One of the biggest keys to success with your Customer Advisory Boards (CABs) is to identify the actions and/or next steps your organization will take following the meeting.
Your customers devoted their time and talent, and spent a few days with you to engage in discussions to help you better understand "their world" - their challenges, their concerns, what is working and what is not working - and what the future may hold for both of you. In return, your ultimate responsibility is to respond with specific actions you will take based on their feedback. Taking action lets them know their time was well spent, you were listening, and you took their ideas and recommendations very seriously. Taking action will keep them coming back to participate in future CAB meetings.
Plan Ahead for Post-meeting Activities
Even before your CAB meeting takes place, you should schedule an organizational planning meeting a week or two after the CAB meeting. This prepares your stakeholders for providing their key takeaways and thoughts on how to move forward on member suggestions, ensuring better market alignment. As a team, determine one or two next steps the organization is willing and able to address. Ensure you have:
- Support and buy-in from the team
- A plan and structure for addressing the issue(s), with associated timing and milestones
- Accountability from team members to make it happen
Typically within 30-45 days after the CAB meeting, you will want to communicate to the members with a meeting summary and details of your Action Plan. Send periodic updates on the progress you've made, showing how they have impacted the strategic direction of your organization. You'll benefit from improved customer relationships and achieve sustainable profitable growth as a result!