On a recent road trip with my son and future daughter-in-law, traffic on the highway came to a complete stop thirty minutes into our 3 ½ -hour drive. Not knowing what lay ahead, I was instantly reminded of the time it took me 14 hours to drive to Chicago after a snowstorm, normally a 5-hour trip! I still cringe every time I think about it… the discomfort, the stress, the feeling of helplessness, and the disappointment over all the missed appointments and opportunities. Luckily, my quick-thinking and a bit impatient son, who was listening to the traffic report, quickly maneuvered the car into the exit lane and took an alternate route. In no time at all, we were back on-track and actually arrived at our destination a little ahead of schedule. It was painless and we didn’t miss a thing.
It’s too bad the people in all those other cars weren’t listening to the traffic report. They would probably be delayed, and were likely to miss something special. They too, could have maneuvered around the accident and arrived ahead of schedule like us. Catching up on some work-related reading in the backseat, our little glitch in the road got me thinking… customer advisory councils are a lot like that traffic report! They provide insight to what lies ahead.
If you’re planning a road trip and want to know what condition the roads are in, tune in to your local traffic report. You will learn where to expect slow-downs due to construction. You will discover where caution is needed due to ice and snow. You will find out which roads should be avoided altogether due to accidents. You will realize that an alternate route may be necessary, and which one will get you to your destination more quickly. You will get a glimpse into what lies ahead so you can anticipate and plan accordingly.
Likewise, when navigating the road to success for your organization. Tune in to your customer advisory council and gain insight to customer challenges, industry trends, and product development!
- Learn what to expect from the market.
- Discover where caution is needed or where speed is of the essence in developing new products.
- Find out what new programs and services are needed or what should be avoided altogether.
- Realize that a different perspective or strategy may be needed or that another way or doing things may work better.
- Discover how to achieve differentiation.
- Anticipate the future and plan accordingly.
Take my advice. Tune in to your “traffic report.” Learn what to expect and what lies ahead. Prepare for the open road, congestion, and potential detours. Avoid the stress and disappointment of missed opportunities. Anticipate an alternate route and you may actually arrive ahead of schedule like we did. Tune in. It’s painless and you won’t miss a thing!