Many Customer Advisory Boards (CABs) lack vision and creativity. The vision refers to the joint vision and challenge that you want to solve with your customers. If the vision is relevant and exciting to the CAB members, they will be engaged and involved.
Alongside creativity and vision, some of the key elements to evolve your CAB from what we call CAB 1.0 to CAB 2.0 are:
- Be flexible. Instead of only having structured meetings throughout the year as planned, be open to scheduling on-demand meetings. For example, if a new regulation comes up or a new cloud provider is on the scene or a new model for network security comes into play, gather the CAB members for immediate feedback and discussion. Your CAB’s executive sponsor or CEO doesn’t have to wait 6 months to engage with CAB members on the current hot topics.
- Enable semi-autonomous governance. Successful Customer Advisory Boards have a shared responsibility by the host company and the CAB members. Leverage your CAB members to get involved in the ongoing maintenance and making sure the advisory board is moving forward. Members are happy to do some of the “heavy lifting” as long as your company has a clear Customer Advisory Board charter, mission and vision. For example, use the CAB members to drive subcommittee or working group topics and give presentations and updates on work done.
- Integrate the CAB into the overall voice of the customer programs. A successful CAB is not a standalone program. Integrating the CAB into your company’s overall branding, vision and VoC strategic plan will enable CAB longevity and enable you to show value to the business and CAB members.
Creativity needs to be embedded into a Customer Advisory Board constantly. For example, many times our customers ask us if there should be an external speaker at the CAB. External speakers are a great idea if the speaker talks about an interesting or new perspective related to an agenda session topic. Be creative in selecting the external speaker – don’t choose an industry analyst from a firm like Gartner that will rehash a presentation from a webcast or a trade show. Think about an external speaker from another industry to provide a new perspective. For instance, in a CAB focused on network security, the external speaker was someone from the FBI that is not directly related to the industry. However, the FBI has incredible systems and processes for data protection and the speaker shared about the thinking and models to keep data secure.
Watch the video below about one of the top pitfalls of Customer Advisory Boards – lack of creativity and vision. Share in the comments about how you’ve used creativity in your CAB. What is the vision for your Customer Advisory Board?
Check out the other videos in the series on Why Customer Advisory Boards fail:
- Part 1 of 10: It’s too much work
- Part 2 of 10: Short term thinking
- Part 3 of 10: CAB confusion
- Part 4 of 10: No peer exchange
- Part 5 of 10: Unrealistic timing and expectations