on what the issue set is. Often, working groups will feature individual assignments / problems for members to work on and then come back together as a group to review and discuss aggregated results or findings. Another method is to bring together a subset of the membership that is interested in a specific topic and do a brief session to gain targeted input. Share the findings from the working groups in a readout to the full CAB.
Proof of Concepts. CAB host companies use Proof of Concepts (POCs) to gain real-time insights into products and solutions brought forward during CAB meetings. Generally, POCs are engagements between the member company and the CAB host, where the member tries out a specific offering, provides feedback and in the process uncovers use cases that the host can add to their toolkit. Once the POCs are underway or complete, members can share their experience and their findings during a CAB meeting.
One-on-One Interviews. Farland Group utilizes one-on-one interviews in between sessions to gain feedback on content shared, meeting format, and areas to consider for future agendas. These individual calls, with Farland Group as a third party, provide members with a high touch and safe way to share their input and help further the mission of the CAB.
The key to gaining support from CAB members in between sessions is to keep the process simple and streamlined with clear asks up front on the time and resource commitments, the duration, the desired outcome, and the metrics to measure progress.