If you've fallen behind or gotten off track with your Customer Advisory Board (CAB) planning, and think you could put off a meeting because maybe "it's just not that important," think again! Below are some comments from Advisory Board members who had mistakenly assumed
their host company was canceling their upcoming CAB meeting: "From my perspective, having key leaders and key customers together in one room to hear about the [host company] strategy and direction, and then having an opportunity to share our insights, is incredibly valuable."
"If [host company] doesn't continue the CAB, I vote we create our own group. I'd certainly miss the [host company] engagement, but least it would give us the opportunity to share with each other. I could hold the meeting at my company if people are willing to travel."
"This CAB provides an opportunity for us to get together face-to-face. I know the relationships I've built, and value I get from the CAB are far greater than what I get from any other [host company] event."
"We're planning to expand significantly, so the CAB is very important to me. So far, my experience on the CAB has been great as [host company] really listens to our feedback and has implemented many of our suggestions."
These are incredible testimonials to the value of customer engagement programs, and specifically, Customer Advisory Boards. One member went as far as to offer to host fellow members at her organization for the peer sharing and networking benefits!
Clearly these members have experienced the benefits of participating on an Advisory Board. They have a "seat at the table" with the executive leadership team allowing them an insider's view of the host company's strategy and direction. They also have the opportunity to be that "voice of the customer" for the host company.
Don't underestimate the impact of your CAB program. And be sure to communicate clearly and often about plans and next steps. As one meeting is completed, start planning for the next one by choosing a few dates to share with members, asking for their best availability. Remember: continuous engagement and early planning are keys to success!