When developing a Customer Engagement Program, it is imperative not to think of the Council meetings, Summits, and Executive Sponsor meetings as one-off events to cross off your list of things you have to do. When viewed as an ongoing initiative, the results are much more formidable and lasting.
Case in point: One of our long-term clients could be viewed as a poster child for how to effectively create a customer engagement program and then above that, how to leverage the heck out of it.
After 4+ years of conducting advisory councils around the globe, the list of customer advocates they have created has grown significantly. In fact, so strong are the relationships that at an upcoming Advisory Council meeting, three council member alums have agreed to not only come back to attend the meeting, but also to take on an active role in the agenda, speaking on the topic of collaboration opportunities with their end-users. Our client is the conduit for discussions not only between themselves and their customers, but also between peers in their particular industry. I believe it would be hard to find someone who could argue that this interaction does not solidify account retention.
I can't overstate the importance of including Customer Engagement in your B2B strategies. Additionally, thinking for the long-term is of extreme importance not only for market alignment, but for creating customer advocates to help validate your standing as a trusted adviser.
For more on leveraging happy customers, go to www.geehangroup.com/services/executive-summits/