What Makes a Customer Advisory Board Unique and Effective?

As you look to what your priorities are for the future — whether for the rest of this year or next, or five years on the horizon, have you wondered whether you’re making the right decisions? Is your strategy for X, Y, Z sound, and if not, how should you tweak it? How can one gather outside perspectives, advice and feedback that are unbiased? Maybe, starting a customer advisory board is the right answer.

Below are some top values of a customer advisory board that may help you determine whether a customer advisory board is the best solution for you:

  • Diverse Group of Peers. What makes the customer advisory boards and councils we work on at Farland Group unique is that each one involves a diverse group of board members. Members from multiple industries come together to discuss and share perspectives on a number of given topics. We find the best advice is garnered when those in the room come from varying backgrounds — whether it’s financial services, manufacturing, retail, etc., having those different perspectives is key.
  • Co-created Meeting Agenda. We talk to our customer advisory board client host and members of that board prior to each meeting as we iterate the meeting agenda. Having input from both sides of the aisle ensures everyone has skin in the game, and that topics are relevant to a majority in the room.
  • In-person Meetings. In today’s world and technology-enabled meeting options, it’s easy to see why face-to-face meetings aren’t the easiest to pull off. However, if you plan well in advance, chances are you’ll have a good number of attendees at your customer advisory board meeting. The value of affording your clients the opportunity to be open and offer honest feedback in-person is immeasurable. Those around the table are spending time away from their own office, which means they’re invested and truly want to help. Additionally, the board host is also invested, so the feeling is reciprocated.
  • Third-Party Facilitation. Maybe you’ve determined that a customer advisory board is the answer. But, should you be the one facilitating the meeting when it occurs? That’s where Farland Group comes in. The advantage to having a third party consultant means that there is a neutral referee in the room to make sure all conversations stay on track, and on subject, without going down a rabbit hole. It helps to have someone in the room who does not have direct relationships with your clients to probe and ask questions that keep the dialogue flowing freely among all participants.

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