As Laura Davis, Director Global Technology Services Marketing, North America, IBM, notes in her recent post Driving Customer Loyalty Through Listening and Action, listening and acting are two concepts that are absolutely critical to the health and longevity of customer advisory boards.
In Farland Group’s extensive work on customer advisory boards, we have seen success stories where organizations embraced a listening mindset, stepped away from the sales pitch and were open to receiving the input and guidance their key customers shared with them. This shift from pitch mode to listening mode fosters an open dialogue between c-suite customers and executives, and steers the company as they evolve strategies and develop new products and services.
As Laura points out, the next step – taking action on those insights – is equally important as listening, and can be incredibly challenging. Rigor and a consistent process is required to move the advice received in board meetings into tangible actions that drive toward positive outcomes. When customers don’t see progress in the areas where they have consistently provided guidance, they begin to disengage and the purpose and vitality of the board can be at risk.
Companies that take the time to listen to their customer advisors, and then systematically act and follow up on that guidance, will experience significant pay off. It’s reciprocal value at its best!